How to write the best abstract of any research paper (and how not to)
Your abstract decides the quality of your research paper and if it’s worth publishing. Journal editors (and readers) read your abstract first, and they usually make a decision to consider publishing it. Even after the work is published, the first thing your target audience reads is the abstract. Hence, you should know how to write the best abstract of your research paper to ensure your work will not go futile.
Only if your abstract succeeds in catching their interest, your work will be gone through or cited by other researchers. Thus, to help you get your work noticed, I present you the examples of some of the best and worst abstracts. I’ll also explain the reasons behind them being best or worst.
Before you look at the samples you must understand what an abstract is and its basic structure.
What is an abstract?
An abstract is a 100-200 words summary of your research paper (length varies depending on the style guide the journal follows such as APA, CMS, etc.). Although presented on the top of your paper, an abstract must always be written once you have finished with the rest of your article
Here are a few examples to help you understand how an amazing thesis statement looks like:
Remember: Your abstract is not only what other researchers make out of your study but also what any search engine “thinks” about your work. Your title and abstract will be used by the search engine to understand what your paper is about and index it accordingly.
Features of a good abstract
1 . Around 200 words of a good abstract will give the readers the gist of the paper and can grab their attention to read further.
2 . A good abstract follows the guidelines of the journal where the paper is to be submitted. Many journals ask for a single paragraph for an abstract while others ask to divide the abstract under sub headings such as
Methods and Results
3 . Whatever the guideline be, a good abstract follows a proper structure such as mentioned below:
The context of your work
The purpose of the study/problem it solves
The sequence and the amount of information in each section depends upon the nature of work or the subject area. However, you have to compile all this information within 200 words.
Examples of Best abstracts for any research article
1 . Biotechnology research paper
The above abstract is around 100 words. It starts with a background and addresses the problem all in the present tense. This is then followed by the objective of the study. The author clearly mentions what is reported in the paper. The next section highlights the results with just a hint of the methodology used. The best thing about this abstract is that it catches the reader’s attention by focusing on the best achievements of the work- the amount of hydrogen produced and the efficiency of recycling. Such abstracts are likely to induce a feeling to read the entire paper and know how the experiments are done.
2 . Social Psychology
This article published in one of the finest journals has a perfect abstract. It starts with a brief explanation of the research topic and, in the next statement, addresses the problem. This is then followed by a smooth transition to objective of the study. The methodology is written in the past tense and a brief of all the results produced is given. The abstract ends with a single line conclusion drawn from all the results.
3 . Humanities
In this case, the author starts directly with the objective of the study and then adds a little background. The transition is smooth and hence the abstract looks good. How the study is conducted is then followed with results imbibed. At last, the author mentions the implications of the study making it a good abstract.
Examples of the worst abstracts
1 . In the sample shown below, the abstract starts with the objective in past tense which should always be present tense- “The aim of the study is…”. A gist of the results should be given such that it highlights the achievements of the work, which this abstract fails at. Moreover, the flow of the sentences is very poor i.e. when you read the abstract it gives you a feeling that the author has just compiled some pointers in a paragraph.
2 . In this example of worst abstracts, the background of the study is unnecessarily stretched making it lengthy. The entire abstract thereafter explains what FDI is, instead of stating the purpose of the study, how it is conducted and what are the results. Also, the author concludes the paragraph again highlighting the objective of the study- A perfect example of the worst abstract for a research article.
Now you know how to write a good abstract of your research paper. Regardless of any research area, the structure of an abstract is same. Remember, for any assistance, you can always hire a professional scientific writer. Expert professional writers in your field of interest know how to present the paper and will check for the consistency, organization, flow and structure of your research paper making it publication ready.
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