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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: the Essentials

An abstract is a staple for doctoral dissertations and academic publications. Although it is a short section, the abstract is confusing for many college students. While some find it tedious, most students consider this an easy section, thus, overlooking the key details for a quality abstract for a research paper.

This guide will cover all you need to know about a research paper abstract, making it easy to prepare a quality paper.

What is an Abstract in a Research Paper?

An abstract is a summary of your research paper. Often, the abstract spans one to two paragraphs with up to 150-250 words. This section is helps readers gauge your paper's relevance to their needs.

Often, the abstract is found in books and online publications. Your abstract should, thus, cover various key elements to be beneficial to your readers. Some key elements to cover in your abstract are:

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

The following procedure should come in handy when writing an abstract in a research paper. This approach will help you cover the key elements of your paper and clearly express the key ideas of your paper:

  1. Write your paper

Although many students opt to approach the abstract first, it is best to cover it after completing your paper. Doing this allows you to better describe your paper's key ideas compared to earlier on in the writing phase.

  1. Recheck the instructions

Whether you are writing for a publication or a college assignment, it is essential to follow your tutor/employer's instructions. Before tackling the abstract, gauge your paper and ensure that all information relevant to the topic has been sufficiently covered.

  1. Restate your problem

Identify and highlight the key argument around which your paper is structured.

  1. Summarize the methods

Next, analyze the methods you used to test your claims and various variables in your research.

  1. Describe your results

Finally, restate the most important finding that supports your thesis statement. However, keep this section short to only provide a basic idea of your research.

Tips for writing a research paper abstract

Sample abstract for a research paper

Many study methods have been advertised as the best for retaining studied content over long durations. Among these, the notable methods are the Cornell method, the mapping method, and the sentence method.

This study focuses on applying various note-taking methods to improve classroom discussions. Fifty students were gathered and exposed to various subjects using different note-taking methods. The students were taught for a month without introducing these study methods, after which we administered a test.  

After the test, we employed various note-taking methods and, after a month, administered another test and analyzed the results. This study indicated that different methods help improve the study of various subjects while others are detrimental if employed in some units. 

Final Take

We hope that this guide has been of help in helping you master how to write an abstract. Do not hesitate to engage us for further assistance in your academic journey.