How To Write An Abstract For A Research Paper

What is an abstract in a research paper?

A common question in a research study is what is abstract in a research paper. It is the summary of the academic text of the paper. It consists of a small paragraph consisting of 6 to 7 sentences or 200 to 300 words. An abstract allows the writer to highlight the significant aspects of the research paper. The abstract will report on the outcomes of the research study. It should be to the point, as a detailed abstract runs the risk of becoming an introduction paragraph. 

Writing an abstract for a research paper is challenging because it is difficult to summarize the entire study’s content into a few sentences. Many research paper authors will struggle with this task. So, they may opt to use a writing service. Many writing services have a write my research paper option that they can avail to make their task easier.

Purpose of an abstract in a research paper

An abstract is the summarization of the content of the research study. Therefore, we conclude that there are three purposes of an abstract in a research paper. These are as follows:

  1. An abstract helps readers follow the detailed methodology, arguments, and analysis of the research study. It also helps them understand the purpose of why the research was conducted.
  2. An abstract will allow the reader to understand the paper’s essence, so they may decide whether to continue reading or not. It is beneficial for those that conduct their research and do not have time to read entire research papers to determine if it is relevant to their research topic.
  3. An abstract for a research paper help the readers remember its essential elements.

What goes in the abstract of a research paper?

As an abstract is essentially a summary of the research paper, it covers the research assignment’s entire scope. There are four vital components of an effective abstract for a research paper.

Four parts of a Research paper

The first part is writing about the research study’s purpose and the research question the writer aims to answer. The second part includes the following:

  • The scope of the study;
  • The content of the study;
  • The methodology of the study (the primary methods or tools of analysis used).

The third and fourth parts are overlapping as they both deals with the outcome of the study conducted. The third part states the research findings, whereas the fourth will provide a concise interpretation of the result and a concluding sentence.

What not to include in the abstract of the research paper

The majority focuses only on what should be included in an abstract of a research paper, that they lose sight of things that do not belong in the abstract. Following is a list of common errors in abstracts of research papers that are to be avoided at all costs.

  1. Do not repeat the title. It makes the abstract boring and loses the attention of the reader from the very start.
  2. Do not add citations or references to other’s work in the abstract for the research paper.
  3. Avoid writing a lengthy background and the details of the research context. Keep it as concise as possible.
  4. Do not add any information that is not necessary for the larger text. The additional information will not add any substance to the abstract or the research paper.
  5. When you write an abstract for a research paper, try to avoid defining any terms.
  6. Do not use redundant phrases and repetitive information. It will lose the reader’s focus from the paper.
  7. Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms that are not common.
  8. An abstract should not include any image, figure, table, or illustration.

Types of abstracts

Before deciding what to write in the abstract of a research paper, you have to determine the abstract. There are four common types of abstracts used for research papers.

Critical abstract:

  • This type of abstract is not as common as other types and consists of around 450 words.
  • The critical abstract will compare the research paper with others in the same field.
  • The abstract features the primary outcome, along with its analysis and interpretation.
  • It also includes the tests determining the reliability and validity of the study.
  • A critical abstract can be used independently of the study.

An example of an abstract in a research paper for a paper about how the internet provides emerging business opportunities is:

 The internet has introduced another dimension for businesses to operate in, thus removing barriers. The research will aim to determine whether the new dimension has affected entrepreneurial business activities or not. Previous studies focused on how the internet facilitates business but not how it creates new businesses. Using different survey techniques and distribution statistics, it was identified that the internet has decreased barriers and increased entrepreneurship rates. It has allowed thousands of entrepreneurs to start businesses with little investment and grow them into large businesses. The levels of entrepreneurship have seen an increase, especially in areas with high social media usage.

Descriptive abstract:

  • Unlike a critical abstract, a descriptive essay is concise, consisting of 100 words only.
  • The abstract reiterates the facts and findings of the research.
  • Although, unlike the critical abstract, it does not include any analysis of the outcome.
  • It does briefly include the purpose, method, and scope of the abstract.
  • It is similar to a paragraph outline of the paper.
  • A descriptive abstract may be used independently from the research paper. 

