Steps to Writing Research Paper Abstracts

The abstract is a summary of your research paper.
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The purpose of writing an abstract is to summarize information included in your research paper. The abstract should contain enough information for a reader to decide whether they need to read the rest of the paper and are used to categorize papers in collections. Abstracts are typically between 100 to 300 words, but exact counts are defined by the publication, teacher or professor.

1 Reexamine Your Paper

Begin by reading through your research paper, searching for the specific information you need in your abstract. You will need to include the research essay's problem, goal or objective, hypothesis or educated guess concerning the outcome, method of research, findings and conclusion.

2 Work from Memory

Do not cut and paste sentences from your research paper into the abstract. Rewrite your information in a fresh way. This will keep you focused on the most important details and help you weed out the extraneous details. When you remember your research, consider the elements that stand out and the key words you used, and include these in your abstract.

3 Be Concise

Keep your writing simple by focusing on the specified abstract information. Leave out background information and save details and explanations for the paper. Do not describe everything using a lot of adjectives, adverbs or figures of speech. Also, avoid jargon that the reader might not understand. Do not repeat yourself. Write short sentences that are easy to understand.

4 Report Facts

Your abstract should be a non-biased report of your research findings. Even if you used first person point of view to write your research paper, write your abstract in the third person. Write in the past tense. It should not evaluate your work, but simply report the facts.

5 Stay on Topic

Do not refer to any information not in your research paper. This is a summary of the paper, so it would be false to add new information to the abstract.

6 Revise

Once you have completed a draft, go back through the abstract to revise. Look for places you can tighten it up to save words, and verify that all the relevant information is covered. Your abstract should be understandable to a general audience of readers, so simplify any complicated sentences.

7 Get Feedback

When you are satisfied that you have written the best abstract possible, show it to someone. Get feedback on the piece's readability. If there are still parts that are unclear, revise again.

Based in central Florida, J. Jeremy Dean has written for 16 years and has written news and entertainment articles for "The Daily Commercial" in Leesburg, Fla. In 2002, he won the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors award for criticism. Dean holds a professional writing bachelor's degree from Glenville State College and a master's of education degree from National Louis University.