What is an Abstract for a Research Paper?

An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper. Often, an abstract is about 6-7 sentences long (approx. 150-250 words). There are lots of purposes an abstract might serve. First of all, it gives readers a glimpse of your paper. This gives your readers a chance to make a decision if your study is worth their full attention. Another reason for an abstract is to ready your audience for the details from your own research, your arguments as well as your supporting evidence. And lastly, an abstract introduces the key points of your paper so that readers can keep them in mind while reading your quest.

Frequently, abstracts are located as descriptions for books and scholarly articles. They include the main ideas of a book or articles and give an over-all understanding of its contents and purpose. Sometimes, professors provide students with very specific guidelines for how to write an abstract. Make sure you follow these guidelines, if they are available, in order to satisfy all the requirements.

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Types of Abstract

You will find two main types of abstracts that are widely used – they've been descriptive and informative:
A descriptive abstract gift ideas readers having an outline of the points the author made throughout their research. Thus giving readers a chance to decide if indeed they should continue reading, depending on just how much they are thinking about the subject. A descriptive abstract is similar to the table of contents in a book, although the format of an abstract uses full sentences combined inside a paragraph. Regrettably, a descriptive abstract can't be a substitution for reading a paper, as it is only an overview, which deprives the audience of experiencing a full picture. Nor did it fill in the gaps a reader may have after scanning this type of abstract, as it lacks the essential details necessary for an evaluation of the paper. To conclude, a descriptive abstract:

  • just summarizes the task, but some researchers consider it to be more of an outline;
  • on average, is around 100 words—very short in comparison to an informative abstract;
  • provides very brief description and is unable to fully satisfy the reader;
  • and omits results and conclusions.

An informative abstract is just a detailed summary of the investigation itself. You will find instances when readers rely on the abstract it self as a source of information. Therefore , it is very important to include all the specifics from a certain study. A well-presented, informative abstract can almost substitute the rest of the paper by itself.

An informative abstract usually follows a certain format. First, mcdougal includes distinguishing information, supported by citations and other identifications of the documents. Next, all the details are restated to ensure a much better understanding of the investigation. This section is followed closely by the methodology and most of the key findings of the research. Lastly, a conclusion gift ideas the final findings of the investigation and concludes the informative abstract.
Briefly, an informative abstract:

  • includes a length that may vary, with regards to the topic—but can't be longer than 300 words;
  • has all the information—like methods and intentions;
  • provides evidence and potentially recommendations.

Informative abstracts tend to be more common than descriptive ones. It is a consequence of their larger content that relates to the topic specifically. Additionally it is suggested to utilize different types of abstracts for papers depending on their size: informative abstracts for longer and much more complicated ones, and descriptive abstracts for shorter and simpler research papers.

The Structure of the Abstract: Step-By-Step Directions

Purpose and Motivation

Distinguishing purpose and motivation is amongst the most difficult, yet important areas of your abstract. Let’s assume that your paper is about the value of recycling plastic. Much of your job is always to explain to readers why they need to care about the contamination of plastics on land and in the ocean. You'll need to provide some solid arguments to keep your reader enthusiastic about continuing to see. It is crucial to answer these questions:

  • what is the goal of your study;
  • what is it you are attempting to achieve;
  • and just why does your topic matter to you also to the rest of the world?

To make it sound more personal and motivational, make sure to include information about your own interests in the subject of your paper, in addition to how it relates to your daily life and humanity in general. In a nutshell, the first section should include the info on the significance of your research and how it might be ideal for your readers.

The Problem of a Research

It usually centers around the importance and significance of the topic of a paper. Going back to the topic about the importance of plastic recycling, the value of the paper is always to reduce plastic waste contamination by recycling your own plastic waste. Here, you need to answer the question – what problem does your study help resolve on a global scale? Is it preventing global warming by reducing the amount of plastic that leads to oceanic waters? Is it assessing global warming issues? Can it be a solution for sea-life conservation? The possibilities are endless, so make sure to simply take the right direction to attract any audience, regardless of their background and interests. In this section, it is important to address the problem it self, indicate whether it covers something broad or specific, and present your argument.

Researching Approach

Once you have explained the causes behind your topic’s importance, your personal curiosity about the issue, and the problem discussed in your paper to your readers, it is time to showcase the methods you used to conduct all that great research. The description of the processes and practices you used are as important while the research it self. It shows the readers the extent of your research and the professional approach you took regarding your subject. Describe where you looked for the data, what kind of sources they were, what sort of research you did your self. Did you do an experiment, a survey, an interview, a field study where you explored the local beach for traces of plastic pollution? A detailed description of the approach to pursuit is a great tool for showing your reader how academically capable you might be of conducting serious scientific research. Your section that examines the approach you took for the research includes the details of one's research, including the specific studies and highlights from the most important works you used.

Research Results

Finally, you get to present readers the outcome of your research. It is very important to be specific with your results. Using statistical evidence is a lot more impressive, as opposed to being vague and using abstract words. Rather than saying “a big part of the ocean is polluted”, you can say something like “80% of the oceans are polluted with plastic”. This can help readers visualize the specific proportion of ocean which is contaminated and increases the effect it creates on the audience. Some questions that needs to be answered in this section are: which are the results of your study in numbers and terms (be specific), did your results support your argument, and were the outcomes predicted or did they surprise you?


In the conclusion section of your abstract, you should concentrate on the argument you began with and connect it to the outcomes you received. It is crucial to provide the reader a complete picture of what insights you've discovered in regards to the subject, but also whether you have discovered the solution for the problem you addressed. Explain, whether your quest is sufficient to convince visitors to be more responsible in regards to their plastic consumption? Will it alter their behavior and their everyday habits? Your conclusion should tie it all together and not leave any uncertainties. After you’ve got all of the structural details down, let’s move on for some helpful tips.

Final Tips and Recommendations

Research always comes first. It could seem that the abstract should be the very first thing you write, as it may be the summary of one's whole paper, though, there are lots of advantages to choosing this sequence of actions when needs to work on your paper:

  • First, you can go through the entire article and have everything fresh in your thoughts. Then you will soon be well in a position to condense the info into the abstract without forgetting important points.
  • 2nd, you can design the abstract to fit around your results — to demonstrate that you have achieved everything you hoped to.

Always use past tense in your paper. As you have conducted the investigation, you should reference it previously tense. Ensure that you use clear and concise sentences.
Avoid using jargon. A study paper is really a piece of academic writing which should not be subject to any slang. Do not confuse the reader. When there is anything the reader may not understand, explain it. Like any abbreviations need to be defined at least once.
Leave out lengthy background information; you will need to find the right balance of explaining enough without starting too much detail.
Make sure you get straight to the point. Let someone else take a glance; don’t be frightened of another person critiquing your work—your paper could get plenty of attention, so be ready! Let a fellow professional in a similar field, yet maybe not related to your study, have a read. Let them summarize the study back to you to see when you have communicated it well enough through the entire paper.

Research Paper Abstract Examples