How Does A Proper Research Paper Abstract Look Like?

An abstract is a precise summary of a research paper. It articulates the content and scope of your project and it is aimed at description of your research rather than topic. As a rule, abstracts a very short, exceeding only hundred words sometimes. However, they should include four different types of information, namely, objective, methods, results, and conclusions. Pay attention to how each of the abstract sections looks like:

Objective and rationale section

In the first sentences of your abstract, you should present the main problem that is to be explored in your project and describe your motivation (or rationale) for choosing this problem in particular. The purpose of your research is either to add new knowledge on the issue or to solve the problem. This section often contains the thesis statement or hypothesis of the paper.

Methods section

In this part of your abstract, explain what you did to explore the main objective of your project. Depending on the discipline, your methods section may include different information. For example, you are expected to provide a short description of a research process for a hard science paper, while it is required to share theoretical assumptions and methods for a humanities project.

Results section.

This section should describe what was found in the process of research. If your research is not over, share your hypotheses on what results are likely to be received, or provide some of your preliminary findings. Moreover, it may happen that you get negative or unexpected results. Share these data as well. It doesn’t matter what real outcomes are, but it is important how you explain them and what their significance for the whole project is.

Conclusion section.

Write your final sentences in a convincing tone. Explain what you learned, what contributions were made, and why this issue is worth further research. Let your audience see that your project is interesting and important for the field of studies.

When writing your abstract, remember to keep to the following stylistic requirements:

Use simple words and combinations that are easily understood by everybody. Don’t use jargon. Write in a concise and clear language. Avoid using too much of details. Let your sentences be short. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives and modifiers. Don’t add much background information on the issue.

Write in the past tense to describe what you have done.

Don’t cite the sources and don’t add long quotations. They will only distract the reader’s attention and will make your abstract longer than necessary.

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