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An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long.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.
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.
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.
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:
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APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 3, 2022.
An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem , hypotheses , methods , results , and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.
Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.
Table of contents
How to format the abstract, how to write an apa abstract, which keywords to use, frequently asked questions, apa abstract example.
Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style:
- Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number.
- Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm).
- Write “Abstract” (bold and centered) at the top of the page.
- Do not indent the first line.
- Double-space the text.
- Use a legible font like Times New Roman (12 pt.).
- Limit the length to 250 words.
- Indent the first line 0.5 inches.
- Write the label “Keywords:” (italicized).
- Write keywords in lowercase letters.
- Separate keywords with commas.
- Do not use a period after the keywords.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The abstract is a self-contained piece of text that informs the reader what your research is about. It’s best to write the abstract after you’re finished with the rest of your paper.
The questions below may help structure your abstract. Try answering them in one to three sentences each.
- What is the problem? Outline the objective, research questions , and/or hypotheses .
- What has been done? Explain your research methods .
- What did you discover? Summarize the key findings and conclusions .
- What do the findings mean? Summarize the discussion and recommendations .
Check out our guide on how to write an abstract for more guidance and an annotated example.
Guide: writing an abstract
At the end of the abstract, you may include a few keywords that will be used for indexing if your paper is published on a database. Listing your keywords will help other researchers find your work.
Choosing relevant keywords is essential. Try to identify keywords that address your topic, method, or population. APA recommends including three to five keywords.
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 APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
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.
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Home » Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples
Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples
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Research Paper Abstract
Research Paper Abstract is a brief summary of a research pape r that describes the study’s purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions . It is often the first section of the paper that readers encounter, and its purpose is to provide a concise and accurate overview of the paper’s content. The typical length of an abstract is usually around 150-250 words, and it should be written in a concise and clear manner.
Research Paper Abstract Structure
The structure of a research paper abstract usually includes the following elements:
- Background or Introduction: Briefly describe the problem or research question that the study addresses.
- Methods : Explain the methodology used to conduct the study, including the participants, materials, and procedures.
- Results : Summarize the main findings of the study, including statistical analyses and key outcomes.
- Conclusions : Discuss the implications of the study’s findings and their significance for the field, as well as any limitations or future directions for research.
- Keywords : List a few keywords that describe the main topics or themes of the research.
How to Write Research Paper Abstract
Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper abstract:
- Start by reading your paper: Before you write an abstract, you should have a complete understanding of your paper. Read through the paper carefully, making sure you understand the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
- Identify the key components : Identify the key components of your paper, such as the research question, methods used, results obtained, and conclusion reached.
- Write a draft: Write a draft of your abstract, using concise and clear language. Make sure to include all the important information, but keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your abstract between 150-250 words.
- Use clear and concise language : Use clear and concise language to explain the purpose of your study, the methods used, the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
- Emphasize your findings: Emphasize your findings in the abstract, highlighting the key results and the significance of your study.
- Revise and edit: Once you have a draft, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free from errors.
- Check the formatting: Finally, check the formatting of your abstract to make sure it meets the requirements of the journal or conference where you plan to submit it.
Research Paper Abstract Examples
Research Paper Abstract Examples could be following:
Title : “The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis”
Abstract : This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety disorders. Through the analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials, we found that CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders, with large effect sizes across a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Our findings support the use of CBT as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and highlight the importance of further research to identify the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.
Title : “Exploring the Role of Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: A Qualitative Study”
Abstract : This qualitative study explores the role of parental involvement in children’s education. Through in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children in elementary school, we found that parental involvement takes many forms, including volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, and communicating with teachers. We also found that parental involvement is influenced by a range of factors, including parent and child characteristics, school culture, and socio-economic status. Our findings suggest that schools and educators should prioritize building strong partnerships with parents to support children’s academic success.
Title : “The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”
Abstract : This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on the impact of exercise on cognitive function in older adults. Through the analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise is associated with significant improvements in cognitive function, particularly in the domains of executive function and attention. Our findings highlight the potential of exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to support cognitive health in older adults.
When to Write Research Paper Abstract
The abstract of a research paper should typically be written after you have completed the main body of the paper. This is because the abstract is intended to provide a brief summary of the key points and findings of the research, and you can’t do that until you have completed the research and written about it in detail.
Once you have completed your research paper, you can begin writing your abstract. It is important to remember that the abstract should be a concise summary of your research paper, and should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have expertise in your specific area of research.
Purpose of Research Paper Abstract
The purpose of a research paper abstract is to provide a concise summary of the key points and findings of a research paper. It is typically a brief paragraph or two that appears at the beginning of the paper, before the introduction, and is intended to give readers a quick overview of the paper’s content.
The abstract should include a brief statement of the research problem, the methods used to investigate the problem, the key results and findings, and the main conclusions and implications of the research. It should be written in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and technical language, and should be understandable to a broad audience.
The abstract serves as a way to quickly and easily communicate the main points of a research paper to potential readers, such as academics, researchers, and students, who may be looking for information on a particular topic. It can also help researchers determine whether a paper is relevant to their own research interests and whether they should read the full paper.
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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.
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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What this handout is about
This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.
What is an abstract?
An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.
Why write an abstract?
You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.
Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:
This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.
From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.
Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.
When do people write abstracts?
- when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
- when applying for research grants
- when writing a book proposal
- when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
- when writing a proposal for a conference paper
- when writing a proposal for a book chapter
Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.
Types of abstracts
There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.
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 describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.
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 writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but 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 rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.
Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:
The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.
Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.
Which type should I use?
Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.
How do I write an abstract?
The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:
- Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
- Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
- Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
- Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
- Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?
(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )
All abstracts include:
- A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
- The most important information first.
- The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
- Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
- Clear, concise, and powerful language.
Abstracts may include:
- The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
- Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
- The same chronological structure as the original work.
How not to write an abstract:
- Do not refer extensively to other works.
- Do not add information not contained in the original work.
- Do not define terms.
If you are abstracting your own writing
When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.
This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .
For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.
Cut and paste:
To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.
If you are abstracting someone else’s writing
When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:
Identify key terms:
Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.
Highlight key phrases and sentences:
Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.
Don’t look back:
After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.
Revise, revise, revise
No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.
Example 1: Humanities abstract
Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998
This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.
Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.
What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.
How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.
What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.
Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.
Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation
Example 2: Science Abstract
Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998
The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.
This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.
Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.
What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.
Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.
Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.
Kilborn, Judith. 1998. “Writing Abstracts.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated October 20, 1998. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/bizwrite/abstracts.html .
Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .
Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.
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Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)
Posted in: abstract , dissertations
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
Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic 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.
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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- How to Write an Abstract
Expedite peer review, increase search-ability, and set the tone for your study
The abstract is your chance to let your readers know what they can expect from your article. Learn how to write a clear, and concise abstract that will keep your audience reading.
How your abstract impacts editorial evaluation and future readership
After the title , the abstract is the second-most-read part of your article. A good abstract can help to expedite peer review and, if your article is accepted for publication, it’s an important tool for readers to find and evaluate your work. Editors use your abstract when they first assess your article. Prospective reviewers see it when they decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once published, the abstract gets indexed in PubMed and Google Scholar , as well as library systems and other popular databases. Like the title, your abstract influences keyword search results. Readers will use it to decide whether to read the rest of your article. Other researchers will use it to evaluate your work for inclusion in systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It should be a concise standalone piece that accurately represents your research.
What to include in an abstract
The main challenge you’ll face when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND fitting in all the information you need. Depending on your subject area the journal may require a structured abstract following specific headings. A structured abstract helps your readers understand your study more easily. If your journal doesn’t require a structured abstract it’s still a good idea to follow a similar format, just present the abstract as one paragraph without headings.
Background or Introduction – What is currently known? Start with a brief, 2 or 3 sentence, introduction to the research area.
Objectives or Aims – What is the study and why did you do it? Clearly state the research question you’re trying to answer.
Methods – What did you do? Explain what you did and how you did it. Include important information about your methods, but avoid the low-level specifics. Some disciplines have specific requirements for abstract methods.
- CONSORT for randomized trials.
- STROBE for observational studies
- PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Results – What did you find? Briefly give the key findings of your study. Include key numeric data (including confidence intervals or p values), where possible.
Conclusions – What did you conclude? Tell the reader why your findings matter, and what this could mean for the ‘bigger picture’ of this area of research.
The main challenge you may find when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND convering all the information you need to.
- Keep it concise and to the point. Most journals have a maximum word count, so check guidelines before you write the abstract to save time editing it later.
- Write for your audience. Are they specialists in your specific field? Are they cross-disciplinary? Are they non-specialists? If you’re writing for a general audience, or your research could be of interest to the public keep your language as straightforward as possible. If you’re writing in English, do remember that not all of your readers will necessarily be native English speakers.
- Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages.
- Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary.
- Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings.
- Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.
- Double and triple check your abstract for spelling and grammar errors. These kind of errors can give potential reviewers the impression that your research isn’t sound, and can make it easier to find reviewers who accept the invitation to review your manuscript. Your abstract should be a taste of what is to come in the rest of your article.
- Sensationalize your research.
- Speculate about where this research might lead in the future.
- Use abbreviations or acronyms (unless absolutely necessary or unless they’re widely known, eg. DNA).
- Repeat yourself unnecessarily, eg. “Methods: We used X technique. Results: Using X technique, we found…”
- Contradict anything in the rest of your manuscript.
- Include content that isn’t also covered in the main manuscript.
- Include citations or references.
Tip: How to edit your work
Editing is challenging, especially if you are acting as both a writer and an editor. Read our guidelines for advice on how to refine your work, including useful tips for setting your intentions, re-review, and consultation with colleagues.
- How to Write a Great Title
- How to Write Your Methods
- How to Report Statistics
- How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
- How to Edit Your Work
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How to Write an APA Abstract
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee
- Writing Your Abstract
- How to Use Keywords
An APA abstract is a concise but comprehensive summary of a scientific paper. It is typically a paragraph long, or about 150 to 250 words. The goal of the abstract is to provide the reader with a brief and accurate idea of what a paper is about.
The APA abstract should appear on a separate page immediately after the title page and before the main content of your paper. While professional papers that appear in scientific journals and other publications require an APA abstract, they may not be required for student papers. However, you should always check with your instructor for specific requirements.
What Is APA Format?
APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association. It is used in writing for psychology and other social sciences. These style guidelines specify different aspects of a document's presentation and layout, including how pages are structured, how references are organized, and how sources are cited.
This article explains how to create an abstract in APA format for your psychology papers or other types of scientific writing. It covers the basic rules you should follow as well as specific guidelines for writing abstracts for experimental reports, literature reviews, and other articles.
What Is an Abstract in APA Format?
In addition to providing guidance for the general style and organization of a paper, APA format also stipulates using an abstract designed to briefly summarize the key details in a paper.
While it is sometimes overlooked or only an afterthought, an abstract is an integral part of any academic or professional paper. The abstract is a critical component of an APA-formatted paper. This brief overview summarizes what your paper contains. It should succinctly and accurately represent what your paper is about and what the reader can expect to find.
Following a few simple guidelines, you can create an abstract following the format. Done well, an abstract generates interest in your work and helps readers learn if the paper will interest them.
APA Format Abstract Basics
The abstract is the second page of a lab report or APA-format paper and should immediately follow the title page . Think of an abstract as a highly condensed summary of your entire paper.
The purpose of your abstract is to provide a brief yet thorough overview of your paper. It should function much like your title page—it should allow the person reading it to quickly determine what your paper is all about. Your abstract is the first thing that most people will read, and it is usually what informs their decision to read the rest of your paper.
The abstract is the single most important paragraph in your entire paper, according to the APA Publication Manual. A good abstract lets the reader know that your paper is worth reading.
According to the official guidelines of the American Psychological Association, an abstract should be brief but packed with information. Each sentence must be written with maximum impact in mind. To keep your abstract short, focus on including just four or five of the essential points, concepts, or findings.
An abstract must also be objective and accurate. The abstract's purpose is to report rather than provide commentary. It should accurately reflect what your paper is about. Only include information that is also included in the body of your paper.
