An Excellent Guide on How to Write an Abstract

How do you write an abstract for a paper presentation?


How do you write an abstract for a thesis?”

This is what a student wonders when he/she has to compose a paper or thesis, for which abstracts are a must. Even though this part is short in length, it holds immense importance as it assists the readers to have an understanding of the document. It is like an overview of the paper. Writing a precise and brief description of the whole paper may seem quite confusing and tricky, but with the right knowledge and guidance, this task can be carried out by anyone with ease.

how to write an abstract

Let us at first get some idea about this important part of academic writing.

What is an abstract?

It is generally a short summary of the whole paper and is usually written in a single paragraph. Here, mainly the key facets of the document are portrayed including the type of the paper, the purpose of the conducted research, the studied problems, the design, findings etc.

What is the significance of an abstract?

An abstract is important because it shows the readers whether the piece of writing will serve to fulfill their purpose of the topic. It is more like a movie trailer. The quality of the abstract decides whether any reader will go further with the paper or not. Thus, the main goal of any writer would be to make the abstract as useful and engaging for the readers, so as to be an attention grabber.


How to write an abstract?

  • Finish your paper- You have to complete writing your document first. The most common mistake that any student does is confusing abstract with the introduction. But, both are completely different. The abstract comes before the introduction and is like an overview of the entire paper. So, you need to write the full assignment first to understand the key points which you will be highlighting in the abstract.

The abstract is a movie which starts from the end.

  • Decide on the format you will follow-You must go through the instructions carefully to learn the requirements and any particular guideline that you need to follow. You have to decide what kind of style you will use, what will be the length etc. You should aim at making it more interesting and appealing to the reader.
  • Consider who your target reader is- While writing an abstract you need to take the needs of your readers into account. Thus, you have to think about who will read your paper and what they are looking for. And based on the readers, the style and structure of your abstract will change.
  • Find the suitable kind of abstract- There are many kinds of abstracts, which are appropriate for different types of papers. So, you have to determine which one you will use for your document.
  • Informative- This is most commonly used type of abstract. Here, the study done in the paper is not assessed or critiqued and it is also not simply described. It is like a substitute of the main study work. Here, the chief points including the findings and future suggestions are all incorporated. The length of this abstract type is usually a single paragraph or not more than 300 words.
  • Critical- In this type, along with the key information of the study, an evaluation concerning its comprehensiveness, trustworthiness, and strength is provided. Since an extra analysis is presented, these abstracts become a little longer like 400-500 words.
  • Highlight- The purpose of these abstracts is to attract the readers. In order to seize their interest, often incomplete and catchy remarks are used. However, this type is not usually used for academic writing because these abstracts cannot stand on its own for the written document.
  • Descriptive- The kind of information presented in the paper is pointed out in a descriptive abstract. Here, the procedures, goal, and scope of the study are incorporated but the findings or conclusions are excluded. It basically describes the research or the study done in the paper. The length is normally very small and may consist of more or less 100 words.
  • Write the information in the correct order- You have to write the abstract following the correct manner and the information must be laid out in the right order.
    1. At first, you have to mention why the study was conducted and why this paper will seem interesting to the readers.
    2. Then, you must present the main issue that has been addressed in this study to find a solution to it. Along with this, the extent of the study, the principal arguments, as well as, the thesis need to be mentioned.
    3. After that, you need to write down the method, which has been utilised in the study. Particular approaches or the various sorts of evidence utilised in the paper, can be described.
    4. Following this, include the particular findings or data to give a general view of the result of the research conducted in the paper.
    5. Finally, you have to point out how this work brings value to the particular field of study. If the finding of your research can contribute to any further application also needs to be mentioned.

This order or the components may vary from one abstract to another one. So, you have to adjust it according to the type of paper you are writing.

  • Proofread and edit it- Do not consider the first draft as the final abstract. Because this part of an academic writing is so important, you have to invest more time into it. Revise it multiple times, ensure there are no grammatical, typing or syntactical mistakes in it, and see if everything you have written making sense. After editing, you must have a comprehensible, clear-cut, brief and complete outline or summary of the paper.

How do you write a literary abstract?

Things to remember

There are some things that you must keep in mind at the time of writing your abstract:

  • It is generally a para of 300 words and less
  • It should include (a) the purpose of study or the research questions investigated
  • Study Design framework
  • Major updates, trends and facts
  • Do not include any long information concerning the background of the study.
  • You should not be very specific in the abstract and give explanations of every term or points mentioned. You should only provide a general overview of the whole paper.
  • Avoid using any illustrations, tables, pictures, etc. or even any reference to them.
  • Keep the language simple.
  • Do include key terms and phrases that any reader interested in this area may use to find an article on this topic.
  • Avoid the use of references, other documents or studies by different writers.
  • Give useful information since the abstract is supposed to guide your reader to an article that they need. Do not use vague language and words that will make it difficult for the readers to get the meaning out of it.
  • Do not use misleading references or information just to attract readers. Use only the information that has been incorporated in the paper.

So, following this information and guide, you will soon master the art of writing effective abstracts for every type of papers.

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