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How to Write an Abstract - Steps with Examples

July 4, 2024
2.3K Views

Writing reports, papers, and assignments is a significant part of college life, and it often involves complex writing and analysis. One of the most challenging aspects can be crafting an effective abstract. After completing your report, summarizing it concisely can seem daunting. In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to write an abstract for paper that clearly and effectively summarizes your work, making it easier for your readers to grasp the main points.

How to Write an Abstract - Steps with Examples


What to Include & How to Structure Your Abstract?

A.What to Include

An abstract serves as a concise summary of a research paper, providing readers with a quick overview of its essential aspects. It typically begins by setting the context and significance of the research, outlining the broader field and specific topic under study. Central to the abstract is a clear articulation of the research question or problem that the study addresses, emphasizing its relevance and importance within the discipline. Building upon existing literature, the abstract succinctly summarizes previous research while highlighting gaps or limitations that motivate the current study.

  • Context or Background: Briefly introduce the general and specific topics of your research.

  • Central Question or Problem: Clearly state the research question or problem addressed.

  • Previous Research: Summarize what is already known and highlight gaps or limitations.

  • Methods: Outline the research or analytical methods used.

  • Findings: Present the main findings or arguments.

  • Significance: Explain the implications or significance of your findings.

B.How to Structure

Introduction:

  • Begin with a sentence that sets the context and importance of your research topic.

  • Briefly mention the specific aspect of the topic that your paper focuses on.

Methods:

  • Provide a concise summary of the methods used in your study.

  • Mention any unique approaches or innovations in your methodology.

Results:

  • Summarize the most significant findings of your research.

  • Highlight any unexpected results or patterns observed.

Conclusion:

  • Conclude with the significance of your findings.

  • Discuss how your research contributes to the field and suggest areas for future study.

Abstract Structure


C.Things to Avoid

  • Citing References: Avoid including citations or detailed literature reviews.

  • Detailed Explanations: Keep descriptions of methods and data concise.

  • Jargon and Technical Language: Use clear and accessible language to ensure understanding

Types of Abstract

There are two primary types of abstracts: descriptive and informative.

1.Descriptive Abstract:

A descriptive abstract provides a brief overview of the purpose and scope of the research without delving into specific details of findings or conclusions. It aims to give readers a snapshot of what the paper is about.

An example of a descriptive abstract would be where in a study analyzing economic homogamy among spouses, a descriptive abstract might introduce the topic and outline the general findings about increasing economic resemblance between partners without specifying the detailed methods or specific results.

Descriptive Abstract example


2.Informative Abstract:

An informative abstract offers a comprehensive summary of the entire research paper, including the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. It provides readers with a clear understanding of the study's objectives and outcomes.

For instance, in a research paper on reprogramming fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells, an informative abstract would detail the methods used (such as specific gene factors and signaling pathways), summarize the main findings (including the types of cells generated and their potential applications), and discuss the broader implications for cardiac regenerative therapy.

Informative Abstract example


Both types of abstracts serve distinct purposes: descriptive abstracts give a broad overview suitable for quickly understanding the topic, while informative abstracts provide detailed insights into the research, making them ideal for readers seeking in-depth knowledge without reading the full paper.

How to Write an Abstract for paper in 4 Steps [With Examples]

Now that we know an abstract is simply a concise summary of our entire research, the next step is to learn how to write an abstract for a research paper. Remember, the structure of an abstract needs to be followed strictly, and it should be within 300 words to ensure it is impactful and fulfills its purpose. The structure includes:

  • Problem Statement (1-2 sentences)

  • Methodology (1-2 sentences)

  • Results (2-3 sentences)

  • Significance (1-2 sentences)

With this structure in mind, I will be writing an abstract on the topic 'Ethical Implications of Facial Recognition Technology in Public Surveillance'. To assist me, I will be using WPS Writer as my writing tool because it not only provides me with the necessary editing tools for writing my research paper but also utilizes WPS AI to save time and enhance the meaning of my abstract.

  • Problem Statement

So first of all, in an abstract, we have the Problem Statement. A problem statement, or research gap, serves as a concise description of the issue or challenge addressed in the research. Students and researchers often end up writing line after line when discussing the research gap, although just 1-2 lines will suffice.

Let's take a look at the draft I have written for the problem statement on WPS Writer.

Problem Statement draft


To shorten this problem statement effectively while ensuring it describes the issue concisely, I'll use WPS AI for assistance. Here's how:

Step 1: Highlight the problem statement using your mouse.

Step 2: After highlighting the text, you will see a floating menu with quick edit tools. Click on the "WPS AI" icon.

WPS AI icon


Step 3: Upon clicking the WPS AI icon, a list of WPS AI options will appear. Select "Make Shorter".

Make paragraph shorter


Step 4: WPS AI will process the text, and once shortened, review it. If satisfactory, click “Replace”; otherwise, opt for “Rewrite” to refine further.

WPS AI results


Step 5: With the problem statement shortened, I'll add a human touch by making final adjustments before moving to the next part of our abstract.

Finalize Problem Statement of an Abstract


  • Methodology

Next up, we need to discuss the methods used during our research. This includes outlining the specific techniques, procedures, or approaches employed to gather data and analyze findings, ensuring transparency and replicability in scholarly work.

And now, with the help of WPS AI, I'll be shortening my methodology statement to make it more concise and fit my abstract.

Methodology draft


Ensure to review any changes made because WPS AI is a writing assistant designed to help you write better, but reviewing is critical to ensure the end result meets your expectations.

Methodology statement shortened with the help of WPS AI


  • Results

After discussing the methodology, we present the results of our research. This section summarizes the key findings and outcomes obtained through the applied methods, providing a clear picture of what was discovered or achieved.

