Abstract writing is a highly specialized form of academic writing. It requires a clear and concise writing style that conveys complicated information in a limited amount of space. Abstracts reach a more broad audience than almost any other form of academic writing. Approximately 10 to 500 times more people will read an abstract than the associated article or attend a presentation.
This presentation will detail the components of typical abstracts, provide step-by-step abstract writing instructions and give advice on turning average abstracts into exceptional ones.
An abstract is a brief representation of a larger document or presentation. For the remainder of this presentation, we will focus on the components of abstracts associated with research articles. The unique aspects of abstracts for literature reviews and presentations will be addressed later.
Abstracts serve three specific purposes. The first, and most important, is to help the reader decide whether to read the entire article. By writing an academic abstract, you are not trying to trick someone into reading your paper. You are trying to be as clear and informative as possible, so that the reader knows what to expect in the content of the paper. Abstracts also summarize the findings of the paper. Reading an abstract should give the reader a clear indication of the importance of your research. Positioned at the beginning of the text, abstracts introduce readers to the content of your article. Finally, academic search engines use the content of abstracts to find relevant articles. It is essential to use key words specific to your discipline, so that scholars can find your article when looking for research in your field.
Qualities of an Abstract
Abstracts of research articles are usually one well-developed paragraph, although some cases require multiple paragraphs. They are characterized by their brevity, and while space restrictions vary, most abstracts range from 100 to 300 words or approximately 3 to 5% of the word count of the associated text. Most journals give clear guidelines for abstract length. Abstracts should contain enough information to stand separate from their associated texts. To accomplish this, abstracts should address all of the major sections and elements of the text. They should also not contain any information that is not included in the associated text.
Structure of an Abstract
Abstracts should follow the same clear and logical structure of their associated text. Begin the abstract by introducing the topic of the article and quickly address the research question being investigated. Next, detail the methods used to answer the question. Finally, outline the key results from your research and make a final statement to conclude the abstract.
Writing an Abstract
Before sitting down to write an abstract, you need to complete the associated article. How can you expect to give a clear summary of the important aspects of a text if you…