Students sometimes find it too difficult to write abstracts. Some of them even do not have the slightest idea what an abstract is and how to write it. Here, we are going to learn a lot about writing an abstract.
What is an Abstract?
People have different views about what is abstract. The abstract cannot be said as a teaser of the paper, which gives an opportunity to the reader to get hands on some of the most interesting bits about the research that they have done. It is also not a trailer of a movie that helps a reader to get a glimpse of the research and helps them to make a decision whether they should write a movie or not. In the same way, the abstract also cannot be said as an outline of the paper which gives an idea about what you are going to write in it. This is also not an area where you briefly state the contents of your research work.
So what really is an abstract?
Well, an abstract can be said as a short summary of the paper that you need to develop. This section summarizes the entire paper. Readers should have a highly clear idea of what they can expect after they read the paper. Of course, the information shared in the paper will be far more detailed as well as specific. However, the reader must know what the research question is all about and how it is answered and addressed in the research paper after they read the abstract.
The abstract is the first thing that any reader reads. This section also appears as an isolated text on the front page. It is also the first thing that every reader reads when they look at any paper.
What is the Importance of the Abstract?
Abstract in a research paper serves primarily two purposes. The first one is, that it plays a key role in sharing information about the study area. This section informs the reader about the content and the knowledge value that your research paper shares. When the abstract is written in a good manner, it works as an invitation for the other readers to read the entire research paper.
It also plays an important role in the peer review process. When a paper is submitted and is under the review of the editors, the first thing they will do is go through the abstract to get the first impression. When the editor shares the paper with the reviewer, the only thing that they see is the abstract. Here they can accept or decline the invitation to review the paper.
When should you write an Abstract?
This is the very first thing that a reader reads when they will start writing their paper. But, this should not be the first thing that you should write when you start writing the paper.
Rather, an abstract should be written only when the entire paper is written and is complete.
Steps to write an abstract of the paper
Writing an abstract is not a very difficult task. It is merely 150 to 300 words in length and takes 10 to 30 minutes to complete. In some journals, the standard maximum length for writing the journals is also mentioned. Here are ten steps that you can follow to write an abstract.
This section does not have any new content. It is just the summary of the paper that you have developed. Here are ten easy steps to writing a research paper.
Step 1: Identify the section headings
The first thing you need to do is to write down all the section headings of your paper in one place. These headings include Introduction, methods, results, Discussion, and Conclusion. These are the backbone of your research paper.
Step 2: Cover the introduction
The next thing that you need to do is to make a summary of your introduction section. This can be similar to explaining to someone the introduction in one or two lines. Do not add much detail. Just add a sentence about the overall problem and background of the research. You should also let your readers know why it is important to research the problem. The research aim should be clearly reflected in this section.
Step 3: Mention the methods
Mention the key methods and steps that should be taken to achieve the objective that you have mentioned in the previous section. All the steps should be summarized in one or two sentences. Also, you should not share a lot of details about the methods in this section. This section can also mention details such as percentages, numbers, sample size, and some other specifications about the research being carried out.
Step 4: Discuss the results
In one or two sentences, mention a short summary of the results. These are the main findings of the study. These should be in response to the research questions that have been presented in the earlier section.
Step 5: Summarize the discussions
Mention the primary results and aspects that you have covered in the entire paper.
Step 6: Develop a summary of the Conclusion
This section should mention the major take-home message that you want to convey to the reader. This message should be present at the end of the abstract.
Step 7: Review and edit the language, length, and style
The draft of the abstract is ready now. This is the time when you have to read all that you have written and make sure the abstract is very clear, has the right grammar and punctuation, and has short and crisp sentences. Also, make sure that it is of the optimal length and does not mention any abbreviations and sources.
Now you are all set to develop the perfect abstract. Make sure that you follow all the steps and develop a high-quality abstract for your research paper.