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How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 18, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis ,  dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

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You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book or research proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

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Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services or use the paraphrasing tool .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Importance of a Good Abstract

Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.

How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.

How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types of Abstracts

To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.

Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.

II.  Writing Style

Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.

Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.

Composing Your Abstract

Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].

Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

  • A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
  • Lengthy background or contextual information,
  • Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
  • Acronyms or abbreviations,
  • References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
  • Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
  • Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
  • Citations to other works, and
  • Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.

Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in hte Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Writing Tip

Never Cite Just the Abstract!

Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .

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CURAH

Five Steps to a Brilliant Abstract

by Dr. Jo Koster, Winthrop University

Humanities scholars and students aren’t usually taught to write abstracts like our friends in the natural and social sciences are. That’s because in the humanities, full pieces of discourse are preferred to short, condensed summaries. But in many cases you will NEED to write an abstract for your work—and a lot of what your colleagues in other disciplines know can help you.

Let’s start with the basic questions.

What is a descriptive abstract?

A descriptive abstract is the summary of work you have already completed or work you are proposing. It is not the same thing as the introduction to your work. The abstract should give readers a short, concise snapshot of the work as a whole—not just how it starts. Remember that the readers of your abstract will sometimes not read the paper as a whole, so in this short document you need to give them an overall picture of your work. If you are writing an abstract as a proposal for your research—in other words, as a request for permission to write a paper—the abstract serves to predict the kind of paper you hope to write.

What’s different about a conference paper (or informative) abstract?

A conference abstract is one you submit to have your paper considered for presentation at a professional conference (CURAH maintains a growing list of these opportunities ). The conference organizers will specify the length — rarely be more than 500 words (just short of two double-spaced pages). In an ideal world, you write your abstract after the actual paper is completed, but in some cases you may write an abstract for a paper you haven’t yet written—especially if the conference is some time away. Because the conference review committee will usually read the abstract and not your actual paper, you need to think of it as an independent document, aimed at that specific committee and connecting solidly with the theme of the conference. You may want to pick up phrasing from the conference title or call for papers in the abstract to reinforce this connection. Examine the call for papers carefully; it will specify the length of the abstract, special formatting requirements, whether the abstract will be published in the conference bulletin or proceedings, etc. Abstracts that do not meet the specified format are usually rejected early in the proceedings, so pay attention to each conference’s rules!

How wedded are you to the abstract you submit?

An abstract is a promissory note. That is, you are promising that you can and will produce the goods in the paper. Particularly in the case of a conference abstract, the organizers will make up a session based on the contents of the abstract. If you propose a paper that says you will use Foucault to comment on post-colonialism in Heat and Dust” and then show up with a paper on “Metaphors for Spring in A Bend in the River,” your paper may not fit the session where it was slotted, and you’ll look silly—and those organizers may not ask you back. While some divergence from the promised topic is acceptable (and probably inevitable if you haven’t written the paper when you submit the abstract), you need to produce a paper that’s within shouting distance of your original topic for the sake of keeping your promise.

The Five Step Process

Descriptive abstracts are usually only 100-250 words, so they must be pared down to the essentials. Typically, a descriptive abstract answers these questions:

Why did you choose this study or project? What did/will you do and how? What did you/do you hope to find? (For a completed work) What do your findings mean?

Step 1: A catchy title

Which paper would you rather go hear at a conference? ‘Issues of Heteronormativity and Gender Performance In Twain’s Novels” or “Come Back to the Raft, Huck Honey”?

Your title should be informative and focused, indicating the problem and your general approach. It’s very fashionable in the humanities to have titles featuring a catchy phrase, a colon, and then an explanation of the title. While snappy titles may help your abstract be noticed, it’s really what comes after the colon that sells the abstract, so pay attention to it. “All the World’s a Ship: Race and Ethnicity in Moby Dick” catches the eye, but “Melville’s Deconstruction of Ethnicity in the ‘Midnight, Forecastle’ Episode of Moby Dick” tells readers much more specifically what you’re promising to deliver.

Step 2: A snappy context sentence (or sentences)

The abstract should begin with a clear sense of the research question you have framed. Often writers set this up as a problem: “Although some recent scholars claim to have identified Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio, that attribution is still not accepted.

Step 3: Introduce your argument (don’t just copy your thesis statement).

If you began with a problem, you can pose your argument as the solution: “In this paper I use the records of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, London’s chief publishing organization, to show that the play identified by Charles Hamilton in 1990 is not actually the play Shakespeare’s company mounted in 1613.” It’s perfectly legit to use “I” in sentences referring to your argument.

Step 4: Add some sentences describing how you make your argument.

It always helps when you identify the theoretical or methodological school that you are using to approach your question or position yourself within an ongoing debate. This helps readers situate your ideas in the larger conversations of your discipline. For instance, “The debate among Folsom, McGann, and Stallybrass over the notion of database as a genre (PMLA 122.5, Fall 2007) suggests that….” or “Using the definition of dataclouds proposed by Johnson-Eilola (2005), I will argue that…”

Finally, briefly state your conclusion.

“ Through analyzing Dickinson’s use of metaphor, I demonstrate that she systematically transformed Watt’s hymnal tropes as a way of asserting her own doctrinal truths. This transformation…”

Not everyone agrees how much jargon should be included in an abstract. My best advice is to add any technical terms you need, but don’t put in jargon for jargon’s sake or just to make it look like you are an expert (this especially extends to (post)modernizing your words or other typographical excrescences).

Special for conference papers:

To the basic requirements of the descriptive abstract, a conference paper abstract should also include a few sentences about how the proposed paper fits in the theme of the conference. For instance, a call for papers for a session on “Science and Literature in the 19th Century” at a conference entitled “(Dis)Junctions” requested “critical works on the interaction between scientific writing and literature in the 19th century. How did scientific discoveries, theories and assumptions (for example, in medicine and psychology, but not limited to these) influence contemporaneous fiction?” If you were submitting a paper to this session, you would want to have a sentence or two about the theories you were discussing and name the particular works where you would identify their influence. If you can work the words “join” or “junction” (or “disjunction”) into your title or abstract, you’ll increase your chance of having the paper accepted, since you’re showing clearly how the paper fits the theme of the session.

Step 5: Show the conference organizers or editors that you’re a pro.

Tell them your essay is a finished work (even if it’s only complete in your head!). It’s also considered good in a conference abstract to conclude with a sentence about your presentation, since the great horror of session chairs is the paper that runs far too long (or embarrassingly too short). Organizers also need to know if you need any special technology to present the paper. So a a much-appreciated professional touch is concluding passage such as, “My paper is complete and can be presented in 20 minutes. I will bring bring video clips on a portable drive but will need a computer, projector, and Internet access to show all my materials.”

Be professional!

Double-check your abstract to make sure it meets the length requirements. Make sure it’s edited and documented. And above all, make sure it’s submitted on time.

Here is a video version of this page, taking you from the call for papers to the finished abstract.

Check out these other guides from CURAH:

  • How to write a proposal
  • How to make a poster
  • A list of regional and national conferences where you can present your work

Acknowledgements:

Illustrated by Ian MacInnes Thanks to Dr. Leslie Bickford for her sample abstract

I consulted and borrowed material from the following websites in preparing these suggestions:

www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/abstracts.html www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/faculty/bucholtz/sociocultural/abstracttips.html www.academic-conferences.org/abstract-guidelines.htm ceca.icom.museum/ dbase upl/writinganabstract.pdf ling.wisc.edu/macaulay/800.abstracts.html writingcenter.unlv.edu/writing/abstract.html www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2007/03/14/how-not-to-write-an-abstract/ webapp.comcol.umass.edu/msc/absGuidelines.aspx www.oberlin.edu/history/Honors/prospectus.html www.english.eku.edu/ma/scholarlythesis.php

The Arts and Humanities Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research

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Writing an Abstract

What is an abstract.

An abstract is a 150- to 250-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay or report and its organization. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.

According to Carole Slade, an abstract is “a concise summary of the entire paper.”

The function of an abstract is to describe, not to evaluate or defend, the paper.

The abstract should begin with a brief but precise statement of the problem or issue, followed by a description of the research method and design, the major findings, and the conclusions reached.

The abstract should contain the most important key words referring to method and content: these facilitate access to the abstract by computer search and enable a reader to decide whether to read the entire dissertation.

Note: Your abstract should read like an overview of your paper, not a proposal for what you intended to study or accomplish. Avoid beginning your sentences with phrases like, “This essay will examine...” or “In this research paper I will attempt to prove...”  

(The examples above are taken from Form and Style (10th ed.), by Carole Slade; The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers (5th ed.); and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.).)

Note: The following are specifications for an abstract in APA style, used in the social sciences, such as psychology or anthropology. If you are in another discipline, check with your professor about the format for the abstract.

Writing an Abstract for an IMRaD Paper

Many papers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences follow IMRaD structure: their main sections are entitled Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. People use the abstract to decide whether to read the rest of the paper, so the abstract for such a paper is important.

Because the abstract provides the highlights of the paper, you should draft your abstract after you have written a full draft of the paper. Doing so, you can summarize what you’ve already written in the paper as you compose the abstract.

Typically, an abstract for an IMRaD paper or presentation is one or two paragraphs long (120 – 500 words). Abstracts usually spend

25% of their space on the purpose and importance of the research (Introduction)

25% of their space on what you did (Methods)

35% of their space on what you found (Results)

15% of their space on the implications of the research

Try to avoid these common problems in IMRaD abstracts:

1. The abstract provides a statement of what the paper will ask or explore rather than what it found:

X This report examines the causes of oversleeping. (What did it find out about these causes?) √ Individuals oversleep because they go to bed too late, forget to set their alarms, and keep their rooms dark.

2. The abstract provides general categories rather than specific details in the findings:

X The study draws conclusions about which variables are most important in choosing a movie theater. (What, specifically, are these variables?)

√ The study concludes that the most important variables in choosing a movie theater are comfortable seats and high-quality popcorn.

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Abstract Example

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Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 Abstract Example – Definition
  • 3 Step-by-Step Guide
  • 4 Types of Abstract with Examples
  • 5 Examples for Your Thesis
  • 6 In a Nutshell

Abstract Example – Definition

An abstract example is a piece of information that conclusively summarizes the whole article, review, conference corresponding and thesis, among others. It can also be used to provide an intensive summary of a specific subject.

It often occurs at the beginning of the authors work, to enable the reader to deduce the purpose of the thesis, research or article. If the information is conclusive, the abstract should be able to provide the complete idea of what is in the paper without any problems.

What is the difference between a thesis statement and an abstract example?

A thesis statement  is a stance that the writer takes about the particular research topic and it is frequently referred to throughout the text. An abstract example, on the other hand, is a summary of an article or written project which only consists of the main problem, purpose and conclusion of the work. The abstract is a great way to get an idea of a research report without reading the whole thing.

Do you need to write your own commentary on an abstract?

It depends on the type of abstract you are writing. You can only include personal commentary in a critical abstract. Generally, it should express the results and findings of your research paper in one concise summary.

How do you know you have enough information in your abstract?

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself the question: As another researcher, with only the abstract as an available piece of paper from the whole research, would I understand the contents of the research paper or dissertation through this abstract example? If the answer is no, then perhaps you need to rephrase your abstract to ensure that it’s clear and concise.

How to find an abstract example?

Finding an abstract example is quite easy. We have included some examples here below with instructions on how to format them. All of the information you need is right here at your fingertips, simply scroll down and you’ll find examples, as well as a step-by-step guide to writing an abstract.

How long is an abstract?

For a smaller research paper , the abstract should be somewhere between 1/3 of a page to 1 whole page. 150 words is a good starting point. For a bachelor’s thesis, or a master’s thesis, your abstract will be 1-2 whole pages, but it should never exceed 2 pages.

What to look for in an abstract example?

There are so many things to look for in an abstract example. For instance, the length of the abstract, the formatting and the key areas that it is focusing on. You should also have a look at how the main points of the research paper are effectively summarised and the tone in which the abstract is written.

What should an abstract include?

