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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper in a Right Way

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper in a Right Way

How to write an annotation to the article – probably everyone who is planning to compose a research paper or scientific article asks this question. Students, who are given this task for the first time, are sometimes puzzled because this is an easy yet difficult and important assignment.

Abstract belongs to the list of the most requested materials attached to research papers. The abstract should convince readers and editor that the proposed work is worth reading, and it is really interesting.

The abstract functions are the following:

  • It describes the core of the scientific project of the student;
  • It provides an opportunity to define the content of the research project, determine its relevance and decide whether it is worth continuing reading the full text;
  • It is used in information, including automated systems of information search.

Students usually include a description of the key topic, problems, goals and findings of the conducted study in the abstract. You should indicate the novice the research paper bears in it in comparison with others, linked to the subject and purpose. It aims at catching the reader’s attention.

The significance of an abstract composed correctly cannot be overestimated; it is the abstract that reveals the core idea of the paper. A winning abstract will insure a successful review of the body of the paper, high degree of citation or a great number of those willing to read it. To make it simpler, the abstract is a projection of the scientific literacy of the author.

What is an Abstract for a Research Paper?

Before we proceed to tips about composing the abstract, let’s see what exactly it is and its meaning. So, the abstract is a valuable component for each scientific material such as research paper. One has to briefly and clearly set out the content of the paper you describe. With regard to a specific scientific source, this is a characteristic that reflects the essence, the result, that is, every aspect touched upon in the paper.

After the audience reads the abstract, it should already understand what is being said and what information is contained in the main part of the research work. A research project and an abstract to it are what is necessary for complete information that reveals a particular topic.

In ordinary life, we occasionally encounter the need to read abstracts: when searching for the necessary information, when we have limited time to get acquainted with a scientific work or article, and most often, to understand whether the proposed material will be worth the time we spend on reading it.

Look at a simpler example. You are in the bookshop and you look through lots of books. You decided on several books, but you only want to get one. How to understand which one you want? Right! You begin reading abstracts. It helps you sort out one winner that will be interesting for you to read.

This is what power abstracts have. They are a kind of a filter which tells you which text deserves being read, which book to buy.

Determining the Type of Abstract

It should be noted that abstracts can be of different types.

By content and purpose, abstracts are divided into:

  • reference (also called descriptive or informational) characterize the subject of the text, report any information about it, but do not give its critical assessment;
  • guidance abstracts characterize the source and provide an assessment of its suitability for a specific category of consumers, taking into account the level of training, age and other features of consumers.

Abstracts can be divided into several groups according to the completeness of the content of abstracted macro text and the reader’s purpose, abstracts are divided into:

  • general abstracts characterize the macrotext of the work and are intended for a large number of users;
  • specialized abstracts, characterizing the paper only in certain aspects, are designed for a narrow circle of specialists and are mainly of a reference nature.

Main Components of a Research Paper Abstract

Components of an abstract

When composing an abstract you should adhere to the general structure. It should contain:

  • urgency of the study
  • problem statement
  • ways of problem solvation
  • results
  • conclusion

Common mistakes

We have listed top 5 mistakes students do when composing an abstract:

  1. You should not indicate tasks of the research paper. In rare cases it is allowed to indicate its goals, but indicating tasks will be too much.
  2. Abstract is too long, it contains plenty of unnecessary information.
  3. However, a too short abstract is neither a good option. You should design it long enough to reveal the topic of work. One sentence of 150 characters is not an abstract.
  4. Abstract should not contain citations, links to other publications. It should characterize the paper. And remember, abstract is not the part to include references. They should be placed in the main text of the work.
  5. Abstract is a new and independent text. You must not copy a paragraph or few from the research paper and present it as abstract.

Guide on How to Write an Abstract

Abstract can be called advertisement for your paper. It determines the level of reader’s interest in it.

Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that the abstract is placed in the beginning of the text of the project, it is composed after its completion.

To avoid mistakes, follow our tips to design the abstract correctly:

  1. Segment the text. Try to identify the audience clearly. What type of reader will be interested to read the research paper? Who, after reading it, will receive the maximum benefit?


  1. Be specific. Being specific always overcomes generalized information and makes abstract clear. Indicate things clearly – do not say “flower” if you mean “rose”.


  1. Keep it unique. Stop copying and imitating. If all the abstracts become similar the reader will only have to guess what to read. Be unique, and the reader will appreciate it. See how your competitors make their abstracts and offer your own solution.


  1. Fast result. Do not make the reader wait long. Everyone wants to get results almost instantly. You should pronounce the apparent benefits from reading your paper for the reader.


  1. Don’t lie. It is also often difficult to identify how different your paper is from others. What to do? You can, of course, exaggerate and even lie. But it is a risk. First of all, you fool your audience. Second, you disappoint them. This may lead to open dislike in the future. What is the solution? Always tell the truth, just try to give it an attractive appearance.


  1. Use simple words. Note the associations caused by some words. This may be negative, time-consuming, and complex. Before you write one word or another, think about whether it is possible to say simpler, shorter and more positive.


  1. Stop doubting. Get rid of doubts, uncertainties and hesitations. Your goal is to design a calm statement, without compulsion and fuss.


  1. Dynamics and activity. Do not forget about the dynamics, try to pick up energetic words and expressions. Passive and boring abstracts never work.


  1. Call to action. You have to compose your abstract the way it read between the lines: Read me now without actually writing this phrase.


  1. Be provocative. Your abstract has to cause the reader to have the right emotions.


  1. Control your emotions. Despite the text has to be emotional you still have to keep emotions under control. Otherwise, the material will turn into a blah blah blah. You should learn to find a golden mean.


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