Key Elements of an APA Abstract
Your abstract page should include:
- A running head , which is a shortened version of your title that appears in all caps at the top left of each page of your paper
- A section label , which should be the word "Abstract" centered and bolded at the top of the page
- A page number , which should be the second page of your paper (the title page should be page 1)
- A double-spaced paragraph of about 150 to 250 words
- An indented list of keywords related to your paper's content. Include the label "Keywords:" in italics and list three to five keywords that are separated by commas
How to Write an Abstract in APA Format
Before you write your abstract, you first need to write your paper in its entirety. In order to write a good abstract, you need to have a finished draft of your paper so you can summarize it accurately.
While the abstract will be at the beginning of your paper, it should be the last section you write.
Once you have completed the final draft of your psychology paper , use it as a guide for writing your abstract.
- Begin your abstract on a new page . Place your running head and page number 2 in the top right-hand corner. Center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
- Know your target word count . An abstract should be between 150 and 250 words. Exact word counts vary from journal to journal . If you are writing your paper for a psychology course, your professor may have specific word requirements, so be sure to ask. The abstract should be written as only one paragraph with no indentation.
- Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper . Begin with a brief summary of the introduction , and then continue on with a summary of the method , results , and discussion sections of your paper.
- Look at other abstracts in professional journals for examples of how to summarize your paper . Notice the main points that the authors chose to mention in the abstract. Use these examples as a guide when choosing the main ideas in your own paper.
- Write a rough draft of your abstract . Use the format required for your type of paper (see next sections). While you should aim for brevity, be careful not to make your summary too short. Try to write one to two sentences summarizing each section of your paper. Once you have a rough draft, you can edit for length and clarity.
- Ask a friend to read over the abstract . Sometimes, having someone look at your abstract with fresh eyes can provide perspective and help you spot possible typos and other errors.
The abstract is vital to your paper, so it should not be overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Spend time writing this section carefully to ensure maximum readability and clarity.
It is important to remember that while the abstract is the last thing you write, it is often the most read part of your paper.
Experimental Report Abstracts
The format of your abstract also depends on the type of paper you are writing. For example, an abstract summarizing an experimental paper will differ from that of a meta-analysis or case study . For an experimental report, your abstract should:
- Identify the problem . In many cases, you should begin by stating the question you sought to investigate and your hypothesis .
- Describe the participants in the study . State how many participants took part and how they were selected. For example: "In this study, 215 undergraduate student participants were randomly assigned to [the experimental condition] or [the control condition]."
- Describe the study method . For example, identify whether you used a within-subjects, between-subjects, or mixed design.
- Give the basic findings . This is essentially a brief preview of the results of your paper.
- Provide any conclusions or implications of the study . What might your results indicate, and what directions does it point to for future research?
Literature Review Abstracts
If your paper is a meta-analysis or literature review, your abstract should:
- Describe the problem of interest . In other words, what is it that you set out to investigate in your analysis or review?
- Explain the criteria used to select the studies included in the paper . There may be many different studies devoted to your topic. Your analysis or review probably only looks at a portion of these studies. For what reason did you select these specific studies to include in your research?
- Identify the participants in the studies . Inform the reader about who the participants were in the studies. Were they college students? Older adults? How were they selected and assigned?
- Provide the main results . Again, this is essentially a quick peek at what readers will find when they read your results section. Don't try to include everything. Just provide a very brief summary of your main findings.
- Describe any conclusions or implications . What might these results mean and what do they reveal about the body of research that exists on this particular topic?
Lab Reports and Articles
Psychology papers such as lab reports and APA format articles also often require an abstract. In these cases as well, the abstract should include all of the major elements of your paper, including an introduction, hypothesis, methods, results, and discussion.
Remember, although the abstract should be placed at the beginning of your paper (right after the title page), you will write the abstract last after you have completed a final draft of your paper.
To ensure that all of your APA formatting is correct, consider consulting a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .
Keywords in an APA Abstract
After the paragraph containing the main elements of your abstract, you can also include keywords related to your paper. Such keywords are used when indexing your paper in databases and can help researchers and students locate your paper when searching for information about those topics.
Because keywords help people find your paper, it is essential to choose the right ones. The APA suggests including between three and five keywords.
You can identify keywords by thinking about what your paper is about. For example, if your paper focuses on how social media use is related to depression in teenagers, you might include the keywords: social media, mood, depression, adolescents, social networking sites
A Word From Verywell
The abstract may be very brief, but it is so important that the official APA style manual identifies it as the most important paragraph in your entire paper. Careful attention to detail can ensure that your abstract does a good job representing the contents of your paper. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for assistance.
Nagda S. How to write a scientific abstract. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2013;13(3):382–383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x
Kumar A. Writing an abstract: Revealing the essence with eloquence . J Indian Soc Periodontol . 2022;26(1):1-2. doi:10.4103/jisp.jisp_634_21
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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key
Milind s. tullu.
Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
This article deals with formulating a suitable title and an appropriate abstract for an original research paper. The “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” of a research article, and hence they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, and meticulously. Often both of these are drafted after the full manuscript is ready. Most readers read only the title and the abstract of a research paper and very few will go on to read the full paper. The title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper and should be pleasant to read. The “title” should be descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise, unique, and should not be misleading. The “abstract” needs to be simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a revision is made to the paper and should include the key message prominently. It is very important to include the most important words and terms (the “keywords”) in the title and the abstract for appropriate indexing purpose and for retrieval from the search engines and scientific databases. Such keywords should be listed after the abstract. One must adhere to the instructions laid down by the target journal with regard to the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.
This article deals with drafting a suitable “title” and an appropriate “abstract” for an original research paper. Because the “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” or the “face” of a research article, they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, meticulously, and consume time and energy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ] Often, these are drafted after the complete manuscript draft is ready.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] Most readers will read only the title and the abstract of a published research paper, and very few “interested ones” (especially, if the paper is of use to them) will go on to read the full paper.[ 1 , 2 ] One must remember to adhere to the instructions laid down by the “target journal” (the journal for which the author is writing) regarding the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.[ 2 , 4 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 12 ] Both the title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper – for editors (to decide whether to process the paper for further review), for reviewers (to get an initial impression of the paper), and for the readers (as these may be the only parts of the paper available freely and hence, read widely).[ 4 , 8 , 12 ] It may be worth for the novice author to browse through titles and abstracts of several prominent journals (and their target journal as well) to learn more about the wording and styles of the titles and abstracts, as well as the aims and scope of the particular journal.[ 5 , 7 , 9 , 13 ]
The details of the title are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.
Importance of the title
When a reader browses through the table of contents of a journal issue (hard copy or on website), the title is the “ first detail” or “face” of the paper that is read.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 13 ] Hence, it needs to be simple, direct, accurate, appropriate, specific, functional, interesting, attractive/appealing, concise/brief, precise/focused, unambiguous, memorable, captivating, informative (enough to encourage the reader to read further), unique, catchy, and it should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] It should have “just enough details” to arouse the interest and curiosity of the reader so that the reader then goes ahead with studying the abstract and then (if still interested) the full paper.[ 1 , 2 , 4 , 13 ] Journal websites, electronic databases, and search engines use the words in the title and abstract (the “keywords”) to retrieve a particular paper during a search; hence, the importance of these words in accessing the paper by the readers has been emphasized.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 , 14 ] Such important words (or keywords) should be arranged in appropriate order of importance as per the context of the paper and should be placed at the beginning of the title (rather than the later part of the title, as some search engines like Google may just display only the first six to seven words of the title).[ 3 , 5 , 12 ] Whimsical, amusing, or clever titles, though initially appealing, may be missed or misread by the busy reader and very short titles may miss the essential scientific words (the “keywords”) used by the indexing agencies to catch and categorize the paper.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 9 ] Also, amusing or hilarious titles may be taken less seriously by the readers and may be cited less often.[ 4 , 15 ] An excessively long or complicated title may put off the readers.[ 3 , 9 ] It may be a good idea to draft the title after the main body of the text and the abstract are drafted.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ]
Types of titles
Titles can be descriptive, declarative, or interrogative. They can also be classified as nominal, compound, or full-sentence titles.
Descriptive or neutral title
This has the essential elements of the research theme, that is, the patients/subjects, design, interventions, comparisons/control, and outcome, but does not reveal the main result or the conclusion.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ] Such a title allows the reader to interpret the findings of the research paper in an impartial manner and with an open mind.[ 3 ] These titles also give complete information about the contents of the article, have several keywords (thus increasing the visibility of the article in search engines), and have increased chances of being read and (then) being cited as well.[ 4 ] Hence, such descriptive titles giving a glimpse of the paper are generally preferred.[ 4 , 16 ]
This title states the main finding of the study in the title itself; it reduces the curiosity of the reader, may point toward a bias on the part of the author, and hence is best avoided.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ]
This is the one which has a query or the research question in the title.[ 3 , 4 , 16 ] Though a query in the title has the ability to sensationalize the topic, and has more downloads (but less citations), it can be distracting to the reader and is again best avoided for a research article (but can, at times, be used for a review article).[ 3 , 6 , 16 , 17 ]
From a sentence construct point of view, titles may be nominal (capturing only the main theme of the study), compound (with subtitles to provide additional relevant information such as context, design, location/country, temporal aspect, sample size, importance, and a provocative or a literary; for example, see the title of this review), or full-sentence titles (which are longer and indicate an added degree of certainty of the results).[ 4 , 6 , 9 , 16 ] Any of these constructs may be used depending on the type of article, the key message, and the author's preference or judgement.[ 4 ]
Drafting a suitable title
A stepwise process can be followed to draft the appropriate title. The author should describe the paper in about three sentences, avoiding the results and ensuring that these sentences contain important scientific words/keywords that describe the main contents and subject of the paper.[ 1 , 4 , 6 , 12 ] Then the author should join the sentences to form a single sentence, shorten the length (by removing redundant words or adjectives or phrases), and finally edit the title (thus drafted) to make it more accurate, concise (about 10–15 words), and precise.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 ] Some journals require that the study design be included in the title, and this may be placed (using a colon) after the primary title.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 14 ] The title should try to incorporate the Patients, Interventions, Comparisons and Outcome (PICO).[ 3 ] The place of the study may be included in the title (if absolutely necessary), that is, if the patient characteristics (such as study population, socioeconomic conditions, or cultural practices) are expected to vary as per the country (or the place of the study) and have a bearing on the possible outcomes.[ 3 , 6 ] Lengthy titles can be boring and appear unfocused, whereas very short titles may not be representative of the contents of the article; hence, optimum length is required to ensure that the title explains the main theme and content of the manuscript.[ 4 , 5 , 9 ] Abbreviations (except the standard or commonly interpreted ones such as HIV, AIDS, DNA, RNA, CDC, FDA, ECG, and EEG) or acronyms should be avoided in the title, as a reader not familiar with them may skip such an article and nonstandard abbreviations may create problems in indexing the article.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] Also, too much of technical jargon or chemical formulas in the title may confuse the readers and the article may be skipped by them.[ 4 , 9 ] Numerical values of various parameters (stating study period or sample size) should also be avoided in the titles (unless deemed extremely essential).[ 4 ] It may be worthwhile to take an opinion from a impartial colleague before finalizing the title.[ 4 , 5 , 6 ] Thus, multiple factors (which are, at times, a bit conflicting or contrasting) need to be considered while formulating a title, and hence this should not be done in a hurry.[ 4 , 6 ] Many journals ask the authors to draft a “short title” or “running head” or “running title” for printing in the header or footer of the printed paper.[ 3 , 12 ] This is an abridged version of the main title of up to 40–50 characters, may have standard abbreviations, and helps the reader to navigate through the paper.[ 3 , 12 , 14 ]
Checklist for a good title
Table 1 gives a checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 ] Table 2 presents some of the titles used by the author of this article in his earlier research papers, and the appropriateness of the titles has been commented upon. As an individual exercise, the reader may try to improvise upon the titles (further) after reading the corresponding abstract and full paper.
Checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper
Some titles used by author of this article in his earlier publications and remark/comment on their appropriateness
The details of the abstract are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.
Importance of the abstract
The abstract is a summary or synopsis of the full research paper and also needs to have similar characteristics like the title. It needs to be simple, direct, specific, functional, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, self-sufficient, complete, comprehensive, scholarly, balanced, and should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 ] Writing an abstract is to extract and summarize (AB – absolutely, STR – straightforward, ACT – actual data presentation and interpretation).[ 17 ] The title and abstracts are the only sections of the research paper that are often freely available to the readers on the journal websites, search engines, and in many abstracting agencies/databases, whereas the full paper may attract a payment per view or a fee for downloading the pdf copy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 14 ] The abstract is an independent and stand-alone (that is, well understood without reading the full paper) section of the manuscript and is used by the editor to decide the fate of the article and to choose appropriate reviewers.[ 2 , 7 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] Even the reviewers are initially supplied only with the title and the abstract before they agree to review the full manuscript.[ 7 , 13 ] This is the second most commonly read part of the manuscript, and therefore it should reflect the contents of the main text of the paper accurately and thus act as a “real trailer” of the full article.[ 2 , 7 , 11 ] The readers will go through the full paper only if they find the abstract interesting and relevant to their practice; else they may skip the paper if the abstract is unimpressive.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] The abstract needs to highlight the selling point of the manuscript and succeed in luring the reader to read the complete paper.[ 3 , 7 ] The title and the abstract should be constructed using keywords (key terms/important words) from all the sections of the main text.[ 12 ] Abstracts are also used for submitting research papers to a conference for consideration for presentation (as oral paper or poster).[ 9 , 13 , 17 ] Grammatical and typographic errors reflect poorly on the quality of the abstract, may indicate carelessness/casual attitude on part of the author, and hence should be avoided at all times.[ 9 ]
Types of abstracts
The abstracts can be structured or unstructured. They can also be classified as descriptive or informative abstracts.
Structured and unstructured abstracts
Structured abstracts are followed by most journals, are more informative, and include specific subheadings/subsections under which the abstract needs to be composed.[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] These subheadings usually include context/background, objectives, design, setting, participants, interventions, main outcome measures, results, and conclusions.[ 1 ] Some journals stick to the standard IMRAD format for the structure of the abstracts, and the subheadings would include Introduction/Background, Methods, Results, And (instead of Discussion) the Conclusion/s.[ 1 , 2 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] Structured abstracts are more elaborate, informative, easy to read, recall, and peer-review, and hence are preferred; however, they consume more space and can have same limitations as an unstructured abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 18 ] The structured abstracts are (possibly) better understood by the reviewers and readers. Anyway, the choice of the type of the abstract and the subheadings of a structured abstract depend on the particular journal style and is not left to the author's wish.[ 7 , 10 , 12 ] Separate subheadings may be necessary for reporting meta-analysis, educational research, quality improvement work, review, or case study.[ 1 ] Clinical trial abstracts need to include the essential items mentioned in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials) guidelines.[ 7 , 9 , 14 , 19 ] Similar guidelines exist for various other types of studies, including observational studies and for studies of diagnostic accuracy.[ 20 , 21 ] A useful resource for the above guidelines is available at www.equator-network.org (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research). Unstructured (or non-structured) abstracts are free-flowing, do not have predefined subheadings, and are commonly used for papers that (usually) do not describe original research.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 10 ]
The four-point structured abstract: This has the following elements which need to be properly balanced with regard to the content/matter under each subheading:[ 9 ]
Background and/or Objectives: This states why the work was undertaken and is usually written in just a couple of sentences.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] The hypothesis/study question and the major objectives are also stated under this subheading.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ]
Methods: This subsection is the longest, states what was done, and gives essential details of the study design, setting, participants, blinding, sample size, sampling method, intervention/s, duration and follow-up, research instruments, main outcome measures, parameters evaluated, and how the outcomes were assessed or analyzed.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]
Results/Observations/Findings: This subheading states what was found, is longer, is difficult to draft, and needs to mention important details including the number of study participants, results of analysis (of primary and secondary objectives), and include actual data (numbers, mean, median, standard deviation, “P” values, 95% confidence intervals, effect sizes, relative risks, odds ratio, etc.).[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]
Conclusions: The take-home message (the “so what” of the paper) and other significant/important findings should be stated here, considering the interpretation of the research question/hypothesis and results put together (without overinterpreting the findings) and may also include the author's views on the implications of the study.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]
The eight-point structured abstract: This has the following eight subheadings – Objectives, Study Design, Study Setting, Participants/Patients, Methods/Intervention, Outcome Measures, Results, and Conclusions.[ 3 , 9 , 18 ] The instructions to authors given by the particular journal state whether they use the four- or eight-point abstract or variants thereof.[ 3 , 14 ]
Descriptive and Informative abstracts
Descriptive abstracts are short (75–150 words), only portray what the paper contains without providing any more details; the reader has to read the full paper to know about its contents and are rarely used for original research papers.[ 7 , 10 ] These are used for case reports, reviews, opinions, and so on.[ 7 , 10 ] Informative abstracts (which may be structured or unstructured as described above) give a complete detailed summary of the article contents and truly reflect the actual research done.[ 7 , 10 ]
Drafting a suitable abstract
It is important to religiously stick to the instructions to authors (format, word limit, font size/style, and subheadings) provided by the journal for which the abstract and the paper are being written.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] Most journals allow 200–300 words for formulating the abstract and it is wise to restrict oneself to this word limit.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 22 ] Though some authors prefer to draft the abstract initially, followed by the main text of the paper, it is recommended to draft the abstract in the end to maintain accuracy and conformity with the main text of the paper (thus maintaining an easy linkage/alignment with title, on one hand, and the introduction section of the main text, on the other hand).[ 2 , 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] The authors should check the subheadings (of the structured abstract) permitted by the target journal, use phrases rather than sentences to draft the content of the abstract, and avoid passive voice.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 12 ] Next, the authors need to get rid of redundant words and edit the abstract (extensively) to the correct word count permitted (every word in the abstract “counts”!).[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] It is important to ensure that the key message, focus, and novelty of the paper are not compromised; the rationale of the study and the basis of the conclusions are clear; and that the abstract is consistent with the main text of the paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 9 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ] This is especially important while submitting a revision of the paper (modified after addressing the reviewer's comments), as the changes made in the main (revised) text of the paper need to be reflected in the (revised) abstract as well.[ 2 , 10 , 12 , 14 , 22 ] Abbreviations should be avoided in an abstract, unless they are conventionally accepted or standard; references, tables, or figures should not be cited in the abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 ] It may be worthwhile not to rush with the abstract and to get an opinion by an impartial colleague on the content of the abstract; and if possible, the full paper (an “informal” peer-review).[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 11 , 17 ] Appropriate “Keywords” (three to ten words or phrases) should follow the abstract and should be preferably chosen from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of the U.S. National Library of Medicine ( https://meshb.nlm.nih.gov/search ) and are used for indexing purposes.[ 2 , 3 , 11 , 12 ] These keywords need to be different from the words in the main title (the title words are automatically used for indexing the article) and can be variants of the terms/phrases used in the title, or words from the abstract and the main text.[ 3 , 12 ] The ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors; http://www.icmje.org/ ) also recommends publishing the clinical trial registration number at the end of the abstract.[ 7 , 14 ]
Checklist for a good abstract
Table 3 gives a checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ]
Checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper
This review article has given a detailed account of the importance and types of titles and abstracts. It has also attempted to give useful hints for drafting an appropriate title and a complete abstract for a research paper. It is hoped that this review will help the authors in their career in medical writing.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest.
There are no conflicts of interest.
The author thanks Dr. Hemant Deshmukh - Dean, Seth G.S. Medical College & KEM Hospital, for granting permission to publish this manuscript.
How to Write an Abstract APA Format
Saul Mcleod, PhD
BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester
Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Learn about our Editorial Process
Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc
Associate Editor for Simply Psychology
BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education
Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.
An APA abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of an article, research paper, dissertation, or report.
It is written in accordance with the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is a widely used format in social and behavioral sciences.
An APA abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of between 150–250 words, the major aspects of a research paper or dissertation in a prescribed sequence that includes:
- The rationale: the overall purpose of the study, providing a clear context for the research undertaken.
- Information regarding the method and participants: including materials/instruments, design, procedure, and data analysis.
- Main findings or trends: effectively highlighting the key outcomes of the hypotheses.
- Interpretations and conclusion(s): solidify the implications of the research.
- Keywords related to the study: assist the paper’s discoverability in academic databases.
The abstract should stand alone, be “self-contained,” and make sense to the reader in isolation from the main article.
The purpose of the abstract is to give the reader a quick overview of the essential information before reading the entire article. The abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper.
Although the abstract will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s good practice to write your abstract after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.
Note : This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), released in October 2019.
Structure of the Abstract
[NOTE: DO NOT separate the components of the abstract – it should be written as a single paragraph. This section is separated to illustrate the abstract’s structure.]
1) The Rationale
One or two sentences describing the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated. You are basically justifying why this study was conducted.
- What is the importance of the research?
- Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
- For example, are you filling a gap in previous research or applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data?
- Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer can experience an array of psychosocial difficulties; however, social support, particularly from a spouse, has been shown to have a protective function during this time. This study examined the ways in which a woman’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue, and her spouse’s marital satisfaction predict the woman’s report of partner support in the context of breast cancer.
- The current nursing shortage, high hospital nurse job dissatisfaction, and reports of uneven quality of hospital care are not uniquely American phenomena.
- Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are more likely to exhibit behavioral difficulties than their typically developing peers. The aim of this study was to identify specific risk factors that influence variability in behavior difficulties among individuals with SEND.
2) The Method
Information regarding the participants (number, and population). One or two sentences outlining the method, explaining what was done and how. The method is described in the present tense.
- Pretest data from a larger intervention study and multilevel modeling were used to examine the effects of women’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue and average levels of mood, pain, and fatigue on women’s report of social support received from her partner, as well as how the effects of mood interacted with partners’ marital satisfaction.
- This paper presents reports from 43,000 nurses from more than 700 hospitals in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Germany in 1998–1999.
- The study sample comprised 4,228 students with SEND, aged 5–15, drawn from 305 primary and secondary schools across England. Explanatory variables were measured at the individual and school levels at baseline, along with a teacher-reported measure of behavior difficulties (assessed at baseline and the 18-month follow-up).
3) The Results
One or two sentences indicating the main findings or trends found as a result of your analysis. The results are described in the present or past tense.
- Results show that on days in which women reported higher levels of negative or positive mood, as well as on days they reported more pain and fatigue, they reported receiving more support. Women who, on average, reported higher levels of positive mood tended to report receiving more support than those who, on average, reported lower positive mood. However, average levels of negative mood were not associated with support. Higher average levels of fatigue but not pain were associated with higher support. Finally, women whose husbands reported higher levels of marital satisfaction reported receiving more partner support, but husbands’ marital satisfaction did not moderate the effect of women’s mood on support.
- Nurses in countries with distinctly different healthcare systems report similar shortcomings in their work environments and the quality of hospital care. While the competence of and relation between nurses and physicians appear satisfactory, core problems in work design and workforce management threaten the provision of care.
- Hierarchical linear modeling of data revealed that differences between schools accounted for between 13% (secondary) and 15.4% (primary) of the total variance in the development of students’ behavior difficulties, with the remainder attributable to individual differences. Statistically significant risk markers for these problems across both phases of education were being male, eligibility for free school meals, being identified as a bully, and lower academic achievement. Additional risk markers specific to each phase of education at the individual and school levels are also acknowledged.
4) The Conclusion / Implications
A brief summary of your conclusions and implications of the results, described in the present tense. Explain the results and why the study is important to the reader.
- For example, what changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work?
- How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?
Implications of these findings are discussed relative to assisting couples during this difficult time in their lives.
- Resolving these issues, which are amenable to managerial intervention, is essential to preserving patient safety and care of consistently high quality.
- Behavior difficulties are affected by risks across multiple ecological levels. Addressing any one of these potential influences is therefore likely to contribute to the reduction in the problems displayed.
The above examples of abstracts are from the following papers:
Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Sloane, D. M., Sochalski, J. A., Busse, R., Clarke, H., … & Shamian, J. (2001). Nurses’ reports on hospital care in five countries . Health affairs, 20(3) , 43-53.
Boeding, S. E., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Baucom, D. H., Porter, L. S., Kirby, J. S., Gremore, T. M., & Keefe, F. J. (2014). Couples and breast cancer: Women’s mood and partners’ marital satisfaction predicting support perception . Journal of Family Psychology, 28(5) , 675.
Oldfield, J., Humphrey, N., & Hebron, J. (2017). Risk factors in the development of behavior difficulties among students with special educational needs and disabilities: A multilevel analysis . British journal of educational psychology, 87(2) , 146-169.
APA style suggests including a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. This is particularly common in academic articles and helps other researchers find your work in databases.
Keywords in an abstract should be selected to help other researchers find your work when searching an online database. These keywords should effectively represent the main topics of your study. Here are some tips for choosing keywords:
Core Concepts: Identify the most important ideas or concepts in your paper. These often include your main research topic, the methods you’ve used, or the theories you’re discussing.
Specificity: Your keywords should be specific to your research. For example, suppose your paper is about the effects of climate change on bird migration patterns in a specific region. In that case, your keywords might include “climate change,” “bird migration,” and the region’s name.
Consistency with Paper: Make sure your keywords are consistent with the terms you’ve used in your paper. For example, if you use the term “adolescent” rather than “teen” in your paper, choose “adolescent” as your keyword, not “teen.”
Jargon and Acronyms: Avoid using too much-specialized jargon or acronyms in your keywords, as these might not be understood or used by all researchers in your field.
Synonyms: Consider including synonyms of your keywords to capture as many relevant searches as possible. For example, if your paper discusses “post-traumatic stress disorder,” you might include “PTSD” as a keyword.
Remember, keywords are a tool for others to find your work, so think about what terms other researchers might use when searching for papers on your topic.
The Abstract SHOULD NOT contain:
Lengthy background or contextual information: The abstract should focus on your research and findings, not general topic background.
Undefined jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms: The abstract should be accessible to a wide audience, so avoid highly specialized terms without defining them.
Citations: Abstracts typically do not include citations, as they summarize original research.
Incomplete sentences or bulleted lists: The abstract should be a single, coherent paragraph written in complete sentences.
New information not covered in the paper: The abstract should only summarize the paper’s content.
Subjective comments or value judgments: Stick to objective descriptions of your research.
Excessive details on methods or procedures: Keep descriptions of methods brief and focused on main steps.
Speculative or inconclusive statements: The abstract should state the research’s clear findings, not hypotheses or possible interpretations.
- Any illustration, figure, table, or references to them . All visual aids, data, or extensive details should be included in the main body of your paper, not in the abstract.
- Elliptical or incomplete sentences should be avoided in an abstract . The use of ellipses (…), which could indicate incomplete thoughts or omitted text, is not appropriate in an abstract.
APA Style for Abstracts
An APA abstract must be formatted as follows:
Include the running head aligned to the left at the top of the page (professional papers only) and page number. Note, student papers do not require a running head. On the first line, center the heading “Abstract” and bold (do not underlined or italicize). Do not indent the single abstract paragraph (which begins one line below the section title). Double-space the text. Use Times New Roman font in 12 pt. Set one-inch (or 2.54 cm) margins. If you include a “keywords” section at the end of the abstract, indent the first line and italicize the word “Keywords” while leaving the keywords themselves without any formatting.
Example APA Abstract Page
Download this example as a PDF
- APA 7th Edition Abstract and Keywords Guide
- Example APA Abstract
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How long should an APA abstract be?
An APA abstract should typically be between 150 to 250 words long. However, the exact length may vary depending on specific publication or assignment guidelines. It is crucial that it succinctly summarizes the essential elements of the work, including purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions.
Where does the abstract go in an APA paper?
In an APA formatted paper, the abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper. It’s typically the second page of the document. It starts with the word “Abstract” (centered and not in bold) at the top of the page, followed by the text of the abstract itself.
What are the 4 C’s of abstract writing?
The 4 C’s of abstract writing are an approach to help you create a well-structured and informative abstract. They are:
Conciseness: An abstract should briefly summarize the key points of your study. Stick to the word limit (typically between 150-250 words for an APA abstract) and avoid unnecessary details.
Clarity: Your abstract should be easy to understand. Avoid jargon and complex sentences. Clearly explain the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of your study.
Completeness: Even though it’s brief, the abstract should provide a complete overview of your study, including the purpose, methods, key findings, and your interpretation of the results.
Cohesion: The abstract should flow logically from one point to the next, maintaining a coherent narrative about your study. It’s not just a list of disjointed elements; it’s a brief story of your research from start to finish.
What is the abstract of a psychology paper?
An abstract in a psychology paper serves as a snapshot of the paper, allowing readers to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, results, and implications of the research without reading the entire paper. It is generally between 150-250 words long.
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- How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.
An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a 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:
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 .
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, 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 UK 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 proposal
- Applying for research grants
It’s easiest to write your abstract last, 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 topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised 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,” “analyse,” 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.
Next, summarise 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 generalisability 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 .
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 summarise 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 .
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 .
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.
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 summarises the contents of your paper.
An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 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 or 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, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper | Examples
What is a research paper abstract?
Research paper abstracts summarize your study quickly and succinctly to journal editors and researchers and prompt them to read further. But with the ubiquity of online publication databases, writing a compelling abstract is even more important today than it was in the days of bound paper manuscripts.
Abstracts exist to “sell” your work, and they could thus be compared to the “executive summary” of a business resume: an official briefing on what is most important about your research. Or the “gist” of your research. With the majority of academic transactions being conducted online, this means that you have even less time to impress readers–and increased competition in terms of other abstracts out there to read.
The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) notes that there are 12 questions or “points” considered in the selection process for journals and conferences and stresses the importance of having an abstract that ticks all of these boxes. Because it is often the ONLY chance you have to convince readers to keep reading, it is important that you spend time and energy crafting an abstract that faithfully represents the central parts of your study and captivates your audience.
With that in mind, follow these suggestions when structuring and writing your abstract, and learn how exactly to put these ideas into a solid abstract that will captivate your target readers.
Before Writing Your Abstract
How long should an abstract be.
All abstracts are written with the same essential objective: to give a summary of your study. But there are two basic styles of abstract: descriptive and informative . Here is a brief delineation of the two:
Of the two types of abstracts, informative abstracts are much more common, and they are widely used for submission to journals and conferences. Informative abstracts apply to lengthier and more technical research and are common in the sciences, engineering, and psychology, while descriptive abstracts are more likely used in humanities and social science papers. The best method of determining which abstract type you need to use is to follow the instructions for journal submissions and to read as many other published articles in those journals as possible.
Research Abstract Guidelines and Requirements
As any article about research writing will tell you, authors must always closely follow the specific guidelines and requirements indicated in the Guide for Authors section of their target journal’s website. The same kind of adherence to conventions should be applied to journal publications, for consideration at a conference, and even when completing a class assignment.
Each publisher has particular demands when it comes to formatting and structure. Here are some common questions addressed in the journal guidelines:
- Is there a maximum or minimum word/character length?
- What are the style and formatting requirements?
- What is the appropriate abstract type?
- Are there any specific content or organization rules that apply?
There are of course other rules to consider when composing a research paper abstract. But if you follow the stated rules the first time you submit your manuscript, you can avoid your work being thrown in the “circular file” right off the bat.
Identify Your Target Readership
The main purpose of your abstract is to lead researchers to the full text of your research paper. In scientific journals, abstracts let readers decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests or study. Abstracts also help readers understand your main argument quickly. Consider these questions as you write your abstract:
- Are other academics in your field the main target of your study?
- Will your study perhaps be useful to members of the general public?
- Do your study results include the wider implications presented in the abstract?
Outlining and Writing Your Abstract
What to include in an abstract.
Just as your research paper title should cover as much ground as possible in a few short words, your abstract must cover all parts of your study in order to fully explain your paper and research. Because it must accomplish this task in the space of only a few hundred words, it is important not to include ambiguous references or phrases that will confuse the reader or mislead them about the content and objectives of your research. Follow these dos and don’ts when it comes to what kind of writing to include:
- Avoid acronyms or abbreviations since these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader, which takes up valuable abstract space. Instead, explain these terms in the Introduction section of the main text.
- Only use references to people or other works if they are well-known. Otherwise, avoid referencing anything outside of your study in the abstract.
- Never include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract; you will have plenty of time to present and refer to these in the body of your paper.
Use keywords in your abstract to focus your topic
A vital search tool is the research paper keywords section, which lists the most relevant terms directly underneath the abstract. Think of these keywords as the “tubes” that readers will seek and enter—via queries on databases and search engines—to ultimately land at their destination, which is your paper. Your abstract keywords should thus be words that are commonly used in searches but should also be highly relevant to your work and found in the text of your abstract. Include 5 to 10 important words or short phrases central to your research in both the abstract and the keywords section.
For example, if you are writing a paper on the prevalence of obesity among lower classes that crosses international boundaries, you should include terms like “obesity,” “prevalence,” “international,” “lower classes,” and “cross-cultural.” These are terms that should net a wide array of people interested in your topic of study. Look at our nine rules for choosing keywords for your research paper if you need more input on this.
Research Paper Abstract Structure
As mentioned above, the abstract (especially the informative abstract) acts as a surrogate or synopsis of your research paper, doing almost as much work as the thousands of words that follow it in the body of the main text. In the hard sciences and most social sciences, the abstract includes the following sections and organizational schema.
Each section is quite compact—only a single sentence or two, although there is room for expansion if one element or statement is particularly interesting or compelling. As the abstract is almost always one long paragraph, the individual sections should naturally merge into one another to create a holistic effect. Use the following as a checklist to ensure that you have included all of the necessary content in your abstract.
1) Identify your purpose and motivation
So your research is about rabies in Brazilian squirrels. Why is this important? You should start your abstract by explaining why people should care about this study—why is it significant to your field and perhaps to the wider world? And what is the exact purpose of your study; what are you trying to achieve? Start by answering the following questions:
- What made you decide to do this study or project?
- Why is this study important to your field or to the lay reader?
- Why should someone read your entire article?
In summary, the first section of your abstract should include the importance of the research and its impact on related research fields or on the wider scientific domain.
2) Explain the research problem you are addressing
Stating the research problem that your study addresses is the corollary to why your specific study is important and necessary. For instance, even if the issue of “rabies in Brazilian squirrels” is important, what is the problem—the “missing piece of the puzzle”—that your study helps resolve?
You can combine the problem with the motivation section, but from a perspective of organization and clarity, it is best to separate the two. Here are some precise questions to address:
- What is your research trying to better understand or what problem is it trying to solve?
- What is the scope of your study—does it try to explain something general or specific?
- What is your central claim or argument?
3) Discuss your research approach
Your specific study approach is detailed in the Methods and Materials section . You have already established the importance of the research, your motivation for studying this issue, and the specific problem your paper addresses. Now you need to discuss how you solved or made progress on this problem—how you conducted your research. If your study includes your own work or that of your team, describe that here. If in your paper you reviewed the work of others, explain this here. Did you use analytic models? A simulation? A double-blind study? A case study? You are basically showing the reader the internal engine of your research machine and how it functioned in the study. Be sure to:
- Detail your research—include methods/type of the study, your variables, and the extent of the work
- Briefly present evidence to support your claim
- Highlight your most important sources
4) Briefly summarize your results
Here you will give an overview of the outcome of your study. Avoid using too many vague qualitative terms (e.g, “very,” “small,” or “tremendous”) and try to use at least some quantitative terms (i.e., percentages, figures, numbers). Save your qualitative language for the conclusion statement. Answer questions like these:
- What did your study yield in concrete terms (e.g., trends, figures, correlation between phenomena)?
- How did your results compare to your hypothesis? Was the study successful?
- Where there any highly unexpected outcomes or were they all largely predicted?
5) State your conclusion
In the last section of your abstract, you will give a statement about the implications and limitations of the study . Be sure to connect this statement closely to your results and not the area of study in general. Are the results of this study going to shake up the scientific world? Will they impact how people see “Brazilian squirrels”? Or are the implications minor? Try not to boast about your study or present its impact as too far-reaching, as researchers and journals will tend to be skeptical of bold claims in scientific papers. Answer one of these questions:
- What are the exact effects of these results on my field? On the wider world?
- What other kind of study would yield further solutions to problems?
- What other information is needed to expand knowledge in this area?
After Completing the First Draft of Your Abstract
Revise your abstract.
The abstract, like any piece of academic writing, should be revised before being considered complete. Check it for grammatical and spelling errors and make sure it is formatted properly.
Get feedback from a peer
Getting a fresh set of eyes to review your abstract is a great way to find out whether you’ve summarized your research well. Find a reader who understands research papers but is not an expert in this field or is not affiliated with your study. Ask your reader to summarize what your study is about (including all key points of each section). This should tell you if you have communicated your key points clearly.
In addition to research peers, consider consulting with a professor or even a specialist or generalist writing center consultant about your abstract. Use any resource that helps you see your work from another perspective.
Consider getting professional editing and proofreading
While peer feedback is quite important to ensure the effectiveness of your abstract content, it may be a good idea to find an academic editor to fix mistakes in grammar, spelling, mechanics, style, or formatting. The presence of basic errors in the abstract may not affect your content, but it might dissuade someone from reading your entire study. Wordvice provides English editing services that both correct objective errors and enhance the readability and impact of your work.
Additional Abstract Rules and Guidelines
Write your abstract after completing your paper.
Although the abstract goes at the beginning of your manuscript, it does not merely introduce your research topic (that is the job of the title), but rather summarizes your entire paper. Writing the abstract last will ensure that it is complete and consistent with the findings and statements in your paper.
Keep your content in the correct order
Both questions and answers should be organized in a standard and familiar way to make the content easier for readers to absorb. Ideally, it should mimic the overall format of your essay and the classic “introduction,” “body,” and “conclusion” form, even if the parts are not neatly divided as such.
Write the abstract from scratch
Because the abstract is a self-contained piece of writing viewed separately from the body of the paper, you should write it separately as well. Never copy and paste direct quotes from the paper and avoid paraphrasing sentences in the paper. Using new vocabulary and phrases will keep your abstract interesting and free of redundancies while conserving space.
Don’t include too many details in the abstract
Again, the density of your abstract makes it incompatible with including specific points other than possibly names or locations. You can make references to terms, but do not explain or define them in the abstract. Try to strike a balance between being specific to your study and presenting a relatively broad overview of your work.
If you think your abstract is fine now but you need input on abstract writing or require English editing services (including paper editing ), then head over to the Wordvice academic resources page, where you will find many more articles, for example on writing the Results , Methods , and Discussion sections of your manuscript, on choosing a title for your paper , or on how to finalize your journal submission with a strong cover letter .
Role of an Abstract in Research Paper With Examples
Why does one write an abstract? What is so intriguing about writing an abstract in research paper after writing a full length research paper? How do research paper abstracts or summaries help a researcher during research publishing? These are the most common and frequently pondered upon questions that early career researchers search answers for over the internet!
Table of Contents
What does Abstract mean in Research?
In Research, abstract is “a well-developed single paragraph which is approximately 250 words in length”. Furthermore, it is single-spaced single spaced. Abstract outlines all the parts of the paper briefly. Although the abstract is placed in the beginning of the research paper immediately after research title , the abstract is the last thing a researcher writes.
Why Is an Abstract Necessary in Research Paper?
Abstract is a concise academic text that –
- Helps the potential reader get the relevance of your research study for their own research
- Communicates your key findings for those who have time constraints in reading your paper
- And helps rank the article on search engines based on the keywords on academic databases.
Purpose of Writing an Abstract in Research
Abstracts are required for –
- Submission of articles to journals
- Application for research grants
- Completion and submission of thesis
- Submission of proposals for conference papers.
Aspects Included in an Abstract
The format of your abstract depends on the field of research, in which you are working. However, all abstracts broadly cover the following sections:
Reason for Writing
One can start with the importance of conducting their research study. Furthermore, you could start with a broader research question and address why would the reader be interested in that particular research question.
You could mention what problem the research study chooses to address. Moreover, you could elaborate about the scope of the project, the main argument, brief about thesis objective or what the study claims.
Furthermore, you could mention a line or two about what approach and specific models the research study uses in the scientific work. Some research studies may discuss the evidences in throughout the paper, so instead of writing about methodologies you could mention the types of evidence used in the research.
The scientific research aims to get the specific data that indicates the results of the project. Therefore, you could mention the results and discuss the findings in a broader and general way.
Finally, you could discuss how the research work contributes to the scientific society and adds knowledge on the topic. Also, you could specify if your findings or inferences could help future research and researchers.
Types of Abstracts
Based on the abstract content —, 1. descriptive.
This abstract in research paper is usually short (50-100 words). These abstracts have common sections, such as –
- Focus of research
- Overview of the study.
This type of research does not include detailed presentation of results and only mention results through a phrase without contributing numerical or statistical data . Descriptive abstracts guide readers on the nature of contents of the article.
This abstract gives the essence of what the report is about and it is usually about 200 words. These abstracts have common sections, such as –
- Aim or purpose
This abstract provides an accurate data on the contents of the work, especially on the results section.
Based on the writing format —
This type of abstract has a paragraph for each section: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Also, structured abstracts are often required for informative abstracts.
A semi-structured abstract is written in only one paragraph, wherein each sentence corresponds to a section. Furthermore, all the sections mentioned in the structured abstract are present in the semi-structured abstract.
In a non-structured abstract there are no divisions between each section. The sentences are included in a single paragraph. This type of presentation is ideal for descriptive abstracts.
Examples of Abstracts
Abstract example 1: clinical research.
Neutralization of Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 SARS-CoV-2 by 3 doses of BNT162b2 vaccine
Abstract: The newly emerged Omicron SARS-CoV-2 has several distinct sublineages including BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. BA.1 accounts for the initial surge and is being replaced by BA.2, whereas BA.3 is at a low prevalence at this time. Here we report the neutralization of BNT162b2-vaccinated sera (collected 1 month after dose 3) against the three Omicron sublineages. To facilitate the neutralization testing, we have engineered the complete BA.1, BA.2, or BA.3 spike into an mNeonGreen USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2. All BNT162b2-vaccinated sera neutralize USA-WA1/2020, BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s with titers of >20; the neutralization geometric mean titers (GMTs) against the four viruses are 1211, 336, 300, and 190, respectively. Thus, the BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s are 3.6-, 4.0-, and 6.4-fold less efficiently neutralized than the USA-WA1/2020, respectively. Our data have implications in vaccine strategy and understanding the biology of Omicron sublineages.
Type of Abstract: Informative and non-structured
Abstract Example 2: Material Science and Chemistry
Breaking the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via rotatable surface ligands
Abstract: Achieving versatile dispersion of nanoparticles in a broad range of solvents (e.g., water, oil, and biofluids) without repeatedly recourse to chemical modifications are desirable in optoelectronic devices, self-assembly, sensing, and biomedical fields. However, such a target is limited by the strategies used to decorate nanoparticle’s surface properties, leading to a narrow range of solvents for existing nanoparticles. Here we report a concept to break the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via electrochemically anchoring surface ligands capable of sensing the surrounding liquid medium and rotating to adapt to it, immediately forming stable dispersions in a wide range of solvents (polar and nonpolar, biofluids, etc.). Moreover, the smart nanoparticles can be continuously electrodeposited in the electrolyte, overcoming the electrode surface-confined low throughput limitation of conventional electrodeposition methods. The anomalous dispersive property of the smart Ag nanoparticles enables them to resist bacteria secreted species-induced aggregation and the structural similarity of the surface ligands to that of the bacterial membrane assists them to enter the bacteria, leading to high antibacterial activity. The simple but massive fabrication process and the enhanced dispersion properties offer great application opportunities to the smart nanoparticles in diverse fields.
Type of Abstract: Descriptive and non-structured
Abstract Example 3: Clinical Toxicology
Evaluation of dexmedetomidine therapy for sedation in patients with toxicological events at an academic medical center
Introduction: Although clinical use of dexmedetomidine (DEX), an alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist, has increased, its role in patients admitted to intensive care units secondary to toxicological sequelae has not been well established.
Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to describe clinical and adverse effects observed in poisoned patients receiving DEX for sedation.
Methods: This was an observational case series with retrospective chart review of poisoned patients who received DEX for sedation at an academic medical center. The primary endpoint was incidence of adverse effects of DEX therapy including bradycardia, hypotension, seizures, and arrhythmias. For comparison, vital signs were collected hourly for the 5 h preceding the DEX therapy and every hour during DEX therapy until the therapy ended. Additional endpoints included therapy duration; time within target Richmond Agitation Sedation Score (RASS); and concomitant sedation, analgesia, and vasopressor requirements.
Results: Twenty-two patients were included. Median initial and median DEX infusion rates were similar to the commonly used rates for sedation. Median heart rate was lower during the therapy (82 vs. 93 beats/minute, p < 0.05). Median systolic blood pressure before and during therapy was similar (111 vs. 109 mmHg, p = 0.745). Five patients experienced an adverse effect per study definitions during therapy. No additional adverse effects were noted. Median time within target RASS and duration of therapy was 6.5 and 44.5 h, respectively. Seventeen patients (77%) had concomitant use of other sedation and/or analgesia with four (23%) of these patients requiring additional agents after DEX initiation. Seven patients (32%) had concomitant vasopressor support with four (57%) of these patients requiring vasopressor support after DEX initiation.
Conclusion: Common adverse effects of DEX were noted in this study. The requirement for vasopressor support during therapy warrants further investigation into the safety of DEX in poisoned patients. Larger, comparative studies need to be performed before the use of DEX can be routinely recommended in poisoned patients.
Keywords: Adverse effects; Alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist; Overdose; Safety.
Type of Abstract: Informative and structured .
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How to Write a Good Abstract: Four Essential Elements with Example
This article shall guide you on how to write a good abstract. It lists the four essential elements of a good abstract, ideal number of words, and tense. The article ends with an example abstract of a real-life study with a supplemental video related to the findings.
After finishing your research paper, thesis, or scientific paper, there is a need for you to write the abstract. How is the abstract written? What are the essential elements of a good abstract?
If this is your first time, or you don’t feel confident about writing your first abstract, these tips are handy. I provide an example to demonstrate how it works.
Table of Contents
Why write the abstract.
Abstracts are indispensable references for scientists or students working on their research proposal; particularly, in preparing their literature review .
The information provided in the abstract must be sufficient to help the researcher decide whether the work is relevant to his or her interest or not. It should be brief but not lacking in essential elements to foster understanding of the research conducted. The abstract will also help the researcher decide whether to read the whole research paper or not.
Definition of an Abstract
An abstract is a summary of your research paper, thesis, or scientific paper. The abstract describes an unpublished or published research study in capsule form. It is a brief overview of the investigation so that researchers can comprehend the content of the research quickly. A good abstract is a mini-version of the whole research paper.
Four Essential Elements of a Good Abstract
So how should the abstract of a research paper be written so that readers will derive the maximum benefit from it?
In writing a good abstract, the critical sections of a research paper should be present. Generally, an informational abstract should sum up the main sections of the research paper, i.e., the introduction, the materials and methods used, the findings, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations. Therefore, it should contain the following essential elements:
1. Objective, aim, or purpose of the research paper
This part of the abstract mentions the study’s rationale. It states clearly the objective , aim, or purpose of the study. It answers the question: “Why do we care about the issue?”
It states the problem statement or the central argument or thesis statement . The relevance of the study in society is highlighted. Why did the researchers undertake the research? What is at stake?
2. Method or methodology that states the procedures used in the conduct of the study
The method or methodology part concisely describes the method or methodology employed in gathering the data, processing, and analysis. It gives a brief description of how the researcher or group of researchers performed the investigation. It includes the number of samples, instruments, and statistical tests used to analyze the data for quantitative researches. This part also gives a hint on the scope of the study.
This portion of the abstract tells us the perspective adopted by the researcher or researchers. It describes the types of evidence used.
The method or methodology part also mentions the key concepts, relevant keywords that make it distinct and searchable. It also describes the focus of the investigation, whether it is a group of people, a particular gender, race, community, environment, etc.
3. Results or major findings
This portion of the abstract summarizes the results or major findings of the study. It only states the significant results, most important ones, or highlights of the study in a sentence or a few sentences.
You can cite the probability values here to show the significance of computed correlations or differences. It emphasizes the practical importance of the findings; how those findings will add or enhance the body of knowledge on the issue.
4. Principal conclusion
This part of the research abstract states the principal conclusion of the study. After obtaining the findings, what did the researchers conclude?
The conclusion, in particular, should be given special attention in writing the abstract. The conclusion should be well supported by the findings of the investigation; not a sweeping statement without any valid argument or evidence to back it up.
Other considerations in writing the research abstract
Do you need to include recommendations in the research abstract?
In practice, some academic institutions or scientific journals do not incorporate recommendations in the abstract. Browsing through some published scientific papers, I discovered that some abstracts end with only significant findings. While it would be good practice to have information as mentioned here, some deviations do exist.
As an academician, reading research abstracts that tell very little of the salient findings of the paper, particularly those behind a paywall , causes frustration. I tend to think those abstracts work more as a marketing strategy rather than to disseminate important information.
For publicly-funded researches, where most researches almost always belong, withholding information for commercial gain, appears to be unethical or defeats the purpose of research. In the US, taxpayers spend $140 billion every year supporting research that they cannot access for free. That is why open-access publishing has gained popularity in recent years. However, authors still contend with the high costs of publication in open-access journals.
In truth, we can’t afford to be free riders as reliable and rigorous scientific publication requires time, money, and effort to produce. A candidate paper for publication requires intensive peer review , editing, and formatting to make it worthy of publication in reputable journals. But perhaps publishing companies also need to be reasonable in their charges as many reviewers give their services for free.
Finally, the references (e.g. name of author and date) should not be cited in the abstract unless the research paper involves an improvement or modification of a previously published method used by a researcher.
Number of Words
Many references on how to write a good abstract recommend that it should be short. But how short should the research abstract be?
If you submit a paper for inclusion in a conference presentation, organizers usually limit its length from 250 to 300 words. It is possible, however, to capture the essence of the paper in a few sentences.
Hence, the challenge is how to make the research abstract as short as possible, without leaving out the essential elements, that will cause readers to read the paper. The abstract serves as a teaser, a taste of the pie for readers to decide whether they will read the whole piece.
Abstracts should not exceed 250 words, but this number could vary depending on the prescribed number of words, say when you would like to submit your research paper to a popular scientific journal. A good abstract adheres to brevity.
The limited number of words required for the research abstract means that every word included in the abstract is necessary and should be coherent. Important information should fit into one paragraph. This format requires a little bit of thinking and practice for the beginning researcher.
Tense of the Abstract
In what tense should the abstract be written?
The abstract is usually written in the past tense because the investigation has transpired. However, statement of facts in, say, the results and discussion and the conclusion, must be in the present tense.
In recent years, however, many authors write in the active tense. They use the first-person perspective in writing the paper. You can see the following phrases in the abstract:
- We analyze five years of sample visitor data…
- We compare non-linear, Poisson, and negative binomial count data…
- In this study, I challenge these interpretations…
Ultimately, the journal of publication defines the manner of abstract writing. But if you want the reader to grasp what you want to convey, bringing all the elements together would be more useful to the reader.
Example of an Abstract
I provide an example of a good abstract abiding with the precepts advanced in this article. It is for you to judge if this meets your expectations.
Young children’s exposure to violent computer games
This report discusses a two-year study on the effect of exposing four to six-year-old children to violent computer games. The study involved 200 children in nursery schools whose aggressive tendencies and anti-social behavior were observed with their teachers’ cooperation. The computer games they played at home were likewise assessed with the help of their parents. A strong correlation between violent computer game use and aggressive tendencies was obtained. Violent computer games, especially interactive ones, caused greater aggressiveness and anti-social behavior among children.
Although concisely written, the abstract captures the essence of the study. You can easily understand what transpired in that study, determine its relevance to your particular research, and decide whether to read the whole paper or merely cite the findings to strengthen your argument. But it always pays to read at least the method or methodology section of the full paper. While the study’s results are highly socially relevant, you might want to critique the paper by meticulously examining how the data was gathered and analyzed.
The example of an abstract given here is a real-life situation, as Dr. Perry Wilson reports in the following video.
Notice in the video that the study has its limitations. The participants, while young (8 to 12 years old), were conscious that they were observed in a university laboratory. This set-up may have affected their behavior.
Again, delving into the methodology of the study pays off. You cannot just blindly accept any scientific finding. It is always subject to error.
Have your style by deviating a little from the convention. The point is, the abstract should be interesting enough such that readers will want to read your investigation, learn from it, or skip it because it’s not directly relevant to their interest.
Since you want others to discover your work, select keywords or phrases that capture the essence of your research. Popular search engines like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari need these keywords to effectively serve those who look for information on the issue that you cared to spend your time, money, and effort.
©P. A. Regoniel 9 November 2021
A Study on the Vision and Mission of the Palawan State University and the Goals and Program Objectives of its Graduate School
Open access journals and blogs in research.
Two Ultimate Reasons Why We Celebrate A Universal Christmas
About the author, patrick regoniel.
Dr. Regoniel, a faculty member of the graduate school, served as consultant to various environmental research and development projects covering issues and concerns on climate change, coral reef resources and management, economic valuation of environmental and natural resources, mining, and waste management and pollution. He has extensive experience on applied statistics, systems modelling and analysis, an avid practitioner of LaTeX, and a multidisciplinary web developer. He leverages pioneering AI-powered content creation tools to produce unique and comprehensive articles in this website.
I am writing an abstract on “reduce the use of antibiotics in food”…..can you help me out?
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Writing Tips for a Research Paper Abstract
Custom written research papers with abstracts.
A research paper abstract is an organized and a short summary of an in-depth discussion in any of the academic disciplines. The etymology of the word (“abs” “trahere’ = “bring away or derive from”) suggests that, more than just a summary, the essence of the abstracted article should be contained in the work. In this regard the statements of an abstract contain the gist of the essay topic of the dissertation , arranged in a relevant order.
Navigation through Writing Tips for a Research Paper Abstract Page:
Download a sample of a research paper with an abstract.
- An Abstract – main options on the subject plus
Rules/Tips of Abstract writing
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- Difference between an abstract and an introduction
Difference between an abstract and a summary
- Which types of papers require an abstract?
An Abstract – main options on the subject
2. A definition of the methodology used in the research. A research paper may contain practical experiments, case studies or questionnaires (e.g. marketing polling) to construct the empirical and statistical foundations of its thesis . The kind and degree of usage of concise or of all methods described in the specific research paper are discussed in this section of an abstract . Remember, that there are word limits, which you should follow.
3. The next section answers the question – “whether the researcher reached his aim and got results needed”.
4. The last section draws a valid conclusion drawn from the data in the previous section and may also contain recommendations for action or further research. It is very important for potential readers because your conclusion can become the answer to the numerous questions, or even make a discovery in certain spheres.
Remember, that sometimes key words are requested, so you should think over the main research paper and find the most suitable words that fully represent your work in right aspects.
Don’t forget about abstract size limitation (sometimes the maximum requires 500 words, not more).
It is important to use only firm conclusions and describe real results, obtained with different methods (see Main Options), without blurry phrases, started with “maybe” or “we suppose”.
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Research Paper with Abstracts Sample
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Difference between an abstract and an introduction (click the image to enlarge)
Introduction is an entry, preliminary information, which prefaces the main text. As usual it contains small pieces of information about the main subject, and is there to intrigue the readers and make them interested in further reading. Introduction is unlimited in number of words and can be up to… many pages, even dozens of pages. Introduction promises some results or useful information, but presents only suggestions, without revealing of all secrets. It consists of the sentence, main body and conclusion, which are usually unlimited in size.
On the contrary, research paper abstract consists of academic and strict information about the main subject of the work, e.g. main goals, methods, ways of gathering information, results and conclusions. And also abstract is small, up to 500 words or even less (no more than one page), so you need to make it short and very informative at the same time. An abstract usually is placed before introduction of the main text of research paper.
Thus, you can read an abstract and understand the main points of work, its features and objections, so you have the full picture of the work. While reading an introduction, you understand (generally) the sense, but don’t have the whole picture – only promises and allusions. Introduction should be masterfully written to make people read the whole work afterwards.
There are more question marks in the introduction, while the abstract suggests the results.
Talking about Research Paper Abstract , we should keep in mind that it is type of shortening of the main text, but it has specific features differentiating it among other types of writing works. Research paper abstract defines the main methods and directions of the whole work, describes results of its practical part, and conclusions to the whole work in a very neat form. The structure of an abstract is: concentration on problems described in main paper – methods and methodology – findings and results of the work – conclusion, all these points briefed as shortly as possible. Remember – an abstract is a brief nonfiction summary, up to 500 words (but no more than one page). As usual, abstract can be written using indirect speech (“a study represents”).
Summary (also known as synopsis ) is a type of shortening, a brief that describes the main points and ideas of the text (any text, not only academic; it can be made for fiction or non-fiction writings, articles etc). Summary has the following structure: preface (title, author and type of the text) – ideas, that author wanted to present – small conclusion. The second part of the summary consists solely of author’s ideas, described without quotations, retelling, interpretations, own opinion, written in present tense. Direct speech is forbidden, it’s better to use “author describes”, “the story is about” etc. Author’s ideas are summarized in chronological and logical order, without retelling, and represent the main points. Unlike research paper abstracts, summaries can be much larger, up to 5 pages or more (it depends). The main body of the summary shouldn’t include analysis, evaluations etc – just description of author’s ideas. But methodology is not mentioned in the abstract.
Abstracts are widely used in academic papers, in areas of medicine and science and have the same value and copyrights, as full papers have. Abstracts are made for different magazine articles, research papers of lower level, theses, reviews and some other sources, including those requiring APA-format .
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- Published: 08 November 2023
Study on incentive factors and incentive effect differences of teachers in universities and colleges under the view of demographic variables
- Danna Hao 1
BMC Psychology volume 11 , Article number: 379 ( 2023 ) Cite this article
The purpose of this study is to explore the factors of University Teachers’ motivation and the differences among the factors under different background variables. Based on a great deal of literatures, this paper classifies the incentive content of teachers in universities and colleges into two aspects: internal incentive and external incentive. Through constructing the incentive structure equation model, this paper analyzes and summarizes the influence factors of the incentive of teachers in universities and colleges from two aspects: internal incentive and external incentive, and finds that external incentive is divided into salary and welfare, organizational environment, career development, and internal incentive is divided into work achievement, individual value, as well as innovation incentive. On this basis, we find that there are significant differences in incentive level based on the characteristics of demographics. Among them, there are significant differences in the factors, including marital status and external incentive. There are significant differences in salary and welfare, organizational environment, work achievement and individual value among different ages. There are significant differences in career development of whether undertaking part-time administrative posts. There are significant differences in salary and welfare, organizational environment and career development among different teaching ages. There are significant differences in organizational environment and career development between different titles. There are significant differences in salary and welfare, organizational environment and incentive between different educational backgrounds, and there are significant differences in innovation incentive between different school types.
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At present, in the context of rapid socio-economic development in China and the rapid accumulation of talent resources for university teachers, universities need to stimulate their potential abilities and encourage them to actively engage in scientific research and teaching work, in order to enhance the core competitiveness of universities. At present, various universities in China have introduced various incentive systems to maximize the enthusiasm of teachers in their work and strive to improve their research and teaching performance. However, incentive failures often occur. Therefore, it is particularly important to design a scientific and reasonable incentive system to stimulate teachers’ work efforts. Based on demographic variables, understanding the incentive differences of university teachers under different characteristics can help improve the teaching incentive mechanism for university teachers, enhance their awareness and initiative in teaching, and improve the quality of talent cultivation. It is of great significance for current Chinese universities to achieve the incentive goal of “maximizing the talents of all” in their schools.
Definition of incentive concept and partition of factors
The term “incentive” is defined in the 7th edition of the Modern Chinese Dictionary with the meaning of stimulating and encouragement by emphasizing the potential incentive to satisfy one’s own individual needs; the English term “arouse” refers to the act or incentive to awaken or motivate a person to something, emphasizing the individual’s response to incentive. The concept in Chinese embodies external factors, while the concept in English reveals internal factors. The Latin word ‘Movere’ means taking action, stimulating, etc. The definition and understanding of motivation vary among different disciplines: motivation is the expression and exploration of emotions [ 1 ]. Motivation includes all the procedures involved in the process of initiation, stimulation, development, and termination, mainly reflecting the subjective reflection of the motivated person [ 2 ]. Motivation is the behavior taken by organizational members to meet their needs [ 3 ]. Motivation is a mediating variable that cannot be directly observed as an intrinsic change [ 4 ]. March believes that motivation is a reflection of the process, with the aim of urging members to achieve organizational goals [ 5 ]. Incentive is a programmatic process with guiding significance, which is often embodied in stimulating and encouraging, using some means, methods and means to fully explore the embodiment of active participation in the realization of organizational goals [ 6 ], whose essence is a kind of means, a kind of behavior embodiment, taking the needs of organizational members as the starting point, adopting many kinds of stimulating ways to guide the activities of organizational members to achieve organizational goals [ 7 ]. It is the way used by the members of the organization disgruntled with the present situation, and the behavior which causes the motivator actively to achieve the organizational goal, and in this process, it is divided into internal and external factors [ 8 ]. It is the reward of material and spirit, the way to unify the internal goals and organizational goals of the employees [ 9 ], and the stimulating process to the psychological incentive, so as to achieve the organizational goal by stimulating the behavior of people and promoting the work of the people [ 10 ]. Based on the existing research, this study defines incentive as a means to achieve organizational goals, which is a behavior performance based on meeting the needs of organizational members and achieving organizational goals.
Currently, the academic circle generally divides the incentive into internal incentive and external incentive by using the dichotomy method [ 11 ]. There are two kinds of internal needs of internal incentive: the need of ability and the need of self, and external incentive has influence on internal incentive. When external incentive exists, it will reduce its independent ability, thus weakening the effect of internal incentive [ 12 ]. When external incentives do not have an impact on internal incentives, and external incentives are added to internal incentives, it actually reduces the existing incentive effect [ 13 ]. Cognitive evaluation theory proposes two incentive effects: internal motivation and external motivation [ 14 ]. Internal incentive includes achievement, and external incentive includes salary and promotion, etc. [ 15 ]. Motivation can be divided into personal factors and environmental factors [ 16 ]. The external is the objective environment, and the internal is the subjective factor [ 17 ]. For external factors and internal factors, specific internal factors are their own ability and effort, while external factors are luck and objective environment [ 18 ]. Qin alvalidated the factors that affect the motivational factors of university teachers through empirical research and established an incentive model. He believed that motivation is a synthesis of various factors, centered on individual needs. When external and internal incentives play a role, the relationship between their variables will also change [ 19 ]. The content of incentive is categorized as work itself, salary and welfare, career development, organizational environment, individual value, interpersonal relationship, growth development, work environment, performance evaluation, growth incentive, value incentive, recognition incentive, work incentive, safeguard incentive, as well as environment incentive, etc. [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 ].
To sum up, this study divides external incentive into salary and welfare, organizational environment and career development, and internal incentive into work achievement, individual value and innovation incentive.
Draw a research framework diagram based on the research content (Figure 1 )
Superimposition and reconstruction of the pre-µCT and post-µCT images of representative samples in each group. From left to right: Obturation material (green), remaining obtruration material post-retreatment (red), superimposed image, occlusal view, occluso-mesial view, and occluso-distal view. (a) PTNc, (b) RB, (c) PTNa, and (d) VR.
Questionnaire design of incentive for teachers in universities and colleges
Through literature reading, interview, reference with general scale and so on, the author finally forms the external incentive and internal incentive questionnaire for teachers in universities and colleges, the specific external incentive salary and welfare include: (1) The income will affect my work enthusiasm; (2) The income gap with others will affect my work enthusiasm; (3) The salary will affect my enthusiasm for the job; (4) The more the class hours, the higher the reward; (5) I was paid accordingly for my work. organizational environment include: (1) I can accept all the rules and regulations of the school; (2) I have the opportunity to participate in school decision-making and management; (3) At present, I am satisfied with the school’s teaching facilities, conditions and so on; (4) School management can listen to teachers; (5) I quite agree with the idea of running a school; (6) The school has created a good condition for me to learn and study further。career development include: (1) I am satisfied with the present promotion system; (2) I attach great importance to the promotion of positions and titles; (3) Promotion, and training, etc. can stimulate my enthusiasm for work; (4) There is a chance of promotion through hard work; (5) Promotion is the embodiment of personal development. The specific internal incentive work achievement include: (1) I enjoy the growth brought by my work; (2) I have strong autonomy in my work and can arrange my time reasonably; (3) The new courses and scientific research are challenging and give me incentive; (4) I am loved by my students and respected by my peers; (5) I can arrange the contents of the class according to the actual situation. individual value include: (1) At the moment, my job is what interests me; (2) My work gives expression to my value; (3) I love my job; (4) My work keeps motivating me; (5) I can work for a long time in a row and I enjoy the process. innovation incentive include: (1) I am open to new challenges and new things at work; (2) Solving new problems can make me happy; (3) I will try to solve the dilemma in a new way; (4) I like to bring up new ideas, philosophy and invent new technologies; (5) I enjoy my free play very much.
Research objects and basic information questionnaire
In this paper, teachers from education and research colleges and universities are taken as the study object. According to Minglong Wu(2009) on the number of samples, generally speaking, more than 200 samples can be called a medium-sized sample. If we want to pursue stable SEM analysis results, the number of samples tested should be 200 or above. Accordingly, given the research objectives, the overall framework of the study, a total of 400 questionnaires was distributed in the ways of field distribution, network distribution, as well as on-site academic conference. Among which, 375 questionnaires were collected, of which 337 were valid questionnaires. By analyzing the basic data of teachers, it is found that the distribution is reasonable and provides a strong data guarantee for further research (see Table 1 ).
In this study, for convenience, dimensions are expressed in capital letters, in which salary and welfare—XCFL, organizational environment—ZZHJ, career development—ZYFZ, work achievement—GZCJ, individual value—GRJZ, and innovation incentive—CXJL.
Exploratory factor analysis of incentive factor
The reliability test is a consideration of the internal consistency and stability of the questionnaire [ 25 ]. In general, when Cronbach ’α Alpha is greater than 0.7, the questionnaire only has good reliability. In this study, SPSS23.0 was used to analyze the data of the questionnaire. By measuring the reliability of the questionnaire in 6 dimensions, the overall value of the questionnaire was 0.912, and the salary and welfare was 0.750, the organizational environment was 0.848, the career development was 0.769, the work achievement was 0.771, the individual value was 0.858, and the innovation incentive was 0.843. Cronbach ’α Alpha values exceeded 0.7, indicating that the questionnaire had good reliability.
The KMO and Bartlett’s sphericity test of the questionnaire were measured. The results showed that the KMO value was 0.904. The factor analysis was carried out by the maximum variance method, and the first six factors were extracted when the seventh factor leveled off based on the scree plot. The first six factors were salary and welfare, organizational environment, career development, work achievement, individual value, as well as innovation incentive, with the cumulative variance contribution rate being 61.221%. According to the component matrix after rotation, the factor of salary and welfare 4 less than 0.5 is eliminated (The more the class hours, the higher the reward). salary and welfare 5 (I was paid accordingly for my work), career development 1 (I am satisfied with the present promotion system), work achievement 1 (I enjoy the growth brought by my work), see Table 2 .
Cronbach’s Alpha after deleting the item was tested, the overall Cronbach’s Alpha was 0.899, including salary and welfare 0.904, organizational environment 0.848, career development 0.784, work achievement 0.739, individual value 0.858 and innovation incentive 0.843, which further illustrated that the questionnaire was credible.
The composition reliability, convergence validity and difference validity of AMOS22.0 were analyzed. Composition reliability is an index to measure the consistency of the items in the dimension. It is suggested that the ideal value is greater than 0.5. 0.36 to 0.5 is the acceptable threshold [ 26 ]. In this study, CR value is 0.907, 0.849, 0.789, 0.802, 0.868 and 0.848, respectively, and all the indexes are greater than 0.6, showing good consistency of each dimension. In this study, convergent validity was 0.765, 0.489, 0.484, 0.509, 0.570 and 0.531 (see Table 3 ), respectively, showing good convergence validity among items.
The discriminant validity was calculated by the way of root opening. Sort was selected under AVE, and then the AVE was calculated by root opening and the root of each ave is larger than that of other related facets [ 27 ]. For example, the correlation value of social service is greater than that of other related dimensions,showing that there is difference validity between social service dimension and other dimensions. By analogy, the root values of AVE of education and teaching, organizational dedication, scientific research, innovation incentive, personal value, social service, work achievement, career development and avoidance of loss are0.755、0.713、0.696、0.699、0.875(see Table 4 ), respectively,all of which were greater than those of other dimensions. So there is there is difference validity between various dimensions given above.
Kline (2010) believed that the distribution of samples in variables would be abnormal if the kurtosis coefficient was greater than 8 and the skewness coefficient of the variable was greater than 3 [ 26 ]. Based on the normal distribution results, the observed variables were coincident with the normal distribution (see Table 5 ).
Analysis of empirical results
The model fitting degree of structural equation model was analyzed through structural equation model, and the initial model of external incentive of teachers in universities and colleges was formed, among which, the square value was 225.814, the degree of freedom was 62, the ratio of square value to the degree of freedom was 3.642, GFI was 0.905, AGFI was 0.860, NFI was 0.892, IFI was 0.920, TLI was 0.898, CFI was 0.919 and RMSEA was 0.089. Among them, the ratio of chi-square value to the degree of freedom did not meet the standard of less than 3, and RMSEA did not meet the limit of less than 0.08. Therefore, the model is modified according to the correction index. After the correction, the chi-square value was 167.258, the degree of freedom was 61, the ratio of chi-square value to the degree of freedom was 2.742, GFI was 0.929, AGFI was 0.894, NFI was 0.920, IFI was 0.948, TLI was 0.933, CFI was 0.947, and RMSEA was 0.072, and the fitting degree reached the standard (see Fig. 2 ).
The final model of external incentive for University Teachers
The model fitting degree of structural equation model was analyzed through structural equation model, and the initial model of external incentive of teachers in universities and colleges was formed, among which, the square value was 268.370, the degree of freedom was 74, the ratio of square value to the degree of freedom was 3.627, GFI was 0.882, AGFI was 0.833, NFI was 0.883, IFI was 0.912, TLI was 0.892, CFI was 0.912 and RMSEA was 0.088. Among them, the ratio of chi-square value to the degree of freedom did not meet the standard of less than 3, and RMSEA did not meet the limit of less than 0.08. Therefore, the model is modified according to the correction index. After the correction, the chi-square value was 194.371, the degree of freedom was 71, the ratio of chi-square value to the degree of freedom was 2.738, GFI was 0.918, AGFI was 0.879, NFI was 0.915, IFI was 0.945, TLI was 0.928, CFI was 0.944, and RMSEA was 0.072, and the fitting degree reached the standard (see Fig. 3 ).