An abstract example should include a summary of the whole paper. That includes an introduction, the methods used, the results and an interpretation of the results that were discussed in your academic writing project. Remember to keep it short and concise.

Step-by-Step Guide

Writing an abstract example for your scientific paper is quite easy. You only need to follow some of the steps below, and in no time, you will have a comprehensive abstract.

The steps include:

Step 1: Write the paper first

The best way to come up with a great abstract is to first write the whole research paper. By doing so, you will be able to highlight every key aspect included in the article easily. It also saves you time in case you decide not to use specific information or arguments.

Step 2: Note essential information in the paper

Once you finish writing the whole research paper, go ahead and identify the key sections. Those are the details you need to write. Every sentence should carry valuable information concerning the paper.

Some of the information you need to have in mind include an overview of the problem, the methods used to collect data, the results and the conclusion of the paper. You should summarize all those details in your abstract example.

Step 3: Go through to make sure it touches every main section

You should then go through the abstract and make sure that it touches all the parts of the paper. If a particular section is missing, you need to go ahead and find a way to incorporate it without going above the required words.

Abstract-example-step-by-step-2

Types of Abstract with Examples

There are various types of abstract examples. You need to know what each type is so that you can understand what you need to write in each one of them.

The types include:

Critical Abstract

The critical abstract example not only focuses on the problem description, methods of data collection, judgement or comment on the findings.

It also involves comparing the paper with other existing works. The abstract example length usually ranges from 400 to 500 words.

Descriptive Abstract

In a descriptive abstract example, you have to denote critical information. You should, however, not include any judgement, commentary or conclusion on the subject.

It is usually 100 words or less. The descriptive abstract example only denotes the purpose, scope and critical areas of the research.

Informative Abstract

It is the most common type of abstract. The abstract usually contains at most 300 words in length.

The informative abstract tends to describe the critical aspects of the research paper, the main arguments, as well as the recommendations of the author.

Abstract-example-different-types

Examples for Your Thesis

Stakeholder-oriented protection of employees in Germany

Stakeholders are a significant problem in the United States. In the stated country, the shareholders are company owners, and so managers have to fulfil their interests. Germany, on the other hand, follows the stakeholder-oriented model where each employee deserves a legal representation on the supervisory board.

The literature review indicates the disparity between the two models with favorable outcomes towards the German model. The employee in Germany have a voice, and so they are free to speak their minds and help in decision making. Despite a few negativities, the model is likely to impact the United States positively.

Strategic plan and evaluation for healthcare facilities

The primary demand in healthcare at the moment is quality, patient- centered healthcare and safety. Establishment of a strategy that incorporates the three is a significant step to take towards a positive direction.

The literature review, however, denotes that the accomplishment of the plan depends solely on systems and not individuals. For the effectiveness of the strategy, it has to align with the organizational culture, operation unites and culture. The strategy performance will then require an analytical tool for proper evaluation of its success.

Communication behavior, Values, and political participation

This paper scrutinizes the mediation of communication behavior on the influence of values towards political participation. The findings are that post-material values like newspapers affect political participation positively while materialist values affect negatively.

Some results explain how communication patterns affect political participation, and that goes beyond the facts regarding political knowledge. The conclusion is that integrating information from news and various sources can lead to a better understanding of the political realm. It can also lead to better political participation in politics than when using factual politics knowledge.

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In a Nutshell

  • An abstract is a short intensive summary of an article which mostly occurs at the beginning of the author’s work.
  • It should enable the reader to deduce the purpose and the results of the article to help him decide if it is worth reading.
  • There are different types of abstracts: critical, descriptive and informative
  • In order to write a good abstract, you should write your whole paper first.
  • By going through the included abstract examples, you find the ideal format, tone and structure of a descriptive abstract.

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Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Definition and Purpose of Abstracts

An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

  • an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
  • an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
  • and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.

It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.

If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.

The Contents of an Abstract

Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.

Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:

  • the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
  • the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
  • what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
  • the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
  • your research and/or analytical methods
  • your main findings , results , or arguments
  • the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.

Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.

When to Write Your Abstract

Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.

Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract

The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.

The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.

The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).

Sample Abstract 1

From the social sciences.

Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses

Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.

“The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the topic under study (the “economic resemblance of spouses”). This sentence also implies the question underlying this research study: what are the various causes—and the interrelationships among them—for this trend?] The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor—a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. [Annotation for the previous two sentences: These next two sentences explain what previous research has demonstrated. By pointing out the limitations in the methods that were used in previous studies, they also provide a rationale for new research.] We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The data, research and analytical methods used in this new study.] Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.” (p. 985) [Annotation for the previous two sentences: The major findings from and implications and significance of this study.]

Sample Abstract 2

From the humanities.

Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications

Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.

“From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a network of young urban migrant men created an underground pulp fiction publishing industry in the city of Dar es Salaam. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the context for this research and announces the topic under study.] As texts that were produced in the underground economy of a city whose trajectory was increasingly charted outside of formalized planning and investment, these novellas reveal more than their narrative content alone. These texts were active components in the urban social worlds of the young men who produced them. They reveal a mode of urbanism otherwise obscured by narratives of decolonization, in which urban belonging was constituted less by national citizenship than by the construction of social networks, economic connections, and the crafting of reputations. This article argues that pulp fiction novellas of socialist era Dar es Salaam are artifacts of emergent forms of male sociability and mobility. In printing fictional stories about urban life on pilfered paper and ink, and distributing their texts through informal channels, these writers not only described urban communities, reputations, and networks, but also actually created them.” (p. 210) [Annotation for the previous sentences: The remaining sentences in this abstract interweave other essential information for an abstract for this article. The implied research questions: What do these texts mean? What is their historical and cultural significance, produced at this time, in this location, by these authors? The argument and the significance of this analysis in microcosm: these texts “reveal a mode or urbanism otherwise obscured . . .”; and “This article argues that pulp fiction novellas. . . .” This section also implies what previous historical research has obscured. And through the details in its argumentative claims, this section of the abstract implies the kinds of methods the author has used to interpret the novellas and the concepts under study (e.g., male sociability and mobility, urban communities, reputations, network. . . ).]

Sample Abstract/Summary 3

From the sciences.

Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells

Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.

“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence announces the topic under study, summarizes what’s already known or been accomplished in previous research, and signals the rationale and goals are for the new research and the problem that the new research solves: How can researchers reprogram fibroblasts into iCPCs?] Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipo-tency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. [Annotation for the previous four sentences: The methods the researchers developed to achieve their goal and a description of the results.] Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354) [Annotation for the previous sentence: The significance or implications—for drug discovery, disease modeling, and therapy—of this reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs.]

Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract

Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study

Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.

Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.

“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.

METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.

RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.

CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)

Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:

abstract 500 words

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Study Skills

Writing an abstract

An abstract is a condensed version of your article; a distillation of the most important information (Belcher, 2019, p. 93).  

This page will help you to: 

understand the purpose and importance of an abstract 

plan an abstract 

structure and write different types of abstracts for your thesis and publication. 

Introduction to abstracts

This section will introduce the abstract and outline their purpose and importance. 

reflection icon

Before you continue, reflect on your previous writing experiences and the feedback you have received. How would you rate your ability in the following skills? Rate your ability from ‘good’ to ‘needs development’. 

Reflect on your answers. Congratulations if you feel confident about your skills. You may find it helpful to review the materials on this page to confirm your knowledge and possibly learn more. Don't worry if you don't feel confident. Work through these materials to build your skills.   

An abstract gives an overview of your entire project and usually answers these questions: 

What is your research about? 

Why is it important? 

How did you do it? 

What did you find? 

Why are your findings important? 

An abstract is generally brief: about 150-300 words for a journal article and about 500 words for a thesis. Requirements will vary depending on the type of abstract, the journal, the institution or the discipline.  

In some disciplines, an abstract is divided into several short sections such as Background; Methodology; Findings; Implications. 

The abstract aims to: 

give readers a summary of a research study 

help readers decide whether the research is relevant before they read the full paper 

provide a roadmap for readers who wish to read the whole article or thesis.  

It therefore functions as a stand-alone mini text, a screening device and a preview (Huckin, 2001). 

The abstract is generally the first thing a reader will look at although the abstract is the last part of a dissertation to be written (Cooley & Lewkowicz, 2003, p. 112). 

study skills task icon

Explore the interactive image below to understand the many reasons why writing a good abstract is important. Click the (+) in the image for more information about each point. 

Planning an abstract

This section outlines the process of planning an abstract. This includes understanding different types of abstract, knowing when to start writing and a step-by-step process for writing an abstract. 

The type or style of an abstract depends on several considerations. For example,  they may be structured or unstructured depending on the discipline. More information can be found in Structuring an abstract.

Different types of abstracts are required depending on where you want to publish. These include thesis abstracts, research article abstracts, conference abstracts and so on. More information can be found in Different types of abstracts.   

To know when to write an abstract, it is necessary to understand the process of building an article. 

The sequence for writing an article is different to the sequence for reading it. When writing, you may:

  • produce your tables and figures which convey the results of your research and help you form an argument.
  • describe your methods and results and then discuss the results
  • write the conclusion and introduction and ensure they are consistent with each other
  • produce the abstract once the study is complete. 

Text for image: Tittle, Abstract, and Keywords; Conclusion, Introduction; Methods, Results, Discussion; Figures/ tables (your data)

A complete abstract that summarises the article, tells a coherent story, states the argument and reveals the most significant findings can only be written after all the steps in the writing process are complete. 

However, you should START drafting an abstract EARLY as the task is "the anchor and catalyst for the framing and reframing of writing goals (Liner et al, 2014, p. 223). You can draft a preliminary abstract of a paper as a way of beginning to think about the topic and as a device for organising your ideas. Throughout your research project, you are likely to modify the abstract because the abstract also serves as a diagnostic tool (Belcher, 2019). If you can't write some parts in your abstract, it may mean your research does not yet have a clear focus.  

This section introduces you to the structure of an abstract in a thesis and a journal article. It also provides you with different ways to organise the abstract.  In writing an abstract, it is important to be clear about these following points: 

  • Is it a conference abstract, a thesis abstract or a research article abstract?  

What is the word limit? 

  • Is it a structured or an unstructured abstract? 

A  good abstract should:  

summarise the article or thesis 

tell a story 

state the argument and a claim for the significance of that argument 

reveal the most valuable findings 

state the methods briefly 

use strong verbs, not vague ones 

include all the most relevant keywords.  

(Belcher, 2019, p. 83) 

To ensure your abstract includes the key components listed above, it is recommended that you follow these fives moves in this typical order:

Moves 1: Backgrounf/context/ problem    Question: why is the topic important? What was done? What was the outcome? What does it mean?   Moves 2: Present research/ purpose   Question: What is the study about?   Move 3: Methods/ materials/ subjects   Question: What was done?   Move 4: Results/ Findings   Question: What was the outcome?   Move 5: Discussion/ conclusions   Question: What does it mean?

Let's look at two examples 

Example 1:  

Publishing is crucial to every researcher and every article sent to a reputable scientific journal undergoes a rigorous editorial evaluation by expert peer reviewers. Linguists have investigated the peer review process but to the best of our knowledge, no studies have been conducted on peer review comments on medical articles written in English by Italian researchers. The present study aims to establish the most common types of comments made by peer reviewers and to identify the linguistic problems that Ita

The structure of an abstract varies. For example, not all abstracts include five moves and writing styles vary across disciplines. Of the moves, moves 2, 3 and 4 are usually considered essential.  

You should  analyse examples in your discipline and read the instructions for authors from your target journal carefully.  

Being concise

The most important language feature of abstracts is that they are concise. Every word in the abstract has been chosen because it is necessary and performs a function.  To learn more, visit the Academic Style in Writing page and do the practice tasks in Being concise.

Present and past tenses are mainly used in abstracts, as illustrated below. 

Moves 1: Backgrounf/context/ problem    Question: why is the topic important? What was done? What was the outcome? What does it mean?   Tense: present   Moves 2: Present research/ purpose   Question: What is the study about?   Tense: Present   Move 3: Methods/ materials/ subjects   Question: What was done?   Tense: Past   Move 4: Results/ Findings   Question: What was the outcome?   Tense: Past   Move 5: Discussion/ conclusions   Question: What does it mean?   Tense: Past

Look at this example:

Publishing is crucial to every researcher and every article sent to a reputable scientific journal undergoes a rigorous editorial evaluation by expert peer reviewers. Linguists have investigated the peer review process but to the best of our knowledge, no studies have been conducted on peer review comments on medical articles written in English by Italian researchers (Move 1). The present study aims to establish the most common types of comments made by peer reviewers and to identify the linguistic problems

Read this abstract and click on the correct verb choices.

Word choice:

Your abstract needs to be concise so choice of words is important. A good abstract needs to include key words and strong verbs. 

Text for the image:   Word choice in abstracts   Key words: Include all the most relevant key words, since many search engines search by abstract and tittle alone   Strong verbs: Use 'shows’ rather than ‘attempts to’ or 'tries to’    Use 'argues' or 'demonstrates' rather than 'examine'

Opening sentences to engage readers:

Writing the first sentence in an abstract can be challenging. Here are four basic types of opening sentences based on Swales and Feak (2009) that may help you.  

Being a text detective

To ensure you make appropriate language choices in your abstracts, pay close attention to the language used in published abstracts in your discipline. Think of yourself as a text detective. 

Learn more about this by visiting Academic Style in Writing and exploring the abstracts in Being a text detective .

Different types of abstracts

This section introduces you to the different types of abstract you may need to write.

The table below compares a thesis abstract and a research article abstract .

Thesis abstract and research article abstract   Similarities: Give a concise summary of the entire research study   Follows the five moves of (1) background, (2) purpose, (3) methods, (4) results, (5) discussion, conclusion and implications    Differences:    Thesis abstract   Purpose: education and advancement (establishing the credibility in and contributing to the field)   Audience: mainly educational committee (those who evaluate whether you are worthy of a degree)   Length: longer (over 500 words), dep

A conference abstract is normally a standalone abstract ranging from 100 to 500 words, depending on the conference. It is designed to help conference organisers decide whether they would like your paper to be presented at the conference and attendees decide whether they would like to attend your presentation. 

A conference abstract describes the topic you would like to present at the conference. It can report a complete study, a part of your study or a study that is in progress (a promissory abstract). 

Let's look at the examples below:

A conference abstract can report a complete study, a part of your study or a study in progress   A complete study   Recent calls for university administrators to advance interdisciplinary research and teaching have suggested that allocating campus space to such initiatives is key to their success. Yes questions remain concerning just what kinds of spaces are most conducive to this agenda. This article aims to shed light on this relationship by drawing on case studies of five interdisciplinary area studies c

It is very important that you read the conference instructions carefully. Here are points to consider when preparing to write a conference abstract. 

When is the submission date? How much time do you have to write the abstract?  

What is the acceptance rate of the conference? 

Is this a promissory abstract? ( a study in progress) 

What is the conference theme and sub-themes? 

A graphical abstract is a single, visual summary of the main findings of an article, allowing readers to easily identify the article's main message. It does not take the place of a written abstract but complements your written abstract.   

You can communicate your research in different ways through graphical abstracts:  

Flow diagrams use simple shapes such as shapes, arrows and crosses to describe the process.

Visual representations use models to bring a particular study into the context.

Graphs, charts and images can capture the main research findings. 

Let's look at some examples of graphical abstracts:

A video abstract introduces readers to your article and emphasises why they should read your work. The video focuses on  

  • What question(s) did you want to answer with your research?  
  • How did you go about it?  
  • What conclusions did you come to?  

Your video should make people want to know more.  Here are the top tips for making your video abstract engaging: 

Top tips for an engaging video   MAKE IT SHORT 2 mins 20 seconds or less   MAKE IT CONCISE   Answer these questions: What are your research questions? How did you go about it? What were your conclusions?   MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE   Use clear language, be succinct and make people want to know more    MAKE IT READABLE    If you use texts or images in your slides, make sure there is not too much, and audience can easily read them while listening to you talk    MAKE THE AUDIO CLEAR    MAKE YOUR TALK NATURAL

You can find examples of video abstracts on theTaylor and Francis academic publisher site  here .  

Highlights are the ‘elevator pitch’ of your article. They are the three to five bullet points that will help increase the discoverability of your article via search engines.  

They capture the novel results of your research as well as new methods that were used during the study (Elsevier, 2023). In other words, they communicate the core findings, convey the essence, and demonstrate the distinctiveness of your research. 

Each highlight usually does not exceed 85 characters, including spaces, so it should be very concise.  

When you know which journal you want to publish in, read articles from the journal as well as the instructions for authors to gain an understanding of whether highlights are required and how they are written.  

Below is an example of highlights. 

Text for the image    Improving interpretability of word embeddings by generating definition and usage   Haitong Zhang, Yongping Du, Jiazxin Sun and Qingxiao Li    Highlights   A model with gated mechanism is proposed for generating context-aware definitions   Scaled dot-product attention captures the interaction between contexts and words   ELMo embeddings are used to compensate for the drawbacks of word embeddings   Our definition model with multi-task learning achieves significant improvement       Usual

More information on highlights can be found on the Elsevier academic publishing page  here .  

Over to you: draft your abstract

Apply what you have learned to your own abstracts.

Use this template to plan and draft your abstract.  

The template will help you gain an overview of the five moves including the background, aim of your research, research method, main findings, discussion and conclusion. You can download it and save it as a Word document once you have finished. 

Use these three tips to improve your draft.

Read these comments made by abstract reviewers. Have you avoided these pitfalls in your own abstract?

Reviewer criticisms of abstracts   The author has written more than 400 words in the abstract. it's verbose and doesn't get to the point   The abstract is only understandable after the paper has been read. It should be understandable to a general Engineering –literate audience, not just to those few researchers within the author's very specific field   The abstract doesn't flow. It looks like the author just cut and paste sentences from the body of the paper   Nice idea but in general I think the abstract i

Reflect on your learning 

If you would like more support, visit the Language and Learning Advisors page. 

References  

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Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. & Tight, M. (2006). How to research. Open University Press 

Chang, HW., Kanegasaki., S, Jin, F., Deng, Y., You, Z., Chang, J., Kim, D. Y., Timilshina, M., Kim, J., Lee, Y. L., Toyama-Sorimachi, N., & Tsuchiya, T. (2020). A common signaling pathway leading to degranulation in mast cells and its regulation by CCR1-ligand. Allergy, 75, 1371– 1381. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14186  

Chiricozzi, A., Talamonti, M., De Simone, C., Galluzzo, M., Gori, N., Fabbrocini, G., Marzano, A.V., Girolomoni, G., Offidani, A., Rossi, M.T., Bianchi, L., Cristaudo, A., Fierro, M.T., Stingeni, L., Pellacani, G., Argenziano, G., Patrizi, A., Pigatto, P., Romanelli, M., Savoia, P., Rubegni, P., Foti, C., Milanesi, N., Belloni Fortina, A., Bongiorno, M.R., Grieco, T., Di Nuzzo, S., Fargnoli, M.C., Carugno, A., Motolese, A., Rongioletti, F., Amerio, P., Balestri, R., Potenza, C., Micali, G., Patruno, C., Zalaudek, I., Lombardo, M., Feliciani, C., Di Nardo, L., Guarneri, F., Peris, K. (2021). Management of patients with atopic dermatitis undergoing systemic therapy during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy: Data from the DA-COVID-19 registry. Allergy, 76, 1813-1824. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14767  

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How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries? pp 179–184 Cite as

How to Write an Abstract?

  • Samiran Nundy 4 ,
  • Atul Kakar 5 &
  • Zulfiqar A. Bhutta 6  
  • Open Access
  • First Online: 24 October 2021

52k Accesses

5 Altmetric

An abstract is a crisp, short, powerful, and self-contained summary of a research manuscript used to help the reader swiftly determine the paper’s purpose. Although the abstract is the first paragraph of the manuscript it should be written last when all the other sections have been addressed.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. — Zora Neale Hurston, American Author, Anthropologist and Filmmaker (1891–1960)

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1 What is an Abstract?

An abstract is usually a standalone document that informs the reader about the details of the manuscript to follow. It is like a trailer to a movie, if the trailer is good, it stimulates the audience to watch the movie. The abstract should be written from scratch and not ‘cut –and-pasted’ [ 1 ].

2 What is the History of the Abstract?

An abstract, in the form of a single paragraph, was first published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1960 with the idea that the readers may not have enough time to go through the whole paper, and the first abstract with a defined structure was published in 1991 [ 2 ]. The idea sold and now most original articles and reviews are required to have a structured abstract. The abstract attracts the reader to read the full manuscript [ 3 ].

3 What are the Qualities of a Good Abstract?

The quality of information in an abstract can be summarized by four ‘C’s. It should be:

C: Condensed

C: Critical

4 What are the Types of Abstract?

Before writing the abstract, you need to check with the journal website about which type of abstract it requires, with its length and style in the ‘Instructions to Authors’ section.

The abstract types can be divided into:

Descriptive: Usually written for psychology, social science, and humanities papers. It is about 50–100 words long. No conclusions can be drawn from this abstract as it describes the major points in the paper.

Informative: The majority of abstracts for science-related manuscripts are informative and are surrogates for the research done. They are single paragraphs that provide the reader an overview of the research paper and are about 100–150 words in length. Conclusions can be drawn from the abstracts and in the recommendations written in the last line.

Critical: This type of abstract is lengthy and about 400–500 words. In this, the authors’ own research is discussed for reliability, judgement, and validation. A comparison is also made with similar studies done earlier.

Highlighting: This is rarely used in scientific writing. The style of the abstract is to attract more readers. It is not a balanced or complete overview of the article with which it is published.

Structured: A structured abstract contains information under subheadings like background, aims, material and methods, results, conclusion, and recommendations (Fig. 15.1 ). Most leading journals now carry these.

figure 1

Example of a structured abstract (with permission editor CMRP)

5 What is the Purpose of an Abstract?

An abstract is written to educate the reader about the study that follows and provide an overview of the science behind it. If written well it also attracts more readers to the article. It also helps the article getting indexed. The fate of a paper both before and after publication often depends upon its abstract. Most readers decide if a paper is worth reading on the basis of the abstract. Additionally, the selection of papers in systematic reviews is often dependent upon the abstract.

6 What are the Steps of Writing an Abstract?

An abstract should be written last after all the other sections of an article have been addressed. A poor abstract may turn off the reader and they may cause indexing errors as well. The abstract should state the purpose of the study, the methodology used, and summarize the results and important conclusions. It is usually written in the IMRAD format and is called a structured abstract [ 4 , 5 ].

I: The introduction in the opening line should state the problem you are addressing.

M: Methodology—what method was chosen to finish the experiment?

R: Results—state the important findings of your study.

D: Discussion—discuss why your study is important.

Mention the following information:

Important results with the statistical information ( p values, confidence intervals, standard/mean deviation).

Arrange all information in a chronological order.

Do not repeat any information.

The last line should state the recommendations from your study.

The abstract should be written in the past tense.

7 What are the Things to Be Avoided While Writing an Abstract?

Cut and paste information from the main text

Hold back important information

Use abbreviations

Tables or Figures

Generalized statements

Arguments about the study

figure a

8 What are Key Words?

These are important words that are repeated throughout the manuscript and which help in the indexing of a paper. Depending upon the journal 3–10 key words may be required which are indexed with the help of MESH (Medical Subject Heading).

9 How is an Abstract Written for a Conference Different from a Journal Paper?

The basic concept for writing abstracts is the same. However, in a conference abstract occasionally a table or figure is allowed. A word limit is important in both of them. Many of the abstracts which are presented in conferences are never published in fact one study found that only 27% of the abstracts presented in conferences were published in the next five years [ 6 ].

Table 15.1 gives a template for writing an abstract.

10 What are the Important Recommendations of the International Committees of Medical Journal of Editors?

The recommendations are [ 7 ]:

An abstract is required for original articles, metanalysis, and systematic reviews.

A structured abstract is preferred.

The abstract should mention the purpose of the scientific study, how the procedure was carried out, the analysis used, and principal conclusion.

Clinical trials should be reported according to the CONSORT guidelines.

The trials should also mention the funding and the trial number.

The abstract should be accurate as many readers have access only to the abstract.

11 Conclusions

An Abstract should be written last after all the other sections of the manuscript have been completed and with due care and attention to the details.

It should be structured and written in the IMRAD format.

For many readers, the abstract attracts them to go through the complete content of the article.

The abstract is usually followed by key words that help to index the paper.

Andrade C. How to write a good abstract for a scientific paper or conference presentation? Indian J Psychiatry. 2011;53:172–5.

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Preparing a manuscript for submission to a medical journal. Available on http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/manuscript-preparation/preparing-for-submission.html . Accessed 10 May 2020.

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Samiran Nundy

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Institute for Global Health and Development, The Aga Khan University, South Central Asia, East Africa and United Kingdom, Karachi, Pakistan

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Nundy, S., Kakar, A., Bhutta, Z.A. (2022). How to Write an Abstract?. In: How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries?. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5248-6_15

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Tips for Writing Conference Paper Abstracts

So you want to answer the Call for Papers? This is a general guide for crafting stand-out conference paper abstracts. It includes recommendations for the content and presentation of the abstract, as well as examples of the best abstracts submitted to the 2012-2013 abstract selection committee for the ninth annual North Carolina State University graduate student history conference.

Typically, an abstract describes the topic you would like to present at the conference, highlighting your argument, evidence and contribution to the historical literature. It is usually restricted to 250-500 words. The word limit can be challenging: some graduate students do not fret over the short limit and hastily write and submit an abstract at the last minute, which often hurts their chances of being accepted; other students try to condense the Next Great American Novel into 250 words, which can be equally damning. Graduate students who approach the abstract early, plan accordingly, and carefully edit are the ones most often invited to present their research. For those who are intimidated by the project, don’t be – the abstract is a fairly standardized form of writing. Follow the basic guidelines below and avoid common pitfalls and you will greatly improve your abstract.

Diligently follow all abstract style and formatting guidelines. Most CFPs will specify page or word length, and perhaps some layout or style guidelines. Some CFPs, however, will list very specific restrictions, including font, font size, spacing, text justification, margins, how to present quotes, how to present authors and works, whether to include footnotes or not. Make sure that you strictly adhere to all guidelines, including submission instructions. If a CFP does not provide abstract style and formatting guidelines, it is generally appropriate to stay around 250 words – abstract committees read a lot of these things and do not look fondly on comparatively long abstracts. Make sure that you orient your abstract topic to address any specific CFP themes, time periods, methods, and/or buzzwords.

With a 250-500 word limit, write only what is necessary, avoiding wordiness. Use active voice and pay attention to excessive prepositional phrasing.

Plan your abstract carefully before writing it. A good abstract will address the following questions:  What is the historical question or problem? Contextualize your topic. What is your thesis/argument? It should be original. What is your evidence? State forthrightly that you are using primary source material. How does your paper fit into the historiography? What's going on in the field of study and how does your paper contribute to it? Why does it matter? We know the topic is important to you, why should it be important to the abstract selection committee?

You should be as specific as possible, avoiding overly broad or overreaching statements and claims. And that’s it: don’t get sidetracked by writing too much narrative or over explaining. Say what you need to say and nothing more.

Keep your audience in mind. How much background you give on a topic will depend on the conference. Is the conference a general humanities conference, a general graduate student history conference, or something more specific like a 1960s social revolutions conference? Your pitch should be suited to the specificity of the conference: the more specific the topic, the less broad background you need to give and vice versa.

Revise and edit your abstract to ensure that its final presentation is error free. The editing phase is also the best time to see your abstract as a whole and chip away at unnecessary words or phrases. The final draft should be linear and clear and it should read smoothly. If you are tripping over something while reading, the abstract selection committee will as well. Ask another graduate student to read your abstract to ensure its clarity or attend a Graduate Student Writing Group meeting.

Your language should be professional and your style should adhere to academic standards. Contractions may be appealing because of the word limits, but they should be avoided. If citation guidelines are not specifically given, it is appropriate to use the author’s name and title of work (in either italics or quotation marks) within the text rather than use footnotes or in-text citations.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Misusing questions.

While one question, if really good, may be posed in your abstract, you should avoid writing more than one (maybe two, if really really good). If you do pose a question or two, make sure that you either answer it or address why the question matters to your conference paper – unless you are posing an obvious rhetorical question, you should never just let a question hang there. Too many questions takes up too much space and leaves less room for you to develop your argument, methods, evidence, historiography, etc. Often times, posing too many questions leaves the abstract committee wondering if you are going to address one or all in your paper and if you even know the answers to them. Remember, you are not expected to have already written your conference paper, but you are expected to have done enough research that you are prepared to write about a specific topic that you can adequately cover in 15-20 minutes. Prove that you have done so.

Extraneous Jargon and Over-the-Top Phrasing

Language that helps you be as specific as possible in presenting your argument is great but don’t get your readers bogged down in jargon. They will be reading a lot of abstracts and will not want to wade through the unnecessary language. Keep it simple.

Repetition of Claims

When students repeat claims, they often don’t realize they are doing so. Sometimes this happens because students are not yet clear on their argument. Think about it some more and then write. Other times, students write carelessly and do not proofread. Make sure each sentence is unique and that it contributes to the flow of your abstract.

Writing too Broadly about a Topic

The abstract committee does not need to be reminded of the grand sweep of history in order to contextualize your topic. Place your topic specifically within the historiography.

The samples below represent the five highest scoring samples submitted to the selection committee for the ninth annual graduate student history conference, 2012-2013. Two of the samples below were subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History . Outstanding papers presented at the graduate student history conference are recommended for publication by panel commentators. Papers go through a peer review process before publication.

Sample 1: “Asserting Rights, Reclaiming Space: District of Marshpee v. Phineas Fish, 1833-1843”

From May of 1833 to March of 1834, the Mashpee Wampancag tribe of Cape Cod Massachusetts waged an aggressive campaign to gain political and religious autonomy from the state. In March of 1834, the Massachusetts legislature passed an act disbanding the white guardians appointed to conduct affairs for the Mashpee tribe and incorporated Mashpee as an Indian district. The Mashpee tribe's fight to restore self-government and control over land and resources represents a significant "recover of Native space." Equally significant is what happened once that space was recovered.

The topic of this paper addresses an understudied and essential period in the history of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Despite a growing body of literature on the Mashpee, scholars largely neglect the period between 1834 and 1869. This paper looks as the Mashpee tribe's campaign to dismiss Harvard appointed minister Phineas Fish; the fight to regain the parsonage he occupied, its resources, and the community meetinghouse. This paper will argue the tribe asserted its power within the political and physical landscape to reclaim their meetinghouse and the parsonage land. Ultimately, this assertion contributed to shaping, strengthening, and remaking Mashpee community identity. This study examines legislative reports, petitions, letters, and legal documents to construct a narrative of Native agency in the antebellum period. [Note: This is part of my larger thesis project (in progress0 "Mashpee Wampanoag Government Formation and the Evolving Community Identity in the District of Marshpee, 1834-1849."]

Note: This paper, entitled " Testing Rights in Contested Space: The District of Marshpee versus Reverend Phineas Fish, 1833-1839 " was subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History .

Sample 2: “Private Paths to Public Places: Local Actors and the Creation of National Parklands in the American South”

This paper explores the connections between private individuals, government entities, and non-governmental organizations in the creation of parklands throughout the American South. While current historiography primarily credits the federal government with the creation of parks and protection of natural wonders, an investigation of parklands in the Southern United States reveals a reoccurring connection between private initiative and park creation. Secondary literature occasionally reflects the importance of local and non-government sources for the preservation of land, yet these works still emphasize the importance of a national bureaucracy setting the tone fore the parks movement. Some works, including Jacoby's Crimes Against Nature examine local actors, but focus on opposition to the imposition of new rules governing land in the face of some outside threat. In spite of scholarly recognition of non-government agencies and local initiative, the importance of local individuals in the creation of parklands remains and understudies aspect of American environmental history. Several examples in the American South raise concerns about the traditional narrative pitting governmental hegemony against local resistance. This paper argues for widespread, sustained interest in both nature preservation and in creating spaces for public recreation at the local level, and finds that the "private path to public parks" merits further investigation.

Note: This paper, entitled " Private Paths to Public Parks in the American South " was subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History .

Sample 3: Untitled

Previous generations of English Historians have produced a rich literature about the Levellers and their role in the English Civil Wars (1642-1649), primarily focused on the Putney Debates and their contributions to Anglophone legal and political thought. Typically, their push to extend the franchise and espousal of a theory of popular sovereignty has been central to accounts of Civil War radicalism. Other revisionist accounts depict them as a fragmented sect of millenarian radicals whose religious bent marginalized and possibility that they could make lasting contributions to English politics or society. This paper seeks to locate a Leveller theory of religious toleration, while explaining how their conception of political activity overlapped their religious ideas. Rather than focusing on John Lilburne, often taken as the public face of the Leveller movement, this paper will focus on the equally interesting and far more consistent thinker, William Walwyn. Surveying his personal background, published writings, popular involvement in the Leveller movement, and attacks launched by his critics, I hope to suggest that Walwyn's unique contribution to Anglophone political thought was his defense of religious pluralism in the face of violent sectarians who sought to wield control of the Church of England. Although the Levellers were ultimately suppressed, Walwyn's commitment to a tolerant society and a secular state should not be minimized but rather recognized as part of a larger debate about Church-State relations across early modern Europe. Ultimately this paper aims to contribute to the rich historiography of religious toleration and popular politics more broadly.

Sample 4: “Establishing a National Memory of Citizen Slaughter: A Case Study of the First Memory Site to Mass Murder in United States History - Edmond, Oklahoma, 1986-1989”

Since 1989, memory sites to events of mass murder have not only proliferated rapidly--they have become the normative expectation within American society. For the vast majority of American history, however, events commonly labeled as "mass murder" have resulted in no permanent memory sites and the sites of perpetration themselves have traditionally been either obliterated or rectified so that both the community and the nation could forget the tragedy and move on. This all changed on May 29, 1989 when the community of Edmond, Oklahoma officially dedicated the "Golden Ribbon" memorial to the thirteen people killed in the infamous "post office shooting" of 1986. In this paper I investigate the case of Edmond in order to understand why it became the first memory site of this kind in United States history. I argue that the small town of Edmond's unique political abnormalities on the day of the shooting, coupled with the near total community involvement established ideal conditions for the emergence of this unique type of memory site. I also conduct a historiography of the usage of "the ribbon" in order to illustrate how it has become the symbol of memories of violence and death in American society in the late 20th century. Lastly, I illustrate how the notable lack of communication between people involved in the Edmond and Oklahoma City cases after the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing--despite the close geographic and temporal proximity of these cases--illustrates this routinely isolated nature of commemorating mass murder and starkly renders the surprising number of aesthetic similarities that these memory sites share.

Sample 5: “Roman Urns and Sarcophagi: The Quest for Postmortem Identity during the Pax Romana”

"If you want to know who I am, the answer is ash and burnt embers;" thus read an anonymous early Roman's burial inscription. The Romans dealt with death in a variety of ways which incorporated a range of cultural conventions and beliefs--or non-beliefs as in the case of the "ash and embers." By the turn of the first century of this era, the Romans practiced cremation almost exclusively--as the laconic eloquence of the anonymous Roman also succinctly explained. Cremation vanished by the third century, replaced by the practice of the distant past by the fifth century. Burial first began to take hold in the western Roman Empire during the early second century, with the appearance of finely-crafted sarcophagi, but elites from the Roman world did not discuss the practices of cremation and burial in detail. Therefore archaeological evidence, primarily in form of burial vessels such as urns and sarcophagi represented the only place to turn to investigate the transitional to inhumation in the Roman world. This paper analyzed a small corpus of such vessels in order to identify symbolic elements which demarcate individual identities in death, comparing the patterns of these symbols to the fragments of text available relating to death in the Roman world. The analysis concluded that the transition to inhumantion was a movement caused by an increased desire on the part of Romans to preserve identity in death during and following the Pax Romana.

Selection of Papers

In general, the program committee evaluates the abstracts on the following basis:

  • Intervention in the Historiography: Does the abstract ask new historical questions? Does the proposal provide new insights on familiar topics?
  • Clarity of Presentation: Does the abstract clearly define the topic, scope, and methodologies?
  • Argument: Does the abstract clearly lay out the historical argument?
  • Style: Is the abstract free of grammatical errors, major spelling mistakes, or other problems that suggest the presenter may not be prepared to deliver a polished paper?

While the co-president of the HGSA organizes and facilitates the abstract selection committee each year and may change the selection process and methods, this rubric still represents a general guide for what a committee looks for when selecting conference participants. Selection is not a science, however: great abstracts are often not accepted because of panel design. It is unlikely, however, that poor abstracts will be selected to fill out panels.

Additional Resources

  • Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books
  • Guidelines for Writing Effective Abstracts for Conference Paper Presentations
  • How to Write a Paper or Conference Proposal Abstract

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Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)

Posted in: abstract , dissertations

abstract 500 words

The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. It should provide a clear and succinct summary of your study, and encourage your readers to read more. An effective abstract, therefore should answer the following questions:

  • Why did you do this study or project?
  • What did you do and how?
  • What did you find?
  • What do your findings mean?

So here's our run down of the key elements of a well-written abstract.

  • Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words.
  • Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).
  • Purpose  - The abstract should also set out the purpose of your research, in other words, what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine (or what the paper seeks to present).
  • Methods - The methods section should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. It should include brief details of the research design, sample size, duration of study, and so on.
  • Results - The results section is the most important part of the abstract. This is because readers who skim an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.
  • Conclusion - This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcomes of the study. However, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:
  • The primary take-home message
  • Any additional findings of importance
  • Implications for future studies 

abstract 1

Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone.

bone

Abstract from: Dalstra, M., Huiskes, R. and Van Erning, L., 1995. Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 117(3), pp.272-278.

And finally...  A word on abstract types and styles

Abstract types can differ according to subject discipline. You need to determine therefore which type of abstract you should include with your paper. Here are two of the most common types with examples.

Informative Abstract

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgements about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarised. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.

(Adapted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/ )

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Navigating the dissertation process: my tips for final years

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  • How to write an abstract

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Learn how to write research abstracts and format them correctly.

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Abstracts give your reader a preview

3 tips for writing great abstracts

How to write an abstract in 4 simple steps

Maximize the professionalism of your research paper

3 FAQs about abstracts

What is an abstract?

  • An abstract serves as a summary of your research paper or thesis, giving your reader insight into what the paper is going to be about.
  • It has a simple goal: Tell the reader whether or not the paper will be useful for them.
  • Learning to write one well is an important step to getting your reader hooked on your project.

Abstracts give your reader a preview.

Whether you’re studying the humanities, social sciences, or any other field, an abstract introduces your audience to your research paper. Often a research paper or journal article is written for a specialized audience that’s educated about the topic. The abstract needs to be explicit about what the paper contains, so a reader can know if it’s what they’re looking for.

3 tips for writing great abstracts.

While an abstract is placed at the beginning of your paper to summarize everything that follows, you should only write it after your paper is complete.

1. To start an abstract, first read through your completed paper.

2. Identify the key elements a reader needs to understand before committing to reading the full paper.

3. Think of a compelling hook to grab the reader at the beginning of your abstract.

And if you’re ready to go, here are the steps to creating a clear, concise, and cogent abstract.

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How to write an abstract in 4 simple steps.

Abstracts can be broken up into several parts, which is surprising considering that they’re relatively short compared to the rest of what you’re writing. Make sure to hit all the important points so people will be more likely to read your full paper. Your word limit depends on where your abstract will be published, but as a general rule, it should usually run 250 to 500 words. Check with your publication, professor, or advisor for clear length guidelines, and bear in mind that you may only have a few short sentences to explain each of the sections below.

1. Describe the background, question, and goals.

These three pieces of information form the backbone of your research project. In four to five sentences, give the background for your research, state the question you’re trying to answer with that research, and then define the goal of your study. Here’s an example:

Everyone has had the experience of getting caught in the rain. But why does it rain? My intuition is that by analyzing barometer data, I will be able to determine the likelihood that it will rain on any given day.

This simple example makes it easy to see the critical details: There’s background (rain), a question (why?), and a goal (figuring out the likelihood of rain).

2. Define your methodology.

Methods come next — this is where you detail in brief the research methods. In the example above, the person writing the paper is going to use a barometer to try and predict the likelihood of rain. Go into additional detail about exactly how you intend to use your methodology to collect data.

3. Summarize your findings.

Write out your main findings in your abstract in one to two sentences. This part is simple: Summarize what you found with your research project. In the rain example, you simply say if there was any correlation between the occurrence of rain and the barometric pressure.

4. Explain the significance.

This section is where you tell your audience why your research matters . This is the moneymaker, where you illustrate why your findings are important and why people should read your full paper. An example of significance might be:

We can measure the likelihood of rainfall based on barometric pressure.

Now you have all the tools you need to write an abstract for your research paper. Read on to learn how to make your hard work look as professional as possible.

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Maximize the professionalism of your research paper.

Clean and professional-looking documents lend credibility to your abstract and research paper and help you put your best foot forward.

Preserve formatting.

In addition to a well-written abstract, a well-formatted document encourages people to read it. Make sure to submit a document that prints cleanly and works on any platform so your research isn’t warped or distorted by poor formatting. Remove any gaps, get rid of extra spaces, and extract unwanted pages to keep your document length reasonable.

Add charts and imagery.

Sometimes you need to include charts, imagery, and other visual elements in a research paper, and you want that information to look good. With tools like Acrobat Pro, you can add whatever elements you need and be sure they’ll show up for the reader exactly how you want. Plus, you can add a page to a PDF quickly, so it’s no trouble to add anything new right where you want it.

Compress and share.

Finally, use the Compress PDF tool to shrink the file size of image-heavy papers so you can more easily download and share them. Your professors or collaborators can also add comments and annotations , without accidentally affecting the layout of your document.

3 FAQs about abstracts.

What’s the purpose of an abstract, what is something to avoid in an abstract, what’s a literature review and how does it differ from an abstract, keep exploring.

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abstract 500 words

Sample Abstracts

Below are links to some sample abstracts that I've written for past conference presentations. These examples are about 500 words in length and fit on one page, single-spaced. They all follow a similar format: the introductory paragraph generally introduces the topic and may include the thesis claim of the paper; a second (and sometimes a third) paragraph outlines the trajectory of the argument, naming examples or texts which will be discussed; and a final paragraph offers provisional conclusions and contains the thesis if it was not presented in the introductory paragraph. (Also note that each is tailored to the topic or theme of the panel or conference -- not a concern for your assignment, but one that you should keep in mind when submitting abstracts for consideration for presentation.)

"Sex, Books, and Patriarchy: Modernism on Trial in Byatt's Babel Tower "

Karin E. Westman, College of Charleston

As the third installment in her projected tetralogy about British culture at mid-century, A.S. Byatt's Babel Towe r (1996) investigates the opposing forces of individual freedom and institutional control during the 1960s, beginning with the written word. The struggle of Byatt's heroine, Frederica, to tell her story to the divorce court runs in counterpoint to the prosecution of the novel's inter-narrative, Babbletower: A Tale for Children of Our Time , under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. If this latter "Tale," a dystopian satire heavily influenced by the Marquis de Sade, warns the reader against the excesses of individual desire, Frederica's "fairy tale," as she calls it, warns the reader of the excesses of patriarchy lurking within the so-called freedom of the 1960s. Provided with alternating scenes of Frederica's marriage and the utopian experiment of La Tour Bruyarde during the first half of the novel, Byatt's readers are in a position to judge the failings of both experiments as well as sympathize with their goals. However, any debate over the abstract ideas of freedom and control in Frederica's tale quickly disappear: we discover that Frederica is trapped within a cultural narrative of marriage which she thought to be her liberation.

Byatt's use of metafiction to tell Frederica's story encourages us to question, along with Frederica, the "masculine" Modernist narratives of Lawrence and Forster, and to value in their place a feminist strategy built around story-telling and multiple narratives. While teaching Lawrence and Forster for an extra mural class as she prepares for her trial, the bookish Frederica discovers that their narratives should be tried and convicted. The divine "Oneness" which both authors claim for personal relationships has not liberated Frederica's body from the pressure of culturally freighted words, as their novels suggested; rather, the myth that one can "only connect" ultimately diminished the multiplicity of her self, body and mind. Telling her own fractured fairy tale for the courts and experimenting in private with avant-garde decoupage, Frederica realizes she could "accept the fragments, layers, tesserae of mosaic, particles," "[t]hings juxtaposed but divided" (315), rather than feeling the need to cede authorial control to a central narrative voice, a patriarchal grammar.

By emphasizing the telling of tales and how language matters in political and personal ways, the narrative structure of Babel Tower (1996) suggests that A. S. Byatt has more in common with her experimental contemporaries Jeannette Winterson and Angela Carter than her oft-cited alligence to George Eliot's nineteenth-century realism would indicate. Purposefully and productively postmodern, Byatt presents multiple narratives to her readers in Babel Tower, with an ear towards the politics of narration and the teller of the tale. Never relinquishing complete narrative authority, Byatt nonetheless encourages her readers to question the stories she presents, juxtaposed as they are one against the other. The novel's intertwining tales leave the reader considering the relationship between its many stories, and wondering how we can revise the existing cultural narrative of history.

"'History in Live Performance': Revising History's Script in Roy's The God of Small Things "

Karin E. Westman, College of Charleston

While reviewers such as Alex Clark of The Guardian feel "Roy's big theme is inexorability, and how individuals often unwittingly contribute to the relentless progress of events which comes later to seem as their fate," my paper will argue that Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (1997) emphasizes the performance of those events to illustrate the possibility of challenging, if not immediately changing, the course of History. Roy's novel does invest "History" with the power to shape characters' lives, but through metaphor, allegory, and non-linear narrative form, her novel encourages readers to see "History" as a script written by those in power for others to enact. Through this very construction comes a possibility for change.

Chako's metaphor for India's post-colonial history -- "history was like an old house at night," "the ancestors whispering inside," but from "which we have been locked out" by the Anglo enemy (51-2) -- has a literal referent for the seven-year old twins, Rahel and Estha: they think of the History House across the river, once owned by "Ayemenem's own Kurtz" (51), its beauty now fallen into disrepair. This History House is the stage from which their divorced mother Ammu and the Untouchable family servant Velutha challenge the Love Laws, but their brief attempt to re-script India's caste system fails. The History House in turn becomes the stage from which the young Rahel and Estha watch the police, "history's henchmen," "collect the dues from those who broke [History's] laws" (293) through their violent, ultimately fatal, beating of Velutha.

The tragic result of Ammu and Velutha's challenge to the Love Laws would seem to insist not only upon a determining link between private acts and public histories, but to identify their attempt to usurp the authoritative script as quixotic. But if the events at the History House represent "human history masquerading as God's Purpose" -- "History in live performance" (293) -- then Roy's narrative insists upon the human authors of that script: the twins' aunt, Baby Kochmama, with the help of a willing police department. The "inexorable" force of History exists, but it is not absolute, and its power comes from the power of narrative, not fate. And it is not where Roy ends her story: on the last page, we read not of their impending deaths, but of Ammu and Velutha imagining their next meeting, "tomorrow."

