Writing an Abstract for a Research Paper

An abstract for fellow researchers

Abstracts for research papers play a crucial role in explaining the study succinctly and quickly to fellow researchers and journal editors and prompt them to read further and understand the paper. With the proliferation of online publications, writing a good abstract is of great importance compared to the days of hard copy journals. The purpose of the research abstract is to market your work, and thus it is similar to the executive summary.

Points to consider before writing an abstract

Before you write, choose the abstract you want to write. All academic abstracts ought to provide a summary of your study. However, there are two basic types of abstracts, namely:

  • Descriptive abstract indicates the kind of information found in a paper by explaining the objective, purpose, and methods used in the paper, excluding the results and conclusion. It is between 100 to 200 words in size.
  • Informative abstract: This is a compressed rendition of the paper that sums up each part of the examination paper. It incorporates results and goes about as a substitute to the analysis or exploration itself.

They also apply to long and technical research.

Requirements and guidelines for research abstract

Like any other professional writing, writing a research abstract, the author needs to follow the laid down procedure and meet the journal editors’ requirements. As an author, you should stick to conventions applicable to journal publication to get due consideration for publication. Journal publishers have specific demands about structure and formatting. The following are concerns addressed in the journal guidelines.

  • The minimum and maximum words
  • The formatting and style requirements
  • Suitable abstract type
  • Particular content or rules for the structure 

Identify the target readership

The objective of a research abstract is to lead readers to read the full research paper. For scientific journals, abstracts are the entry point that allows readers to decide if the research is appropriate to their study or interests. At a glance, abstracts allow readers to understand the arguments quickly. While writing your abstracts, consider the following points:

  1. Whether researchers in the field are the target of the study
  2. Whether the study will be helpful to the general public
  3. Whether research results include implications offered in the abstract. 

Structure of a research paper abstract

  • Identify the motivation and purpose: Begin your abstract by outlining the reason audience should read your research paper and the significance to the field of study and the world in general.
  • Clearly explain the problem you are attempting to address: It is essential to state the problem which the research seeks to address. You can join the motivation and problem section. However, for clarity and good organization, it is better to separate the two.
  • Discuss the approach: Once you establish the research significance, the study’s motivation, and the specific problems the paper seeks to address, it is time to address how you progressed in solving the problem.
  • Summarize the results: Provide a brief of the results of your study. Do not make use of vague qualitative terms such as tremendous, small, or very. Instead, make use of quantitative terms like numbers, figures, and percentages.
  • State the conclusions: In the last section of the abstract, give a short statement explaining the study’s limitations and implications. Link this statement to the results of the study and not to your area of study in general.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *