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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper


What is an Abstract?

An abstract is usually a paragraph that provides an overview of the paper. It is usually written in 100 – 200 words and contains a list of the keywords at the end to help the readers to analyze and identify the main pointers of the paper. Abstracts for different subject genres demand different academic disciplines; there are primarily two types of dissertations: science and the humanities. An abstract has been derived from the Latin word abstracts, which means to be drawn away. The abstract can be considered as a movie trailer that offers the highlights, previews, and critical points and also helps the audience decide if the entire work is viewable or not. The main aim of the abstract is to grab the reader’s attention and intrigue them even more towards learning about the topic discussed in the dissertation. For the abstract, the first impression is the last; if the abstract is not good enough to keep the reader interested, it may get rejected immediately.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a written document or a product seeking information, human thinking, analysis, and time. Research papers are the results of the processes that the students perform when taking up any course at the university. The students must analyze the questions, research through secondary sources, and write papers on pre-defined themes. A research paper can also be termed as an essay where the students explain what they have learned from the sources at the university like books, articles, the internet, interviews etc. They must be able to potentially put forth their knowledge, ideas, and opinions so well that the reader is intrigued by reading it and earning about the topic as a whole.

The Purpose of an Abstract?

The abstract is usually written for the research papers. An abstract is usually written for scanning papers, determining and analyzing whether the reader finds it relevant to their research or not. The abstract should display all the required information discussed further in the paper so that the reader can pre-decide whether to read it further or not. The abstract is an essential part of indexing, and various academics use abstracts for academic indexing papers. Like the meta descriptions abstract also contains keywords for helping the researcher find what they are seeking.

Accurate ways of writing an effective abstract for your research paper


Research paper writing involves several styles of conventions, but the most confusing part of the research paper writing process for the students is the in-house style of certain publications. Mainly the APA style is known for psychology, education and social science, MLA for humanities, and CHICAGO for history, sciences, and humanities. Some pointers which shall not be ignored by the students when writing the research paper are:


  • The abstract must be 150-250 words.
  • Different types of dissertations demand a different type of word length.
  • Follow the word limit guidelines provided to you by the university.
  • The students are suggested to divide the overall abstract into four main parts: the introduction, methodology, results and conclusion, to write an effective abstract in the best manner.


  • Set proper 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • According to APA, the most legible and accessible fonts include times new roman, computer modern, Georgia, Calibri, Arial, and Lucida sans Unicode.
  • Write the abstract in bold on the first line.
  • The top left of the page contains the running head
  • The abstract should always be on the second page of the paper.


  • The most crucial factor to be considered when writing the abstract is to keep it clear and precise. The more concise the abstract, the more the probability of the reader showing interest in it. The students must use the active voice, the first person who can help shorten the length while keeping the meaning the same.
  • Use infinitives when stating the hypotheses or objectives.
  • Always write the titles in the original language along with an English translation, so ease out the read.
  • Cite sources only according to the APA format of referencing.


  • Any misusage or missing keywords may lead your abstract to use irrespective of how greatly you have researched.
  • The students must be able to effectively search the keywords which represent the paper’s content and is specific to a particular industry or discipline.
  • According to the APA formatting style
  • You must always write in the lower case until a proper noun.
  • List the keywords in the order of your choice
  • Always separate the spaces and commas.
  • It would help if you used the same spacing, abstract and page placement.

Structure of an Abstract

The structure of an abstract includes the following mentioned below:


The main question to be discussed in the introduction is “what”. There are mainly two to three sentences that summarize the article. The introduction must state the core paper’s content very well, along with the background and the issue. You must be able to fulfil questions like what the problem is, what problem needs to be solved, how your study will fill the gap between the reader’s knowledge and the problem statement, and the desired results.


This section of the research paper answers the central question: how? The students are suggested to mainly mention the answers to what and why regarding the topic when writing the methodology. The methodology can be divided into mainly four sections which are how the research was designed, the subject or population of the study, study variables, how to choose the subject etc.,


The results section is also popularly known as the climax or abstract. These answer the main terms of the study to the thrust. The results must be written in the past tense, which may vary based on the methods used and the data generated.


The conclusion is the final section of the abstract; the main question answered here is “so what”. This section must identify what you have found in all the previous sections and state the overall implication of the results. The conclusion describes the meaning of these findings for a long-term field or question.


Writing an abstract is essential for the students writing any research paper as it is a part of the format and helps the reader value the quality and potential of the research paper. The student must always concentrate on working hard and researching when writing the research paper to attract and intrigue the readers effectively.

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