The final model of external motivation for University Teachers
Verification and conclusion of incentive differences under demographic variables
Based on the characteristics of teachers’ groups, this study explores the significance of incentive factors for teachers in universities and colleges in different backgrounds. Because of the differences in the number and mode of the item design of demographic variables, the main ways of this study are independent sample t-test, single factor variance analysis, and so on. By comparing the different dimensions of incentive factors, the differences among teachers in gender, education and school categories are further analyzed.
Incentive significance analysis based on individual basic characteristics.
There were significant differences for marriage status in salary and welfare, organizational environment, career development, work achievement, individual value and innovation incentive, and the incentive of unmarried to salary and welfare was significantly higher than that of married to salary and welfare.
As for age comparison, there were significant differences in salary and welfare, organizational environment, work achievement and individual value among different ages. Among them, there were significant differences between 30 years old and 46 ~ 50 years old and 51 years old and above in salary and welfare. The average age of 30 years old and below was significantly higher than that of 46 ~ 50 years old and 51 years old or above, 31 ~ 35 years old, 36 ~ 40 years old and 46 ~ 50 years old, and the average age of 31 ~ 35 years old and 36 ~ 40 years old was significantly higher than that of 46 ~ 50 years old. 30 years old and below and 31 ~ 35 years old, 36 ~ 40 years old, 41 ~ 45 years old, 46 ~ 50 years old had significant difference in terms of organizational environment, and the average age of 30 years old and below was significantly higher than that of 31 ~ 35 years old, 36 ~ 40 years old, 41 ~ 45 years old, 46 ~ 50 years old, and 41 ~ 50 years old and 51 years old and above had significant difference, 36 ~ 40 years old and 51 years old and above had significant difference, and the average age of 51 years old and above was higher than the average age of 36 ~ 40 years old and 41 ~ 50 years old; in terms of work achievement, there were significant differences between 36 ~ 40 years old and 30 years old and below, 31 ~ 35 years old, 41 ~ 45 years old, 46 ~ 50 years old, 50 years old and above, and 41 ~ 45 years old and 36 ~ 40 years old, there were significant differences between 51 years and above and 36 ~ 40 years, and the average age of 30 years old and below and 51 years old and above was significantly higher than that of 31 ~ 35 years old, 36 ~ 40 years old, 41 ~ 45 years old and 46 ~ 50 years old; in terms of individual value, there were significant differences between 36 ~ 40 years old and 30 years old and below, 41 ~ 45 years old and 51 years old and above, and the average age of 30 years old and below and 51 years old and above were significantly higher than those of 31 ~ 35 years old, 36 ~ 40 years old, 41 ~ 45 years old and 46 ~ 50 years old.
Analysis of incentive significance based on job characteristics.
Whether part-time administrative posts or not had significant difference in career development, and having part-time administrative posts had more influence on career development incentive than that of having no part-time administrative posts, it shows that teachers with administrative posts preferred to break through themselves in the career development.
The comparison of teaching age shows that there were significant differences in salary and welfare, organizational environment, career development and job achievement incentive among different teaching age. Among them, there were significant differences between 2 ~ 10 years and 11 ~ 20 years, 21 ~ 30 years, and 31 years and above, and the average of 2 ~ 10 years was significantly higher than that of other years. In organizational environment, there were significant differences between within 1 year and 2 ~ 10 years, 11 ~ 20 years and 21 ~ 30 years, and the average value within 1 year was significantly higher than that of other years. In terms of career development, there were significant differences between 11 ~ 20 years and within 1 year and 2 ~ 10 years, and the average value of 1 year and within was obviously higher than that of other years; in terms of work achievement, there were significant differences between 11 ~ 20 years and 1 years and within, 2 ~ 10 years, 31 years and above, and the average value of 31 years and above was obviously higher than that of other years, 2 ~ 10 years is more sensitive to salary and welfare incentive, and perhaps it is because that the teachers at this periods were unstable and wanted to improve life through salary and welfare incentive; teachers with teaching experience within 1 year were curious about working environment, so they paid more attention to the campus environment, cultural atmosphere, and so on, at the same time, they strove to participate in various activities to promote themselves through such activities after being employed, in order to adapt to and integrate into the role of teachers faster; teachers who have been teaching for 31 years or more were more sensitive to job achievement incentives, and on the basis of meeting other needs, such teachers wanted to be successful in their positions to prove their self-worth.
There were significant differences between different titles, organizational environment and career development in the comparison of titles. In the organizational environment, there were significant differences between teaching assistant and lecturer, associate professor, and the average value of assistant professor was higher than that of other professional titles. In the career development, there were significant differences between assistant professor, teaching assistant and professor, and the average value of professors was higher than that of other professional titles, and maybe professors began to pay attention to higher development after realizing the promotion of professional titles, such as administrative promotion.
Incentive significance analysis based on educational background.
There were significant differences in salary and welfare, and organizational environment incentive between different educational backgrounds. In terms of salary and welfare, there were significant differences between undergraduate and below and master, doctor and above, the average of doctor and above was higher than that of undergraduate and below and master; in terms of organizational environment, there were significant differences between undergraduate and below and master, and the average value of undergraduate and below and master was higher than that of other educational background. In the survey, bachelor’s degree teachers paid more attention to the school environment including cultural atmosphere.
Incentive significance analysis based on school category.
Different schools had significant differences in innovation incentive, and universities that participate in China’s construction plan of world-class universities and first-class disciplines were significantly higher in innovation incentive than ordinary undergraduate universities, reflecting that universities that participate in China’s construction plan of world-class universities and first-class disciplines were more innovative.
Discussion and suggestion
By the research, it is found that the university or the competent department should make appropriate adjustments and changes based on the actual characteristics of university teachers when making relevant measures, so as to improve the performance of teachers in universities and colleges through incentive policy.
Based on the analysis of personal characteristics, it is recommended to adopt a "one matter, one discussion" approach based on marital status in response to differences in salary and benefits. When formulating incentive policies, different reward policies should be adopted based on marital status. In response to differences in organizational environment, incentives are given to relatively young teachers based on their age, and more suitable reward methods are given to create a youthful office space. In response to the differences in work achievements and personal values, young teachers have more needs and energy. They have active thinking and strong innovation, and hope to have more opportunities to showcase themselves. They also hope to showcase their value through their own abilities. In terms of incentive policies, they should focus on stimulating young people and helping young teachers, while older teachers have differences in personal values compared to other age groups. In response to this result, In terms of policy formulation, it is recommended to establish a “model promotion” model, encourage older teachers to drive young teachers and form “assistance groups”, so that the elderly can reflect their value through imparting experience and other forms. Based on the analysis of job characteristics, distinguish the incentive methods for teachers who assume administrative positions from those who do not, so that teachers with administrative expertise can develop through the promotion of administrative positions. According to different teaching years, the salary and benefits of teachers who have worked for 2-10 years are more effective, indicating that teachers at this stage may have just entered the workforce, and stable economic income and additional benefits are directly related to their lives. Therefore, when formulating policies, different forms of incentives should be given based on the characteristics of teaching years and their concerns. Encourage young teachers more, provide them with more opportunities for promotion and external communication, and focus on their job growth. Set corresponding incentive methods based on the characteristics displayed by different professional titles. Based on the analysis of educational background, due to historical reasons, most teachers with bachelor’s degrees are older and have a long teaching experience. Therefore, incentive measures for such teachers should be based on the teaching environment, personal respect of teachers, and the school’s overall policy of valuing older teachers. However, promotion incentives for university teachers with master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as those with bachelor’s and below degrees, are more sensitive, Therefore, adopting direct teaching and scientific research performance evaluation is more appropriate. Based on the analysis of school categories, due to the degree of policy inclination, allocation of education funds, quality of student resources, and uneven regional economic development, local universities have weaker incentives for innovation than double first-class universities. Therefore, the innovation incentive policies of local universities must have “local” characteristics, and formulate teacher incentive policies that are suitable for the actual situation of the school based on the location of the school, On the one hand, it is necessary to establish an incentive system for talents to be “retained”, ensuring that effective incentive measures can provide a good teaching and research environment for local university teachers. On the other hand, it is necessary to develop ". On the other hand, it is necessary to establish a “introduced” incentive system to ensure that the school’s talent incentive system maintains strong attractiveness, in order to ensure the stable growth of talent resources in universities.
Lay emphasis on the material needs of teachers and pay attention to the needs of teachers’ lives.
In the aspect of salary and welfare, unmarried teachers’ desire for salary is much higher than that of married teachers. Therefore, we should refine the key points according to the needs of teachers at different levels and insist on the combination of material and spirit, so as to put forward corresponding incentive measures when making incentive mechanism for teachers.
Scientific and rational construction of teacher incentive and evaluation system.
First of all, incentive policy should be specific and clear, and directly related to the performance of teachers, and at the same time, in terms of the operation, it should be simple and clear; in the specific policy-making, the corresponding policies should be made in accordance with different technical posts, to rationally analyze and accurately position by adhering to the concept of fairness and justice; in addition, the assessment should be diversified, with overall consideration and dynamic design, and it should be adjusted timely according to the changes in the environment and so on, and at the same time, the regular and irregular incentives should be combined to make teachers work hard to achieve their goals.
Multiple needs coexist to create more opportunities for achievement.
The demand of teachers with different background information is different. Only teachers with different background and different groups can see the hope and be encouraged, so that the whole teacher team can be full of vitality, especially for teachers with lower educational background, younger age and lower professional title, it should provide greater opportunities for promotion and development for them, which is an important measure to promote teachers’ incentive. At the same time, in the process of adjusting teacher incentive factors, we should pay attention to the importance of smooth transition, so as to avoid the big shock caused by the change.
The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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The author want to thank all anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.
Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education Research Program Funding: Research on the Motivation Factors and Performance Relationships of Young Teachers in Western Regions in the New Era (22JK0068); Weinan Normal University Talent Project: Research on the Reconstruction of the Relationship between the Incentive Model and Performance Evaluation System for Local University Teachers (2022RC06).
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Hao, D. Study on incentive factors and incentive effect differences of teachers in universities and colleges under the view of demographic variables. BMC Psychol 11 , 379 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-023-01426-6
Received : 05 June 2023
Accepted : 02 November 2023
Published : 08 November 2023
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-023-01426-6
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- Incentive factors
- Demographic variables
- Teachers in universities and colleges
ORIGINAL RESEARCH article
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Advances in Geomechanics Research and Application for Deep Unconventional Reservoirs
Fracturing Fluid Flow Characteristics in Shale Gas Matrix-Fracture System based on NMR Method
- 1 Shale Gas Research Institute，PetroChina Southwest Oil and Gas Field Company, China
- 2 Petrochina Southwest Oil and Gas Field Company, China
- 3 China University of Petroleum (East China), China
The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.
To understand the occurrence state of fracturing fluid in shale gas matrix-fracture system, an experimental method for evaluating fracturing fluid flow characteristics in matrix-fracture system was established. By using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance method, the flow characteristics of fracturing fluid were investigated from three processes of filtration, well shut-in and flowback. The T2 spectrum of fracturing fluid flow process and fracturing fluid saturation in matrix-fracture core model were clarified.The results showdemonstrate that the peak area of T2 spectra increases gradually during the filtration process, and the fracturing fluid quickly fills the fractures and matrix pores. During the well shut-in process, the fracturing fluid gradually flows from the fracture space to the matrix pores, and the signal of the matrix pores increases by 50.5%. During the flowback process, fracturing fluid flows out of the matrix and fracture. And when it reaches a stable state, the peak signal in the fracture decreases by 64.5% and the matrix signal decreasesreduces by 18.8%. The better the porosity and permeability characteristics of the core, the more likely the fracturing fluid is to stay in the formation and cannot be discharged. This paper would contribute to basic parameters for shale gas fracturing design and production strategy optimization.
Keywords: shale gas, Matrix-fracture system, Fracturing fluid, Occurrence characteristics, Flow behavior
Received: 13 Oct 2023; Accepted: 13 Nov 2023.
Copyright: © 2023 Wu, Yang, Li, Liu, Chen, Huang, Wang and Sun. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
* Correspondence: Mx. Yongpeng Sun, China University of Petroleum (East China), Dongying, China