"Keeping It Local, Keeping It Real: Global Capitalism, American Culture,

and British Identity in Zadie Smith's White Teeth "

Karin E. Westman, Kansas State University

My paper will explore the intersection of global marketing and Smith's study of British culture in her novel White Teeth (2000). While the novel's mimetic representation of a multi-ethnic London at the turn of the 21st century might at first glance encourage its free circulation in the global market place, Smith tethers her characters to a particularly British past and present. Smith's continual re-insertion of the novel into a British context further emphasizes the novel's connection to a national, rather than international, identity. Keeping it local -- in Cricklewood, in Willisden, in London -- allows Smith to keep it real.

Smith and her novel have received a warm welcome inside and outside her home country, fulfilling the promise her editor, Simon Prosser of Hamish Hamiliton (part of Penguin UK), was banking on: "What we saw was this work that appealed to anyone, regardless of age, gender or political position" (Russo), Prosser explains, when asked about Penguin's willingness to purchase the rights to Smith's first book for an unheard of sum. That the prestigious Andrew Wylie agency signed Smith to their ranks alongside Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie signaled to the literary press at home and abroad that Smith would be an international star. Going global, however, demanded losing some of the complexities of British life for which the novel's narrative is often praised: while UK dust jackets featured a rich mosaic of pink, turquoise, and gold textures reminiscent of a sari, the United States and other countries received a pure white dust jacket for the mosaic within. To be a British woman writer marketed abroad also cast Smith alongside "the infamous British 'lad lit' of Martin Amis, Irvine Welsh, Will Self, Nick Hornby et al" (O'Grady), a rare woman -- and a Black British woman at that -- amidst this white male club. In America, in order separate her work from the successful British export Helen Fielding, Smith took pains to pre-empt inevitable comparisons between her work and the "chick-lit" ("Face to Face") of the best-selling Bridget Jones's Diary , a genre for which Smith has little regard (O'Grady). When approached by Hollywood execs for the film rights to her novel, Smith declined their lucrative offers, granting permission for a miniseries to the BBC and the Independent Company Television instead: she believes these British organizations will retain "the integrity of her work" ("Willisden to Whitbread"). Smith's resistance to the pressures of the international marketplace suggests that the novel's and the author's global circulation, particularly in America, undermines their artistic aims rather than advancing them.

The narrative of White Teeth itself already resists this degree of circulation within the global marketplace. If the genealogies of people, places, and things in Smith's novel reveal a multi-ethnic legacy transmuted into a vibrant and often contentious present, it is the British past and present which Smith emphasizes in her novel. The novel raises the spectres of Britain's colonial and imperial past upon the world of her characters but does so to link those spectres to their current lives as Britons. The narrative's relationship to American culture, while more complicated, still accentuates a British experience and incorporation of America into British culture. The Britishness of the narrative stands out to the British reader: a Guardian reviewer declares White Teeth to be "perhaps the best novel ... we have ever read ... about contemporary London" (qtd in "Willesden to Whitbread"), while a West Indian Muslim who lives in London, NW10 posted to Amazon.co.uk that he sees the novel as "a window into the life of the community where I have made my home." Smith's emphasis on multiculturalism, then, serves to emphasize the novel's investigation into contemporary British identity -- a focus that even the American dust-jacket cannot white-wash away.

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Writing an Abstract

Writing an abstract is a skill like any other.  

Abstracts are short summaries of your research and, although the format may vary slightly depending on where they are being submitted, there are standard guidelines about what should be in an abstract. The purpose of an abstract is to provide readers a brief summary of your study so that they may determine if they want to learn more about the research. An abstract should use proper terminology but should also be geared toward a reader who may have only a cursory familiarity with the research area.

General Guidelines

  • Omit all researcher names and affiliations from the body of the abstract.
  • Avoid the use of new technical words, laboratory slang, words not defined in dictionaries or abbreviations and terminology not consistent with internationally accepted guidelines. If you do use abbreviations define them in body of the abstract the first time they are used .
  • Eliminate jargon. Showing off your technical vocabulary will not demonstrate your research’s value. If you can’t avoid using a technical term, add a nontechnical synonym to help nonspecialists infer the term’s meaning.
  • Brevity is the goal. Most abstracts have a word limit of around 250 to 300 words. Omit needless words, redundant modifiers, over-the-top diction, and excessive detail.
  • An abstract should have the same structure a research article: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions . Depending on the required format you may be required to use these or similar headings within the body of the abstract but even if you do not use these headings the structure of the abstract should implicitly follow this format.
  • Eliminate expressions such as “It is my opinion that,” “I have concluded,” “The main point supporting my view concerns” or “Certainly, there is little doubt as to.” Focus readers’ attention solely the findings, not on opinion.
  • Examine other abstracts for examples of successful abstracts .  If you are submitting to a journal, look at the abstracts for papers recently published in that journal. If you are submitting to a conference, look at abstracts printed in past years’ meeting programs.
  • Before submitting your abstract have a colleague who has limited knowledge of your research area read and comment on it to determine how understandable it is. Remember you will often know more about your research area than those who review your work so having someone with a similar knowledge base to the potential reviewers will help determine how well you have written the abstract.
  • Remember an abstract is you telling a short story about your research.

Things To Ask Yourself When You Are Writing An Abstract

  • Have I stated why my research is important to a larger problem?
  • Have I stated the specific aims of my research project?
  • Have I indicated the most important hypothesis(es)?
  • Have I identified the type of study I conducted (experimental, clinical trial, non-experimental, survey, case study, etc).
  • Have I clearly and precisely identified the sample being studied? Be specific. For example if you are studying veterans over 60 who are cardiology patients, state that rather than just stating cardiology patients. 
  • Have I clearly identified the variables being examined? State explicitly what your independent and dependent variables are. Use general terms when possible and more specific terms when necessary.  
  • Have I stated the most important finding clearly and in a way that someone without deep technical knowledge of the field can understand? 
  • Do the results reflect what I actually did in terms of statistical analyses?   Be prudent in reporting statistical findings. You may provide statistics but don’t rely on them to completely tell the story of the findings. You also need to communicate the inferences from your statistical findings. If you conducted correlations or regressions do you describe the relationships between variables? If you examined naturally occurring groups or treatment groups (t-test, ANOVA), do you frame the results around how the groups were different on your dependent measure(s)?
  • Are the findings reported directly related the hypothesis stated earlier? Are the findings consisted or inconsistent with prediction of the hypothesis?
  • Are my conclusions simply a restating of the results?   Conclusions should not just be a restating of the results. The conclusions should be about the implications of the results and should refer back to the purpose of the study stated earlier in the abstract. 

English Study Online

Abstract Nouns: List of 165 Important Abstract Nouns from A to Z

By: Author English Study Online

Posted on Last updated: November 3, 2023

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If you’re learning English, you’ve probably come across these tricky little words before. In this article, we’ll be exploring what abstract nouns are, how to use them, and why they’re important in the English language. We’ll be providing examples of abstract nouns and explaining how they differ from concrete nouns. We’ll also be discussing how to recognize abstract nouns in a sentence and how to use them correctly in your writing.

Table of Contents

Abstract Noun Definition

Abstract nouns are intangible concepts or ideas that cannot be experienced with the five senses. They represent things like emotions , ideas, qualities , and states of being . Unlike concrete nouns that refer to physical objects or things that can be perceived by the senses, abstract nouns cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted.

Examples of abstract nouns include love, peace, hope, freedom, happiness, courage, and honesty . These nouns represent concepts that cannot be measured or quantified, but they are essential to human experience and communication. For example, we use abstract nouns like love to express a deep emotional connection to someone or something.

One way to identify abstract nouns is to think about whether you can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste the thing being described. If you cannot, it is likely an abstract noun. For example, the word “ beauty” is an abstract noun because it is a concept that cannot be seen or touched.

It is important to note that abstract nouns can be difficult to define precisely because they represent intangible concepts. However, they are essential to effective communication and can add depth and nuance to our language. By understanding abstract nouns, we can better express ourselves and connect with others on a deeper level.

Abstract Nouns List

Abstract Nouns

Types of Abstract Nouns

As we mentioned earlier, abstract nouns are intangible ideas that cannot be perceived with the five senses. In this section, we will explore some of the different types of abstract nouns.

Emotions are one of the most common types of abstract nouns. They refer to feelings that we experience, such as love, anger, sadness, and happiness . These emotions cannot be seen or touched, but they can be felt and expressed through language and behavior.

Ideas are another type of abstract noun. They refer to concepts and thoughts that exist in our minds, such as freedom, democracy, justice, and equality . These ideas are not physical objects, but they can have a powerful impact on our lives and society.

Qualities are abstract nouns that describe characteristics or attributes of people, things, or ideas. Examples of qualities include honesty, bravery, intelligence, and creativity. These qualities cannot be seen or touched, but they can be demonstrated through actions and behaviors.

Experiences

Experiences are abstract nouns that refer to events or situations that we encounter in our lives. Examples of experiences include success, failure, adventure, and tragedy . These experiences cannot be physically touched or seen, but they can have a profound impact on our lives and shape who we are as individuals.

Abstract Nouns vs. Concrete Nouns

In English, nouns can be divided into two main categories: abstract nouns and concrete nouns . Abstract nouns are used to describe ideas, concepts, and feelings that cannot be perceived through the senses. Concrete nouns, on the other hand, are used to describe physical objects that can be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted.

  • For example, the word “ love ” is an abstract noun because it describes a feeling or emotion that cannot be seen or touched.
  • In contrast, the word “ table ” is a concrete noun because it describes a physical object that can be seen and touched.

It is important to understand the difference between abstract and concrete nouns because they are used differently in sentences. Concrete nouns are often used as the subject or object of a sentence, while abstract nouns are often used to describe a quality or attribute of a concrete noun.

  • For example, in the sentence “ The dog chased the ball ,” “dog” and “ball” are both concrete nouns because they describe physical objects.

In the sentence “The dog showed loyalty to its owner,” “loyalty” is an abstract noun because it describes a quality of the dog’s behavior.

Here are some more examples of abstract and concrete nouns:

List of Common Abstract Nouns

Usage of abstract nouns.

Abstract nouns play a crucial role in both writing and speech. In this section, we will explore the different ways in which abstract nouns can be used effectively.

Abstract nouns are often used in writing to convey emotions and ideas that cannot be easily expressed through concrete nouns. Here are some ways in which abstract nouns can be used effectively in writing:

  • Describing emotions: Abstract nouns such as “love,” “happiness,” and “sadness” can be used to describe emotions in a way that is more impactful than using concrete nouns. For example, instead of saying “She felt a warm feeling in her heart,” we can say “She felt a deep sense of love.”
  • Explaining concepts: Abstract nouns can be used to explain complex concepts in a concise and clear manner. For example, instead of saying “The process of photosynthesis involves the conversion of light energy into chemical energy,” we can say “Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy.”
  • Creating imagery: Abstract nouns can be used to create vivid imagery in writing. For example, instead of saying “The sunset was beautiful,” we can say “The sky was painted with hues of orange, pink, and purple, creating a breathtaking display of beauty.”

Abstract nouns are also commonly used in speech to convey ideas and emotions. Here are some ways in which abstract nouns can be used effectively in speech:

  • Expressing feelings: Abstract nouns can be used to express feelings and emotions in a way that is more impactful than using concrete nouns. For example, instead of saying “I am happy,” we can say “I am filled with a sense of happiness.”
  • Discussing ideas: Abstract nouns can be used to discuss complex ideas and concepts in a clear and concise manner. For example, instead of saying “The economy is experiencing a period of growth,” we can say “There is a sense of prosperity in the economy.”
  • Creating connections: Abstract nouns can be used to create connections between different ideas and concepts. For example, instead of saying “These two ideas are related,” we can say “There is a strong connection between these two concepts.”

Abstract Nouns List | Infographic

Abstract Nouns

Practice Exercises

Practice exercises are a great way to reinforce your understanding of abstract nouns. In this section, we’ll cover two types of exercises: identifying exercises and usage exercises.

Identifying Exercises

In identifying exercises, you’ll be asked to identify the abstract noun in a sentence. Here are a few examples:

  • The beauty of nature is awe-inspiring.
  • Her kindness towards others is admirable.
  • The concept of time is difficult to grasp.

