Knowing how to write an effective abstract is very important for anyone who is required to write a formal paper.
- If you are a student you may have to write an abstract as part of a larger paper to summarize the paper in a single paragraph.
- The abstract is used by many people as a way to determine whether or not they want to read the entire work or listen to the entire speech at a conference.
- When researching material for a dissertation or thesis, the abstracts of research and academic papers are read to determine whether or not the information is worth reading in detail.
Understanding what an abstract is and the purpose it serves can be of great assistance in helping you write an abstract effectively.
What Is an Abstract?
An abstract is basically a short summary that is used for research surverys or large papers, such as a thesis or dissertation. As the majority of theses and dissertations are quite lengthy, an abstract is used to provide a very complete, but concise, summary of the entire academic writing.
The abstract is vitally important because it is a short representation of the entire findings or thesis. The abstract is what a person will read in order to determine if the overall material will be of interest to them. In many ways it can be considered the selling point for your entire work, and it should be treating as such by presenting the topic of your research or dissertation in a way that will make others interested in reading it thoroughly.
In order to write an abstract that will capture the attention of readers while summarizing the entire paper there are a few tips that you should follow.
Helpful Tips for Writing an Abstract
To present the information from your research or thesis in a manner that will others to be interested in your academic writing, you should:
- Identify the Problem and Research Solution -The abstract should have an opening that identifies that particular subject matter and how the research that you have done will provide a solution. It is very important to make this clear in the initial sentence or two of the abstract as people want to know immediately what the dissertation is about.
- Stick to the Word Count – In general, an abstract is usually no more than 250 words. It is important to keep the word count in mind when writing an abstract. Knowing that you only have 250 words to summarize your entire dissertation can prevent you from being overly descriptive.
- Include Information on Methods and Results – Part of the abstract should briefly mention the methods and results that pertain to your topic. The method is basically the type of research you did, and the results are what was learned or created as a result of the methods.
- Mention the Implications of Your Research – At the close of the abstract it is important to briefly mention how results affect the initial problem that was mentioned in the opening of the abstract.
- Review and Update the Abstract – Upon completing your entire dissertation, it may be necessary for you to review and update the abstract. As you write your dissertation, your views may change and it may be necessary to change the abstract to reflect the shift in viewpoint presented in your dissertation.
Tailoring Your Abstract
There are a variety of academic disciplines that require abstracts. You should review the abstracts from your particular discipline to grasp how you should present your information to the public. Likewise, there are a number of resources such as the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide which can be very helpful in detailing how an abstract should be written.