A research paper abstract example for descriptive abstract would be:

The internet has introduced another dimension for businesses to operate in, thus removing barriers. The research will aim to determine whether the new dimension has affected entrepreneurial business activities or not. Previous studies focused on how the internet facilitates business but not how it creates new businesses. Different survey and questionnaire techniques were used for gathering data, while distributive statistics were used for analysis.

Informative abstract:

  • An informative abstract is a traditional abstract with words ranging from 250 to 300. It is the most common type of abstracts written.
  • The informative abstract incorporates some elements of critical and descriptive abstracts.
  • It does include the descriptive part, which includes the purpose, method, and scope.
  • It does include the study’s outcome, although, unlike the critical abstract, it does not interpret the result but rather states it.
  • The informative abstract can be used independently from the research study.

Continuing with the same research topic for examples, the abstract would be:

The internet has introduced another dimension for businesses to operate in, thus removing barriers. The research will aim to determine whether the new dimension has affected entrepreneurial business activities or not. Previous studies focused on how the internet facilitates business but not how it creates new businesses. Using different survey techniques and distribution statistics, it was identified that the internet has decreased barriers and increased entrepreneurship rates.

Highlight abstract:

  • A highlight abstract is rarely used in academic research papers.
  • This type of abstract focuses more on arousing the readers’ attention. It is meant to entice the reader enough for them to read the research paper.
  • Leading information is used from the study, but it does not summarize the content of the study.  
  • The highlight abstract cannot be used independently of the study.

For example:

The internet has introduced another dimension for businesses to operate in, thus removing barriers. The research will aim to determine whether the new dimension has affected entrepreneurial business activities or not. Studies have not shown whether the internet has increased the entrepreneurial activities or not.

How to write a research paper abstract?

Writing a research paper is challenging, but breaking it down into a few steps makes it convenient. It allows for the maximum and efficient utilization of the limited words while incorporating all the necessary components of the research paper.

An abstract is written after the research paper has been completed. It determines what goes in the abstract of the research paper; all that is left is how to write it. Writing an abstract can be broken down into five steps. These are;

Step 1: Introducing the topic and research question

The first step is to write the first two sentences, introducing the topic and what it entails. The first sentence should be concise and communicate a specific research topic. The second sentence should build upon the first and talk about the research problem. The research question that the study aims to answer should be included in this part. It should emphasize the central theme of the research question. It is typically the introductory portion of the abstract.

Step 2: Why and which problem

After the research question has been written, the focus shifts towards the research study’s problem. This portion of the abstract briefly describes what problem the study will address and why. It should specify how this problem was identified and why it is significant enough for an entire study. This part may refer to other studies and focus on aspects overlooked in those studies. Phrases like ‘previous works failed to identify or overlooked this particular factor’ can be used for comparison purposes. In this step, the purpose of the abstract is stated.

Step 3: Content of the research study

The third step aims to explain how the research question has been addressed in the study. It involves focuses on the technical details and the research process of the study. It elaborates on the content and scope of the study. It will give the reader a brief insight into how the study was conducted. You will also mention the methodology used in the paper and why this method was used. It includes what type of experiments were conducted, what measurements the research used, and what data was accessible.

Step 4: The outcomes and their interpretation

In the fourth step in writing an abstract, you write about the outcome of your research. You elaborate on the results and answer the research question written in step 1. You will briefly interpret what the meaning of the result is and whether your study was successful or not. If you compare it with another study in step 2, then elaborate how your results have differed from that research because of your different aspects.

Step 5: The impact of the research paper

In the last part of the abstract, the impact of the study will be mentioned. How the study and the results have changed your approach to the topic and impact others. Please do not write the results again, but instead, write how people can use the research to aid their research or stance.

Summary

An abstract is the synopsis of your research paper that gives the reader an idea of how you go about it and offers a glimpse into critical findings. To be precise, it is ideal for sticking to the tips and techniques shared in this post. Make sure you are familiar with the type of abstract at hand, and it aligns with the specifications of your study.

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