How to Write Abstract for a Research Paper: Expert Tips for A+ Results

How to Write Abstract for a Research Paper: Expert Tips for A+ Results

Written by Ramsay, In How To, Published On
February 28, 2024

A well-composed abstract does a lot of favours for your research paper. Not only does it help readers remember your work’s ideas and key points, but it also lets them get a grasp understanding of its full version. Since it is not a stage you can easily omit, especially if you plan to publish your paper in scientific journals, it is crucial to check what secrets will assist in completing the task hassle-free. Keep on reading this guide to discover strategic approaches for this purpose.

The Importance of an Abstract for a Research Paper

Research Paper

Although it is a must-have element for research papers in any field, it is not for the sake of academic writing traditions only. An abstract is the first thing readers will learn about your work, and it will help them decide whether checking the full version is worth their time. It also lets others understand how relevant and efficient the target piece of academic writing is for their research — using projects created by peers and more experienced scholars is a standard consequence of events. Readers won’t have to pore through your work to get a general idea about its value.

On the other hand, an abstract plays a significant role in the indexing process. Authorities must index such projects to be included and represented in academic paper repositories. In this case, abstracts serve as meta-descriptions in search engine results. Proper keywords make sorting out research papers valuable for a project or specific fields such as STM easier. If you want to categorize your research accurately, adding a well-written abstract to its content is necessary.

Abstract’s Nature: More About Its Structural Nature

An excellent abstract is direct and concise, conveying as much data as possible without overwording and flagrant language. It might be beneficial to section this work separately, working on these obligatory parts of the piece:

  • Introduction — here, you should briefly introduce the paper’s topic, its scientific importance, and what knowledge gaps you address or face in your work. It includes your paper’s thesis.
  • Methodology — highlight what scientific research tools have helped you reach the findings you will further mention in the abstract’s body. Discuss the methods to validate your ideas, the study’s subject, the research approach, etc.
  • Results — use the past tense to describe your paper’s outcome. You won’t need to provide detailed explanations here — leave them for the next section of the text.
  • In this final section of your work, your task is to outline the key thoughts, findings, and solutions to the problem stated in the research paper. Unlike a full format, you don’t have to paraphrase all the ideas you include in the text. It is better to get a new perspective on your findings to increase their value, providing more details on their applicability in related fields, connection with other hypotheses and scientific issues, and so on.

How Long Should an Abstract for a Research Paper Be?

The standard frame for a compelling abstract is in the range of 150 words to 250 words. The best decision is to stick to a happy medium between the two since using fewer or more words will only result in losing several points. If your assignment includes a specific number of words to hit, it is better to stick to its guidelines. If unsure, ask your professor for help from a cheap paper writing service.

As a rule, four crucial parts of an abstract will be represented in the way below (suppose the total count of words is two hundred):

  • Introduction — 25%, namely, around fifty words.
  • Methodology — 25%, i.e. fifty words.
  • Results — 35%, circa seventy words.
  • Conclusion — 15%, approximately thirty words.

Abstract & Keywords

Your keyword selection will define how successful your paper’s categorization and representation in academic repositories and databases will be. It will ensure its discoverability for scientists with similar academic research interests.

In terms of formatting, keywords are written as a sequence of terms, separated by come and without any additional explanations, one line below the main body of the abstract. You can choose any relevant keywords for your work, but their number will depend on the formatting style you pursue in your writing. In the case of APA guidelines, three to five notions will be enough for indexing purposes.

How to Make Your Research Paper’s Abstract Better

Research Paper

Polishing your writing skills with the right strategy will help create the best abstract version of your academic content piece.

Here are a few suggestions on how to reach the next level in your effort and overall efficiency:

  • Don’t forget about the rules of 5C. Your text has to be complete, concise, clear, conventional, and compelling. Avoid ambiguity — be straightforward in your thoughts and expressions.
  • Whatever citation style you use, for instance, Chicago for history-related work or APA for research papers in education or psychology fields, don’t make it overly complex. It is better to avoid using colloquial and informal phrases.
  • At the same time, jargon and acronyms won’t make your abstract seem more professional. You will have to explain their real meanings, which might be insufficient for the general summary of your work.
  • Don’t state facts, thoughts, or other information not listed in your text’s body.
  • It is a mistake to write an abstract from your perspective. The same goes for including common knowledge facts. The use of infinities will come in handy.
  • Tautology might become your worst enemy in this case — writing an abstract isn’t about rephrasing the research paper’s title.

Key Takeaways

You represent your work as a researcher and a scientist — no need for extravagant metaphors or storytelling tricks. Your task isn’t to make abstract creative — it is to perform its functions of being concise and descriptive.

  1. Clarity Over Creativity: Focus on clarity and conciseness rather than creative embellishments in your abstract. Avoid extravagant metaphors or storytelling techniques, as the primary goal is to provide a clear and descriptive summary of your research.
  2. Adherence to Guidelines: Follow the rules of 5C – ensure your abstract is complete, concise, clear, conventional, and compelling. Please adhere to the target journal or repository’s specific formatting and stylistic requirements, whether APA, Chicago or another citation style.
  3. Avoid Ambiguity: Be straightforward in your presentation of ideas, avoiding ambiguity and overly complex language. Steer clear of colloquial expressions, jargon, and acronyms that may not be universally understood without explanation.
  4. Focus on Relevance: Include only information directly related to your research paper’s content, avoiding extraneous details or statements not found in the body of your paper. Present your findings objectively without injecting personal perspectives or common knowledge facts.
  5. Beware of Tautology: Avoid repeating information already conveyed in your paper’s title or redundantly restating ideas. Ensure that your abstract adds value by offering a concise yet comprehensive overview of your research.
  6. Professional Tone: Maintain a professional tone throughout your abstract, reflecting your role as a researcher and scientist. Emphasize the importance of accuracy and precision in conveying your research findings to your audience.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Refine your abstract-writing skills by seeking feedback, reviewing examples from reputable sources, and staying updated on best academic writing and publishing practices.


Why is an abstract important for a research paper?

An abstract serves as a concise summary of the research paper, helping readers understand its key ideas and significance without having to read the entire paper. It aids in indexing, categorization, and discovery of research papers in academic repositories.

What should be included in an abstract?

An abstract should include essential elements such as the paper’s topic, scientific importance, research methods, key findings, and conclusions. It should be direct, concise, and informative.

How long should an abstract be?

The standard length for an abstract is typically between 150 to 250 words. However, it’s essential to adhere to any specific word count requirements provided by the target journal or publication.

Should I include keywords in the abstract?

Yes, including keywords relevant to your research paper can improve its discoverability in academic repositories and databases. These keywords should be listed below the abstract and follow the formatting guidelines of the target publication.

What formatting style should I use for the abstract?

The formatting style for the abstract should align with the guidelines of the target journal or publication. Common styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, and IEEE, among others.

Can I use informal language or colloquial expressions in the abstract?

It’s best to avoid informal language or colloquial expressions in the abstract, as its purpose is to convey research findings objectively and professionally. Stick to clear, concise, and formal language.

How can I improve my abstract writing skills?

You can improve your abstract-writing skills by practicing concise and clear communication, seeking feedback from peers or mentors, studying examples from reputable sources, and staying updated on best practices in academic writing and publishing.

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