When you’re writing a research paper, abstract section is the last thing that you have to worry about. This is written after everything in the paper is done because this will serve as a sneak peek to what the paper is all about and whether the reader should continue reading or not.

Some guidelines and rules of formatting a research paper applies in the abstract section, like double spacing and how the citations should be written. The information included in the abstract should also depend if it is an informational or descriptive type of abstract.

Qualities of a Good Abstract

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which is also the basis for the research paper format in APA style, the following four qualities make up a good abstract:

  • Accuracy. Present only information that are facts, a clear purpose and content of the paper.
  • Concise. Give the idea of the paper. Abstract section is limited, so take the important points of the paper that could relate to other concepts.
  • Non-evaluative. Do not try to persuade readers, just give a clear report of your paper.
  • Coherent and readable. Active voice is preferred. Use understandable terminologies.

Steps to Writing an Effective Abstract

  • Take out the main objectives, major hypothesis, and conclusion from the sections Introduction and Conclusion.
  • Choose the significant part of the Methods.
  • Determine the essential findings from the Results section.
  • After deciding the important information you have selected from the first four steps, arrange these details then form a paragraph using those information in the same sequence of sections in your paper.
  • Make sure that the information in the paragraph are all found in the paper itself.
  • Compare from research paper samples or check if the word count and data found in the abstract meets the standard rules and guideline of the chosen format or journal.

What Should Be Included in the Abstract for Research

Keep in mind that abstract section should be place after the cover pages for research paper, but before the main body of the paper. There are two types of abstract: informational and descriptive. The latter does not include results, conclusion, and recommendation, so readers must read the report to learn the results. The abstract should include mainly the research problem or research question, how this research is significant or relevant, what are the methods used in the research, participants involved, as well as the results, findings, and comment of the author.

10-Step Guide to Making Your Research Paper Abstract More Effective

You could also use the guide to writing a research paper for the steps on how to write other related sections and subsections of the paper.

  • Make your abstract reader friendly.
  • Keep it concise.
  • Be accurate.
  • Organize your contents.
  • Remember the purpose of abstract. This is to report and not to evaluate or persuade the readers.
  • Cut the irrelevant and information that are not necessary.
  • Avoid wordiness.
  • Don’t make it too long or too short.
  • Make sure the information you included are all found in the current paper.
  • Add keywords.

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