The first thing to remember: an abstract is a brief description of a research article, not a retelling. It is typically a short summary of the completed research. The main purpose of an abstract is to provide insight into a research project. It should give a clear explanation of the subject, attract readers’ attention and make them want to learn more about the research.
Irrespective of a field of research, every abstract should include four main types of information.
- It should state the main objective and rationale of the project.
- It should briefly describe the methods used to achieve the objectives.
- It should list the results of the research work.
- It should outline implications and contributions to its field.
The main task of any abstract is to tell the reader about the project scope, its peculiarities and practical use. Therefore the text should be concise, clear and easy for understanding. An abstract should provide the reader with information allowing to create an overall impression of a research work. That is why it should be objective and contain actual facts.
Particular attention should be given to the style. It is better to avoid long and complex sentences. Research articles are never written from the first person, so an abstract should not contain such phrases as “in my paper”, “I believe”, “from my point of view” etc. Do not copy key sentences from the paper and summarize information in a new way. It is better to avoid standard popular phrases as they may distract readers’ attention and make no impression.
An average size of an abstract is 120 words. Thus, despite of being quite short, it should have a nice flow. Every word should be carefully chosen for an abstract to give an optimal amount of information in a way that is easy to read. If your abstract is still too long, look for unnecessary adjectives or other modifiers that do not make it easier to understand the content. Look for places where you repeat yourself, and remove all unnecessary information.
It may seem uneasy to reduce the whole paper to 10-15 sentences that will let a reader get to the bottom of the matter. Therefore an abstract should be carefully planned. To tell it short, keep it essential and straightforward. Follow these simple tips and your abstract will definitely catch the attention of readers and make your paper stand out against many others.