What is the importance of writing an abstract for your research paper?

One of the prime objectives of writing a research paper is to inform the readers about a recent development in a field of study. Each section of the manuscript informs the audience about how the research was carried out, what is the result, and so on. A research paper should be structured properly to ensure logic and coherence. It consists of many different sections, out of which one is abstract. An abstract describes the methodology and research findings of a paper.

What is an abstract and why is it written?

An abstract is a concise and to-the-point description of a research manuscript. It is used as a roadmap to inform the readers about the latest developments in the scientific community. Your target audience will be able to develop a basic understanding of the main focus of your study by reading the abstract. It is written to address the following points:

  • Research problem
  • Solution/Conclusion
  • The methodology used to solve the question
  • Key concepts used to develop the paper
  • Effectiveness of your research paper
  • Contribution of your research to the community

The abstract should be concise and informative. A good abstract explains the research topic as well as the research problem.

What is the purpose of including an abstract in your academic paper?

The review board can decide whether the paper is worth publishing and meets the journal’s standards by reading the abstract. It also helps the readers determine the complexity of the paper. The citations included in your abstract will help the audience keep a track of relevant findings.

Tips for writing a research abstract:

  1. Complete your paper: Write the abstract after finishing the writing process. This way you will be able to use your academic paper as a guide, note down the key points, and elaborate them in the abstract section. Also, check out the journal’s formatting guidelines to see whether or not there are any specific requirements or word limit given.
  2. Tense: Your research work will be finished by the time you write the abstract, therefore use past tense to describe how the research was done. Use active voice wherever possible, as it provides clear-cut information to the readers without confusing them.
  3. Sentence formation: Avoid using uncommon abbreviations and keep the sentences shorter. Add relevant keywords in the title, heading, introduction, and abstract and ensure it conveys the original meaning.
  4.  Summarize information: Try to condense the main points of your research paper in just one sentence. The beginning of the sentence should inform the readers about the subject and aim of the research.
  5.  Context: Your abstract should provide the context of your paper. Start by explaining why you chose a topic for research and how it is relevant. You can create an outline of the previous studies conducted in chronological order to explain the concept better.

Different types of abstracts:

Descriptive abstract: Such type of abstract is usually short in length and covers all the sections that are included in your manuscript. The audience can find out what the paper is exactly about by reading the descriptive abstract. Do not forget to include keywords in each section.

Informative abstract: Add citations and a statement explaining the research background while writing an informative abstract. Focus on the main problem so that readers can understand the context better. Include the key findings and elaborate on the main arguments.

Critical abstract: Read your paper carefully for writing a critical abstract. Underline the pivotal words and summarize the information by combining the main sentences. Usually, a critical abstract is 2 to 3 pages long, you can also follow the journal guidelines to check the word limit and other requirements.

What authors should not do?

  • Provide information about their previous research
  • Include a list of references and citations
  • Explain the lab procedures
  • Insert unknown or undefined abbreviations

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