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Writing a good research paper abstract

Before you can write a good research paper abstract, you have to understand the type of abstract that you are writing. There are two primary types of abstracts that you can write; there are informational abstracts and descriptive abstracts. Let’s take a look at each of them and their purposes.

Informational abstracts serve a number of purposes. They help to communicate the contents of a research paper by highlighting the points that are important to the paper’s purpose. This abstract includes everything in the paper, including the purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations related to the paper. These are up to two pages, and they give an overview to the reader so they can decide if the topic is of interest.

Descriptive abstracts give a briefer review of the research paper, and only have the purpose and the methods. They are very short (rarely over 100 words) and introduce the subject so that the readers must read the research to learn the results.

Once you understand the type of abstract you are writing, you can now start looking at how to write the abstract effectively. Here are some of the things that should be in your research paper abstract.

  • One or more paragraphs, which are able to stand alone if they have to.
  • Is like an essay in which it uses an introduction, body, and conclusion that follows the order of the paper.
  • Provides connections in the material, but doesn’t add new information to the paper. Any new information should be in the paper itself, never in the abstract.

So how do you write an effective abstract? Here are some steps that you can follow to help you write an effective abstract.

  • Have someone else read your paper and reread it yourself. While doing this, you both should look for the different parts of the paper that the abstract you are writing will explore. (Informative - methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations and descriptive – purpose and methods only).
  • Write a draft in the style mentioned above; don’t copy sentences, just throw out your ideas. Your draft is that – a draft. You’ll be able to edit it later on.
  • Revise your draft to add information, drop what you don’t need, make your ideas clearer and correct any errors.

An effective abstract will have several people looking over the abstract and agreeing upon the results. Getting someone to proofread and edit your abstract can go a long way in the rewriting process.

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