How to Write an Abstract: Tips and Recommendations
The main aim of an abstract is to persuade the reader that the entire work is worth their attention. Being a student, you might apply this to summarize the content of a bigger assignment so the ability to write a good abstract is a necessary skill for many.
Before we tackle the technique, let’s figure out what exactly an abstract is. First of all, an abstract is usually a feature of academic writing because in most cases it’s employed to summarize a thesis or a dissertation. Contrary to the original text, it should be clear and concise giving an insight into the whole work in a form of a few sentences.
Despite the fact that an abstract is a very short piece of writing, its importance is tremendous. This is the first thing that the reader will come across and it should represent the whole work in the best way possible. Academic papers are not flashy and colorful so the abstract is basically your selling point. To write an abstract that will grip the readers and reflect the concepts and ideas of the whole paper, consider the following tips:
- State the problem and the aim of your research.
This is the core of your paper so start with identifying it. Try to make it as narrow as possible because the people reading it would be interested in what particular subject you’ve studied. It would be beneficial to put that information in one sentence because you don’t have a lot of space to spare.
- Keep in mind the word limit.
Every particular course can have its own requirements regarding the word count but usually it’s around 250 words. You can slightly exceed that but remember that the main feature of an abstract is its conciseness. Don’t add any extra information but provide only the key points.
- Mention the methods used and results achieved.
In academic writing it’s vital to describe research methods that you apply. Don’t get too far by describing them, a simple enumeration will do. In addition, shortly summarize the achievements of your research. Chances are there will be a lot of them so mention only the most progressive and practical ones.
- Say why your research is useful.
Even if you conducted it just to pass a course or get a diploma, the professors won’t appreciate you being honest about your intentions. Try to find at least some practical applications of the results of your research and provide them in the abstract so that they know your work wasn’t done in vain.
- Reread it after you’ve finished the paper.
If you had a clear vision of your paper beforehand and wrote the abstract before finishing the research, it’s still important to review it at the end of your work. You might want to add something or edit extra information.
Remember that different courses require different types of abstracts so make sure yours meets the particular requirements.