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How to Write Research Abstracts

Description of what a research abstract is, how to conduct one, and examples.

Key Components

  • Opening Sentence
    • What is the importance of this research? Who is reading this article?
  • Purpose for writing
    • What is the problem/ gap this research is trying to solve/ fill? 
  • Methodology
    • Broadly describe the models, approaches, or evidence used in doing the research- don't go into much detail here!
  • Results
    • Simply describe the findings of the research. Science papers might include specific data here, other papers may describe more general conclusions that are clarified in the paper.
  • Implications
    • Why were these findings important? What does this add to the body of knowledge on the subject?

Keep In Mind

  • Be concrete and precise
  • Avoid exaggeration, jargon, or complicated wording
  • Write to reach a broad audience
  • Avoid grandiose phrasing like "little is known about..." 
  • Avoid passive voice

Steps for Writing the Abstract

1. Take Notes as you read an article. Write or highlight what stands out to you. Think about what is important in each paragraph.

2. When you have finished reading the article ask yourself:

  1. What do you now know about the topic. 
  2. Why is that important?  
  3. What is the study about? 
  4. How was the study done?  
  5. What was discovered?  
  6. What do these findings mean?  

3. The answers to these questions will help to create the abstract and keep it focused.

Remember: The main objective of an abstract is to encourage readers of your abstract to read the article for themselves to get the details.

Final Check List

When the Abstract is complete review it using this checklist.

1. Does it fall within the word limit (100-250 words).

2.  Make sure that the methods section is not too long.

3.  Check grammar and spelling.

4.  Check acronyms or abbreviations and make sure that they are easily understood or explained.

5.  Make sure all citations are complete and accurate.