Similar to other sections, I have created a rough draft of my research findings, which I believe are important to include in my abstract.

Results Statement draft


Now with the assistance of WPS AI, I can further condense my draft. Remember, results can be a bit longer compared to other sections of our abstract, so I'll aim for 2-3 sentences to maintain relevance.

Results statement shortened with the help of WPS AI


  • Significance

Finally, we need to discuss the significance of our research and its contributions to the field. This involves explaining how our findings will impact the topic of research and provide a foundation for future studies.

With my significance statement further shortened using WPS AI, I now have my complete abstract statement totaling over 220 words, providing a brief overview of my entire research.

Significance statement shortened with the help of WPS AI


Keywords

Once you have completed writing your abstract, the next step is to include keywords—a crucial element in learning how to write an abstract for a project or research paper in APA style. When publishing your paper, it's essential to include these keywords at the end of the abstract.

They should highlight important aspects of your research, aiding readers in finding your paper during literature searches. APA Style guidelines specify the formatting rules for these keywords, ensuring consistency and clarity in scholarly publications.

  • Place keywords directly below the abstract.

  • Indent the first line of keywords by 0.5 inches.

  • Use an italicized heading for "Keywords:"

  • Separate each keyword with a comma and maintain standard font style for keywords.

Keywords for your research paper


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  • Remember, the abstract is written once the entire research paper has been completed, so it is the final step before you submit your research paper for publication or to your college professor.

  • When inputting keywords, think from a reader's perspective about what they are searching for, and include those search terms as your keywords.

  • While writing your abstract, remember that your research findings are already completed, so the abstract is always in the present or past simple tense.

  • Avoid delving deeply into the problem when describing your problem statement.

  • Use verbs like "investigate, test, analyze, evaluate, calculate" to describe the purpose of your research.

  • In the results section, highlight the most important findings because sometimes research findings are extensive and it might leave you confused about which ones to include.

  • Mention any limitations encountered during your research.

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Bonus Tips: How to Perfect your Abstract with WPS AI

When crafting your essay with WPS AI, you're setting yourself up for success. WPS AI offers a suite of tools designed to elevate your writing to new heights, ensuring your paper is not only well-written but also perfectly formatted and crystal clear. Whether you're brainstorming ideas or fine-tuning your final draft, WPS AI is your comprehensive writing assistant.

  • Content Generation and Idea Formation:

WPS AI aids in generating and refining ideas, helping you structure your thoughts cohesively. It provides guidance on developing strong arguments and organizing your essay logically, ensuring your content flows smoothly.

  • Grammar and Style Correction:

WPS AI acts as a meticulous proofreader, detecting and correcting grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and stylistic inconsistencies. It ensures your writing adheres to standard grammar rules and enhances readability.

  • Coherence Enhancement:

Beyond surface-level corrections, WPS AI enhances the coherence of your writing. It identifies areas where transitions between paragraphs or ideas could be smoother, ensuring your paper maintains a clear and logical progression of thought.

  • Clarity Check:

Clarity is paramount in effective writing. WPS AI evaluates the clarity of your sentences and paragraphs, suggesting improvements to eliminate ambiguity and enhance understanding. It helps refine your tone and ensures your message is conveyed effectively to your audience.

  • Formatting Assistance:

Formatting can often be a tedious task. WPS AI automates the process, ensuring your paper meets the required formatting guidelines effortlessly. Whether it's APA, MLA, Chicago, or any other style, WPS AI ensures your paper looks polished and professional.

  • Real-time Feedback and Iterative Improvement:

As you write, WPS AI provides real-time feedback, offering suggestions for improvement as you draft your essay. This iterative process allows you to refine your writing continuously, incorporating feedback on the go.

FAQs about writing an abstract for paper

1. Is it necessary for an Abstract to adhere to a standard structure?

No, an abstract does not always need to follow a standard structure. While a standard format offers familiarity, focusing on the most compelling aspects of your research is crucial. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Significant Discoveries: If your research unveils groundbreaking results, prioritizing these can immediately capture attention, even if it diverges slightly from the traditional structure.

  • Innovative Method: Highlighting a fresh or distinct approach from the outset can captivate readers interested in your research methodology.

2. Does the use of technical jargon in an Abstract enhance the reader's comprehension?

Using too much technical language in an abstract usually doesn't help readers. Here's why it might cause trouble:

  • Excludes Readers: An excessive use of jargon can create a barrier, potentially alienating readers who could otherwise benefit from your research.

  • Hides Important Ideas: Sometimes, technical language makes it hard to understand your thoughts clearly. Utilizing clear and everyday language enhances your ability to communicate complex ideas effectively.

When to Incorporate Technical Language:

  • Clarify Terms: If technical terms are necessary, provide clear explanations upon their initial use.

  • Maintain Balance: Strive for clarity while demonstrating proficiency in the technical vocabulary of your field.

3. When should I write the Abstract?

Once you've finished your research, write the abstract as the final step. This allows you to concisely summarize your entire thesis, dissertation, or research paper, capturing all its main points and findings.

4. How long should an Abstract be?

Abstract lengths for theses and dissertations typically range between 200 and 300 words. Many universities enforce strict word limits, so it's crucial to check your institution's specific requirements before submitting your abstract.

Ease Your Academic Life With WPS Office

Writing a paper can be a challenging journey, but when you're creating your abstract, you're figuratively and literally wrapping it up. WPS Office is a great companion to have on this journey. From generating ideas to perfecting your final draft, WPS AI equips you with the tools and guidance on how to write an abstract for paper. It ensures that your essay not only meets academic standards but also stands out for its coherence, clarity, and impeccable presentation. Download WPS Office now and make your academic life easier.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.