A research paper’s abstract is like a film trailer. It provides the reader with a preview of the paper and assists him/her to decide whether to continue reading. Although the abstract of an essay is short, most students find writing it confusing. So, how do you write a great paper abstract?
In this paper, we will take a closer look at abstracts to help you answer two main questions: “What is an abstract?” and “How do you write a great abstract for research papers, dissertation, or thesis?”
What Is An Abstract?
Before starting the journey to write an abstract, it is crucial to understand what it is. An abstract is a short and concise summary of a larger paper such as an essay, term paper, thesis, or dissertation. It captures the scope and content of the main project. It also identifies the core objectives, the methodology used, the paper findings, and the conclusion.
The primary goal of an abstract is to summarize the main aspects of your paper.
However, you should appreciate that the purpose of an abstract is describing your project as opposed to the topic. For example, if your essay is about the impacts of computer games on students’ academic performance, the abstract should focus on your investigations, the findings, and the conclusion.
When working on how to write an abstract, it is also essential to appreciate that they fall into several categories.
- Critical abstracts
- Descriptive abstracts
- Informative abstracts
- Highlight abstract
These types of abstracts are used to provide the arguments in your essay while giving a judgment about the study’s validity and paper’s completeness. It could also briefly compare the paper to others.
In this category of abstracts, you only summarize the essay under consideration. You do not judge or compare it to other papers.
This is the most typical type of abstract you will get out there. Although it does not compare the essay to others, it includes the conclusions and recommendations made by the author.
This type of abstract is used to grab the reader’s attention. It is mainly used in media reports and rarely in academic writing.
Key Elements To Factor When Writing An Abstract
While there are different types of abstracts, as we have demonstrated, they feature the same elements. Therefore, when you evaluate what an abstract in an essay or term paper is, it is also crucial to be conscious of these four elements.
The objective is used to get your readers acquainted with your paper. The objective is supposed to be the first one or two sentences of your abstract. Simply announce the problem you set off to address and the motivation.
After describing the objectives, the next component is the methods. In this part, you explain how you opted to solve the main problem brought out in the essay. This could be in the forms of steps or method that was used to get the solution. Note that the methods are dependent on the topic under consideration. Here are some demonstrations:
- In humanities, you should identify the theoretical frameworks or methodology assumptions.
- In social sciences, you should provide a concise description of the methods that you used to do the research.
- In a service project essay, consider outlining the processes followed.
As the name suggests, the goal of this section is providing the results of your paper. If the study is not completed, you can provide a theory on the results or tentative findings.
Just like in your essay, the conclusion is the last part of your abstract. Here, you summarize the content that you have provided in the entire abstract. To make the conclusion more effective, try to answer the question: “What do the results that you have provided mean?”
NOTE: If you are working on very extensive research papers such as dissertations, including a brief introduction prior to the objectives will make the abstract more impressive. However, most abstracts do not have this section.
How to Write an Abstract for a Paper in Five Simple Steps
Now that we have told you the elements to include in an abstract, you are now ready to start crafting one like a pro. Note that the abstract should be as precise as possible. You should not worry about introducing facts to ensure the reader grasps the real picture of the topic. And you should not worry about making it longer. Here are the five main steps to follow:
- Start by writing your essay. The essay will help you get all the components to include in the abstract. If you do not have the main paper, trying to craft an abstract will not represent your work. It will be inaccurate.
- To write the objective and conclusion of the abstract, consider using essential information captured in the introduction and conclusion of your essay. Simply capture the most important premise of your essay. Then, summarize the info in a sentence or several.
- When researching your paper, make sure to note the information you use for the study. This information should be used when writing the abstract’s methods. Simply tell the reader about the process you followed to get the answer to the study problem.
- Once you have written the abstract, go over it to ensure it answers the following questions. What is the main objective of the paper? How did you carry the study? What answers did you get and what do they mean?
- Reread the abstract to clear clichés, errors, and mistakes. You could even ask an unbiased friend to help proofread the abstract for you.
Special Tips on How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
At this point, you might be wondering, “Is there anything else you can do to make the abstract sparkle?” The answer is yes. We are going to list some useful tips that you can use:
- Make sure to start by crafting a great paper. Because the abstract is a summary of your work, it is crucial to ensure you have a great paper too.
- Instead of thinking of the abstract when you are through with your paper, it is better to have it at the back of your mind before starting. This will help you to easily jot down the main points to use when writing the abstract.
- Read another abstract example APA to hone your skills. The focus should be on establishing how other top writers have summarized their work and the mechanics of crafting a great abstract.
- Start practicing how to write an abstract example early enough. Because you know you will need to write an abstract at some point, it is advisable to start practicing right away.
- Strictly follow your teacher’s requirement for crafting your paper, including the abstract. If your teacher provides some specific rules or guidelines to follow when creating an abstract, it should be the primary focus for your work.
Sample Paper Abstract Analysis
To help you grasp the concept of crafting a great abstract, we are going to look at one of the top samples and analyze it. The sample abstract is borrowed from Patrick A. et al., “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors. Cell Stem Cell, 2016, 18(3)354-367.
“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipotency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354)
If you take a closer look at the above abstract, the first sentence is used to announce the topic that the researcher is working on. It also summarizes what is known about the subject and further signals the target for the new study.
In the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th sentences, the abstract demonstrates the methods that were designed to achieve the preset objective. The last sentence brings out the implications for drug discovery, therapy, and disease modeling.
How to Write an Abstract Simplified
This essay has demonstrated that although most students find crafting great abstracts complicated, the secret is following the right steps. You need to have a good research paper and then pick the main points to craft your abstract. But we will also not lie here; summarizing your work is never easy for some students, even with a guide.
For some students, the skills for writing a great abstract are elusive. In most cases, honing writing skills requires time. But this is not the only thing that prevents students from crafting great abstracts.
Some students might have other engagements that require urgent attention.
The deadline for writing the abstract plus your paper might be too tight.
The whole concept of crafting an abstract might be too complex.
Even if you have some courage to write an abstract, you might fear crafting an average piece.
If you are unable to craft a great abstract because of any reason, you cannot afford to give up because your research paper or dissertation requires a great summary. The best alternative is seeking expert college writing help. The expert writers offer cheap writing services on essays, term papers, coursework, dissertations, and other types of academic writing. They are experts and know how to write an abstract APA, MLA, or Harvard, among other styles.
Do not get content with an average abstract; let professionals help you.