In each of these sentences, the abstract noun is underlined. Can you identify them? The answers are:

Usage Exercises

Usage exercises are a bit more challenging. In these exercises, you’ll be asked to use abstract nouns in your own sentences. Here are a few examples:

  • Write a sentence using the abstract noun “love”.
  • Write a sentence using the abstract noun “happiness”.
  • Write a sentence using the abstract noun “freedom”.

Here are some possible answers:

  • Our love for each other grows stronger every day.
  • Her happiness was contagious and spread to everyone around her.
  • Freedom is a fundamental right that should be protected at all costs.

Practice exercises are a great way to improve your understanding of abstract nouns. Make sure to keep practicing until you feel confident in your ability to identify and use abstract nouns correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common examples of abstract nouns in English?

There are many examples of abstract nouns in English, including love, courage, intelligence, creativity, communication, development, importance, and many more. Abstract nouns are words that describe intangible concepts or ideas that cannot be seen, touched, or heard.

How can abstract nouns be formed?

Abstract nouns can be formed in several ways. One common way is to add a suffix to a verb, such as -tion, -ment, -ness, -ity, or -ance. For example, the verb “create” can be turned into the abstract noun “creativity” by adding the suffix -ity. Another way to form abstract nouns is by converting adjectives into abstract nouns, such as “beauty” from “beautiful” or “happiness” from “happy”.

Is the word ’emotion’ considered an abstract noun?

Yes, the word ’emotion’ is considered an abstract noun. Emotion is an intangible concept that cannot be seen or touched. It is a feeling or state of mind that is often associated with specific physical sensations , but is not itself a physical object. Other examples of abstract nouns that are related to emotions include love, happiness, sadness, and anger.

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Free Abstract Generator

Make an abstract for your paper in 4 steps:

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📝 What Is an Abstract?

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⭐️ abstract generator: the benefits, 🤔 why use online abstract generator.

Having trouble writing an abstract? You’re not alone.

Crafting an abstract can be problematic, especially when dealing with voluminous work. After all, converting a 100-page academic paper into 150 words is not an easy task. And this is where an abstract maker can help you immensely.

The amount of time you’ll save by relying on a machine to do the work for you is huge. Not to mention the result will be entirely error-free. No logical, grammatical, or other mistakes will spoil your piece.

Sounds interesting? Then, keep reading to learn more about abstracts and our generator.

An abstract is a brief summary of a work. Usually, it's a single paragraph containing 150 to 250 words. It describes all the key points and elements of an article, essay, or work of any other format.

Keep in mind that an abstract merely describes a text. It shouldn’t be an evaluation or an attempt to defend the paper. Instead, it’s just an overview.

Structure of an Abstract

An abstract is not a simple summary. It has a specific structure and should contain the following elements:

Remember that an abstract is separate from the rest of the paper. For the reader to get the complete picture of your research, your abstract must include everything listed above.

✍️ How to Write an Abstract

It can be tempting to go and write an abstract right away. But make sure to finish the planning of your work first. You want to write your abstract about your piece's contents, not build the contents around your abstract.

To make the writing process easier, divide it into 5 manageable steps:

  • Check the requirements. First off, you need to know how much you are allowed to write. An average abstract is about 150-250 words long, but there is often a strict limit. Make sure to stay within it!
  • Establish the goal and the problems of the research. The reader needs to know what your paper will be about right from the get-go. That’s why you need to formulate your thesis and showcase it first.
  • Establish the methods. Tell the reader how you did your research. Don’t go in too deep: simply describe the methods without unnecessary details.
  • Describe the results. Write a couple of sentences about the outcome of your investigation.
  • Write a conclusion. Address the issue you established in the second step. You might also want to mention your work’s limitations regarding your research samples or methods. Try to give the reader a clear understanding of your goal and how you achieved it.

Want to make the process even easier? Use our abstract tool! Online generators like ours will help you craft an excellent paragraph in a matter of seconds.

Abstract Writing Tips

Finally, we want to help you make your abstract truly amazing. Check out our best tips below:

  • It's best to get to the point immediately and without adding any filler or unnecessary details.
  • The less specific your abstract is, the better.
  • Check out some examples before you start writing. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to watch how everyone else does it.
  • Avoid long sentences or bizarre vocabulary to make an abstract paragraph as concise as possible.
  • It’s a great idea to single out some keywords from your outline and put them into your abstract.
  • Don't forget about formatting. Any serious academic work has its requirements. Make sure you check them before writing your piece.

Following these simple tips will make you a master of abstract writing.

✨ Free Abstract Sample

As an example, check out this abstract of the article “Bioeffcacy of Mentha piperita essential oil against dengue fever mosquito” by Sarita Kumar:

The Mentha balsamea, or peppermint plant, is a result of cross-breeding between spearmint and water mint. These plants are most commonly used in the area of repelling insects. The following research revolves around peppermint oil insect repellent and its development. As a part of an experiment, we obtained 25 grams of fresh peppermint and, after grinding it, put it in a glass jar with olive oil. The jar was then left for two days in a warm temperate. Next, the oil was strained with a cheesecloth, gathered, and diluted at 70%. It then got separated into three different spray bottles. The test was to put the spray sample into a jar with mosquitoes and equate the result to the same test with a commercial repellant. Thus, we challenged the stereotype of synthetic repellents being more efficient than their analogs made from natural materials.

That will be the end of our guide on abstract writing. Thank you for reading, and make sure to try out our abstract writer tool to get the best results!

❓ Abstract Generator FAQ

❓ how do you write an abstract for a research paper.

You may use an abstract tool and make the writing process entirely automatic. If you can’t use it, write an abstract yourself by describing the following:

  • The main problem.
  • Background information.
  • The end goal.
  • Description of methods you used.
  • The results of the research.

❓ What are the 5 parts of an abstract?

Parts of an abstract depend on the contents and limitations of your research. The 5 main elements are:

  • The introduction
  • Research significance
  • Method description

❓ What makes a good abstract in a research paper?

A good abstract is one that:

  • Meets all the requirements.
  • Establishes the problem and main issues of the research.
  • Describes the methods you used during the analysis.
  • Showcases results of the study.
  • Provides a clear conclusion.

❓ How long should my abstract be?

An average abstract is about 150-250 words long. You may often get strict limits that can go above or beyond these numbers. Your supervisor should provide the exact requirements for abstract length. So, make sure to double-check them.

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ACP National Abstract Competition FAQs

Do i need to be an acp member to submit an abstract.

Yes, all first authors must be ACP Medical Student, Resident/Fellow, or Early Career Physician members in good standing (dues paid) to submit an abstract. In addition, Transitional Medical Graduate Members can submit to the Resident/Fellow competitions.  Co-authors listed on abstracts need not be ACP members.

How do I check on my ACP membership status?

Contact us at 800-ACP-1915 or 215-351-2600 or e-mail/online at www.acponline.org/contact .

When is the deadline for submission?

The deadline to submit an abstract for the 2023-24 National Abstract Competitions has been extended to Monday, December 4, 2023, 11:59 PM ET for all competitions and categories.

What is the word limit for submitting abstracts?

The document blocks for the abstract text will accept approximately 500 words. Please note, the word limit DOES NOT include the title, authors, or reference blocks.

Can I include images with my abstract?

No, the electronic abstract system will only accept text; therefore, images are not permitted.

How many abstracts can I submit?

Medical Students, Transitional Medical Graduates, and Resident/Fellows can submit up to a total of seven abstracts; two abstracts to the Clinical Vignette Competition and one abstract to each of the Research Competitions: Basic Research, Clinical Research, High Value Care, Quality Improvement-Patient Safety, and Physician Well-being and Professional Fulfillment. Early Career Physicians can submit one abstract per category: Clinical Research, High Value Care, Quality Improvement/Patient Safety, Professional Well-being and Professional Fulfillment, and Clinical Vignette.

What do I do if I'm having trouble logging into the Abstract Portal?

You can reset your password here or call us at 800-ACP-1915 or 215-351-2600 or email/online at www.acponline.org/contact .

What if I forgot my username and/or password?

You can reset your password here .

Will I be notified that my abstract has been submitted successfully?

Yes, you will receive an e-mail notification that your abstract has been submitted successfully.

Can I make changes/corrections to my submitted abstract?

Yes, you can modify your abstract up until the abstract deadline. Be sure to save the changes before exiting the system.

How do I withdraw an abstract after it has been submitted?

Log in to the abstracts portal and hit the withdrawal button.

When will I be notified of the results?

All first authors will be notified by February 5, 2024.

When and where will the meeting take place?

The ACP Internal Medicine Meeting 2024 will take place April 18 – 20, 2024 in Boston, MA.

When will the oral presentations and the ePoster Competitions take place?

Do i need to register to attend the acp internal medicine meeting 2020.

No, if you are selected for a podium or a poster presentation, ACP staff will register you for the meeting.

If I cannot attend the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting 2020, can a co-author present in my place?

No, only first authors (those who submit the abstract) will be registered for the meeting and invited to present. If you cannot attend, you must forfeit your presentation.

By submitting my abstract to the National Competitions, does that automatically include me in my local Chapter Competitions?

No, you must submit your abstract separately to the National Competitions and your local Chapter Competitions. To find out more information, please visit your local chapter website .

Whom can I contact if I have questions about local ACP chapters abstract competitions?

For information on local abstract competitions, visit your Chapter Web site , or contact your ACP Governor .

Whom can I contact if I have questions about the National ACP Abstract Competition?

E-mail questions to [email protected] .

ESLBUZZ

Abstract Words: The Ultimate List to Unlock Your Abstract Thinking

By: Author ESLBUZZ

Posted on Last updated: September 14, 2023

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Abstract words are an essential part of the English language and are often used in various contexts. They are words that refer to concepts, ideas, or feelings that cannot be touched or seen. Abstract words can be challenging for English language learners to understand and use correctly. In this article, we will explore the meaning of abstract words, their importance in the English language, and how to use them effectively in writing and speaking.

Abstract Words

Abstract Words: The Ultimate List to Unlock Your Abstract Thinking

Understanding Abstract Words

Abstract words are words that describe concepts, ideas, or feelings that cannot be seen or touched. They are often used to describe intangible things such as emotions, ideas, or qualities. Examples of abstract words include love, hate, courage, and honesty. These words are important because they help us communicate complex ideas and emotions.

To help you better understand abstract words, here are some examples with their meanings:

Here are some example sentences using abstract words:

  • She showed great courage during the difficult times.
  • His honesty and integrity are beyond reproach.
  • Love is a powerful emotion that can bring people together.
  • Freedom is a fundamental human right that should be protected.
  • Justice must be served for those who have been wronged.

Abstract vs. Concrete Words

Concrete words.

Concrete words are easier to define because they refer to tangible objects, people, and places. Here are some examples of concrete words:

The primary difference between abstract and concrete words is that abstract words refer to intangible concepts, while concrete words refer to tangible objects. Using a combination of both abstract and concrete words in your writing can help you convey complex ideas and make them more understandable for your readers.

When using abstract words, it’s important to provide clear and concise definitions to help your readers understand the concepts you’re discussing. When using concrete words, it’s important to provide specific details to help your readers visualize the objects or places you’re describing.

The Importance of Abstract Words

Communication.

Abstract words are an integral part of effective communication. They allow us to express complex ideas and emotions that cannot be conveyed through concrete words alone. For example, words like “love,” “honor,” and “justice” are abstract words that carry a significant amount of meaning and emotion. Without these words, our ability to communicate our thoughts and feelings would be severely limited.

Intelligence

Research has shown that individuals with a strong understanding of abstract words tend to have higher levels of intelligence. This is because abstract words require a deeper level of thinking and understanding than concrete words. When we learn abstract words, we are forced to think critically about the concepts they represent, which can help to enhance our overall cognitive abilities.

Abstract words are also essential for academic success. They are commonly used in academic writing and are often found in textbooks and scholarly articles. By developing your understanding of abstract words, you can improve your ability to comprehend and analyze complex academic texts.

Finally, understanding abstract words can help to increase your awareness and empathy for others. Abstract words like “compassion,” “empathy,” and “tolerance” are essential for building strong relationships and creating a more compassionate and understanding society.

Abstract Words in Different Aspects of Life

Abstract words play a significant role in society. They help us describe and understand the complex social structures and relationships that exist between individuals and communities. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in society include:

In the context of home, abstract words are used to express feelings and emotions related to family, comfort, and safety. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of home include:

Abstract words are also used to describe the experiences and emotions of childhood. They help us understand the world around us and make sense of our experiences. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of childhood include:

Abstract words are essential in describing the complex emotions and experiences that come with friendship. They help us express our feelings towards our friends and understand the dynamics of our relationships. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of friendship include:

Abstract words are often used to describe the physical and emotional experiences of pain. They help us understand and communicate the intensity and nature of our pain. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of pain include:

Abstract words are also used to describe the emotions and experiences of joy. They help us express our happiness and understand the things that bring us joy. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of joy include:

Abstract words are often used to describe the state of peace and tranquility. They help us understand and communicate the absence of conflict and tension. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of peace include:

Abstract words are also used to describe the concept of power and authority. They help us understand and communicate the dynamics of power and control. Some examples of abstract words that are commonly used in the context of power include:

Using Abstract Words Effectively

Choosing the right abstract words.

Choosing the right abstract words is crucial in effectively conveying your message. Here are some tips to help you choose the right abstract words:

  • Consider your audience: Choose abstract words that your audience can relate to and understand.
  • Use concrete examples: Use concrete examples to illustrate abstract concepts and ideas.
  • Avoid ambiguity: Avoid using abstract words that are ambiguous or have multiple meanings.

Advantages of Using Abstract Words

Using abstract words can have several advantages in your writing. Here are some advantages of using abstract words:

  • Adds depth and complexity: Abstract words can add depth and complexity to your writing, making your message more profound and thought-provoking.
  • Evokes emotions: Abstract words can evoke emotions in your readers, making your writing more engaging and memorable.
  • Allows for creativity: Abstract words allow for creativity in your writing, giving you the freedom to express yourself in unique and imaginative ways.

Challenges in Understanding Abstract Words

One of the main challenges learners face when trying to understand abstract words is confusion. Abstract words can have multiple meanings and can be used in various contexts, which can lead to confusion. For example, the word “love” can mean a strong feeling of affection, a great interest or pleasure in something, or a person or thing that one loves. Therefore, it is essential to understand the context in which the word is being used to understand its meaning correctly.

Another challenge learners face when trying to understand abstract words is difficulty. Abstract words are often complex and can be challenging to define or explain. For example, the word “happiness” is an abstract word that represents a feeling or emotion that is difficult to describe. Therefore, learners may struggle to understand and use abstract words correctly in sentences.

Understanding abstract words can be a significant challenge for learners, but it is essential to develop a strong vocabulary to communicate effectively in a new language. Here are some strategies that can help learners overcome the challenges of understanding abstract words:

  • Use context clues: Pay attention to the words and phrases that surround an abstract word to help determine its meaning.
  • Look up definitions: Use a dictionary or online resources to find definitions and examples of abstract words.
  • Practice using abstract words in sentences: Practice using abstract words in sentences to help reinforce their meaning and usage.

Teaching Abstract Words

As educators, we know that teaching abstract words can be a challenge. Unlike concrete words, abstract words are intangible and difficult to visualize, making them harder for students to understand and remember. However, there are many activities and games that can help students learn abstract words in a fun and engaging way. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best ways to teach abstract words to your students.

Activities for Teaching Abstract Words

One effective way to teach abstract words is through activities that encourage students to use the words in context. Here are some examples of activities you can use in the classroom:

  • Word Association: Have students brainstorm a list of words that are associated with the abstract word you’re teaching. For example, if you’re teaching the word “love,” students could come up with words like “affection,” “compassion,” and “devotion.”
  • Sentence Completion: Provide students with a sentence that includes the abstract word you’re teaching, but with a blank space where the word should go. Have students fill in the blank with the correct word.
  • Visualizing Abstract Words: Encourage students to create visual representations of abstract words. For example, students could draw a picture of “happiness” or “sadness” to help them understand the meaning of these abstract words.

Games for Teaching Abstract Words

Games are another great way to teach abstract words. Here are some examples of games you can use in the classroom:

  • Charades: Have students act out the meaning of an abstract word without speaking. Other students must guess the word based on the actions.
  • Bingo: Create bingo cards with abstract words and their definitions. Call out the definitions, and students must match them to the correct word on their bingo card.
  • Word Scavenger Hunt: Hide cards around the classroom with abstract words written on them. Students must find the cards and write a sentence using the word correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common academic vocabulary words?

Academic vocabulary words are those that are commonly used in academic writing and communication. Some examples of academic vocabulary words include analyze, evaluate, summarize, hypothesis, methodology, and empirical. These words are often used in research papers, essays, and other academic writing assignments.

What is the 1,000 academic word list and where can I find it?

The 1,000 academic word list is a list of the most commonly used academic words in English. It is a useful resource for students who want to improve their academic vocabulary. The list can be found online and is often used by English language learners and teachers.

What are some resources for improving my academic writing vocabulary?

There are many resources available for students who want to improve their academic writing vocabulary. Some of these resources include academic vocabulary books, online vocabulary quizzes and exercises, and academic writing workshops. It is also helpful to read academic articles and papers to become familiar with the vocabulary used in academic writing.

How can I incorporate more abstract words into my writing?

Incorporating more abstract words into your writing can be challenging, but it is important for conveying complex ideas and concepts. One way to do this is to use analogies or metaphors to help explain abstract concepts. It is also helpful to use concrete examples to illustrate abstract concepts.

What are some examples of abstract words used in academic writing?

Some examples of abstract words used in academic writing include paradigm, discourse, ontology, epistemology, and methodology. These words are often used in academic disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, and psychology.

What are some techniques for memorizing and using abstract vocabulary words effectively?

One technique for memorizing abstract vocabulary words is to use flashcards or other memory aids. It is also helpful to use the words in context by writing sentences or paragraphs that incorporate the words. Another technique is to break down the words into their component parts to better understand their meanings. Finally, it is important to practice using the words in conversation and writing to become more comfortable with them.

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In this section, we covered some frequently asked questions about academic vocabulary words and how to improve your academic writing vocabulary. By incorporating these tips and techniques, you can become more confident and knowledgeable in your use of abstract vocabulary words.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Abstract

    Introduction Methods Results Discussion Abstracts are usually around 100-300 words, but there's often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements. In a dissertation or thesis, include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents.

  2. The Writing Center

    These abstracts are often the shortened version of the paper abstract; for example, an IMRaD abstract with max word count of 500 words will need to be shortened to fit a smaller max count, usually between 250-350 depending on the conference. Some conferences may also ask for a 100-word summary to supplement the abstract, as well.

  3. 3. The Abstract

    An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem (s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief s...

  4. Five Steps to a Brilliant Abstract • CURAH Resource

    The conference organizers will specify the length — rarely be more than 500 words (just short of two double-spaced pages). In an ideal world, you write your abstract after the actual paper is completed, but in some cases you may write an abstract for a paper you haven't yet written—especially if the conference is some time away.

  5. The Writing Center

    An abstract is a 150- to 250-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay or report and its organization. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.

  6. Abstract Example

    An abstract example is a piece of information that conclusively summarizes the whole article, review, conference corresponding and thesis, among others. It can also be used to provide an intensive summary of a specific subject.

  7. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

    Definition and Purpose of Abstracts An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes: an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to….

  8. Writing an abstract

    An abstract is a condensed version of your article; a distillation of the most important information (Belcher, 2019, p. 93). This page will help you to: understand the purpose and importance of an abstract plan an abstract structure and write different types of abstracts for your thesis and publication. Introduction to abstracts

  9. PDF Dr. K's Short and Snappy Guide to HOW TO WRITE AN ABSTRACT

    Its length will be specified by the conference organizer but will rarely be more than 500 words (just short of two double-spaced pages). In an ideal world, it is written after the actual paper is completed, but in some cases you'll write an abstract for a paper you haven't yet written—especially if the conference is some time away.

  10. How to Write an Abstract?

    An abstract is a crisp, short, powerful, and self-contained summary of a research manuscript used to help the reader swiftly determine the paper's purpose. ... Critical: This type of abstract is lengthy and about 400-500 words. In this, the authors' own research is discussed for reliability, judgement, and validation. A comparison is also ...

  11. Tips for Writing Conference Paper Abstracts

    Typically, an abstract describes the topic you would like to present at the conference, highlighting your argument, evidence and contribution to the historical literature. It is usually restricted to 250-500 words.

  12. Writing an abstract

    Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words. Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).

  13. How to write an abstract

    To start an abstract, first read through your completed paper. 2. Identify the key elements a reader needs to understand before committing to reading the full paper. 3. Think of a compelling hook to grab the reader at the beginning of your abstract. And if you're ready to go, here are the steps to creating a clear, concise, and cogent abstract.

  14. 15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

    Problem Statement: Define the issue your research addresses, commonly referred to as the thesis statement. Methodology: Describe the research methods you employed. Synopsis: This should include a summary of your results and conclusions. Keywords: Implement terms that others will use to find your article. Types of Abstracts

  15. ENGL 825 -- Sample Abstracts

    Sample Abstracts. Below are links to some sample abstracts that I've written for past conference presentations. These examples are about 500 words in length and fit on one page, single-spaced. They all follow a similar format: the introductory paragraph generally introduces the topic and may include the thesis claim of the paper; a second (and ...

  16. Writing an Abstract

    Most abstracts have a word limit of around 250 to 300 words. Omit needless words, redundant modifiers, over-the-top diction, and excessive detail. An abstract should have the same structure a research article: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Depending on the required format you may be required to use these or similar headings ...

  17. Abstract Nouns: List of 165 Important Abstract Nouns from A to Z

    Abstract Noun Definition. Abstract nouns are intangible concepts or ideas that cannot be experienced with the five senses. They represent things like emotions, ideas, qualities, and states of being.Unlike concrete nouns that refer to physical objects or things that can be perceived by the senses, abstract nouns cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted.

  18. Free Abstract Generator Online

    What Is an Abstract? An abstract is a brief summary of a work. Usually, it's a single paragraph containing 150 to 250 words. It describes all the key points and elements of an article, essay, or work of any other format. Keep in mind that an abstract merely describes a text.

  19. ACP National Abstract Competition FAQs

    The document blocks for the abstract text will accept approximately 500 words. Please note, the word limit DOES NOT include the title, authors, or reference blocks. Can I include images with my abstract? No, the electronic abstract system will only accept text; therefore, images are not permitted. How many abstracts can I submit?

  20. PDF 500 word abstract

    The AAE phonological patterns under investigation were limited to the final position of words: (a) deletion of post-vocalic /t/, (b) deletion of post-vocalic /k/, (c) cluster reduction of /st/ to /s/, (d) cluster reduction of /sk/ to /s/, 5) t/th substitution, and (e) f/th substitution. These six phonological patterns were categorized into two ...

  21. SSWR

    An abstract of 500-words or less that outlines the issue(s) and varying viewpoints that will be elaborated upon. WORKSHOP The workshops are primarily pedagogical, intended to offer training opportunities for methodology (study design, sampling, data collection, measurement, and analysis) with hands-on instruction and specific learning ...

  22. Abstract Words: The Ultimate List to Unlock Your Abstract ...

    Communication. Abstract words are an integral part of effective communication. They allow us to express complex ideas and emotions that cannot be conveyed through concrete words alone. For example, words like "love," "honor," and "justice" are abstract words that carry a significant amount of meaning and emotion.

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    34 likes, 0 comments - sigradi_official on February 16, 2024: "Call for abstracts SIGraDi 2024!! Scientific writing style (EN, PT, ES) | 500 words + References ..."