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An abstract is a short summary or short description of your research paper. Usually, it’s length is from 5 to 8 sentences. So, let’s discuss how to write an abstract for a research paper and what its main purposes are.
The main purposes of an abstract
- The abstract should enable readers to quickly understand the essence of your work or article;
- the abstract announces more extensive details in the article or work itself;
- the abstract also highlights the key points of the article or paper.
Writing your abstract research paper section can sometimes be difficult because you were the one who wrote your research paper. You know all of its details and features in a very intimate way, which means you have a harder time figuring out what to leave in and leave out of your abstract.
Many students make the mistake of writing it and then filling it with so much information that it becomes a large summary rather than a short abstract. In some cases, it is easier to have another person read your paper and write this part of the work too. Nevertheless, here is a quick guide and some tips on how to write an abstract for a research paper.
So, how to write an abstract for a research paper
You write an abstract for research paper by taking the meaning of your paper and putting it into a smaller and more condensed nugget that will hopefully sum up your work. Some people think that an abstract research paper contains actual parts of the research people, a bit like a large quote, but that is very rarely the case.
Think of a research paper abstract like the blurb on the back of a book. In the olden days, books were written and printed on paper and cards. People often judged a book by its cover (because how else would you judge a book without reading it?), and they turn to the back of the book to read a book “Blurb.”
The book “Blurb” gave the best features of the book, it explained it a little, and it summed up what it was all about. Your abstract for research paper will be similar to this with just a few notable differences.
– Firstly, even though your abstract is supposed to promote your research paper, you have to tone it down a little and make it a little less “Salesy.”
– Secondly, in many cases, a book blurb will not give away the ending, but in your case, you are able to give away the ending by stating what you are proving or disproving.
– Thirdly, A book blurb may give hints about the plot without properly explaining it, whereas you may add a slightly larger/in-depth explanation of your work.
Do you include your conclusion and your hypothesis?
Be careful about concentrating on your conclusion because your professor may mark you down. Instead, ask yourself if you need to mention your conclusion. For example, if you were writing a mystery novel, would you really create an abstract that exposed the killer, or would you focus on the investigation that led you to your conclusion?
You can mention things in your conclusion, such as by stating what you discovered and concluded. However, the reader also wants to know why you decided to research what you did, the reader wants to know what you did, and how you reached your conclusion. In other words, there are times when your reader needs a reason to care.
Needs a reason to care?
Let’s say you write a research paper about the weight of a mustache when driving a car, or you may choose one of 50 other research paper topics. You may discover that having a mustache costs extra fuel and extra money, and you may conclude that people shouldn’t drive with a mustache.
If your abstract focused on the conclusion and focused on the fact that people with a mustache should not drive, then readers may wonder why they should care. Instead, you should mention your conclusion, but you should also mention how mustaches cost extra fuel because of the extra weight, and maybe give a statistic on how a person with a mustache pays $20 more in fuel per year than a non-mustachio person.
You may also include other interesting details that make your work more useful. For example, you have completed research on mustaches and driving, and you could use your figures to show that if a mustache costs a person $20 extra in fuel per year, then keeping their tools in their car trunk all year round may cost them another $80 in fuel per year. Details such as this may make your research paper a little more interesting and readable.
What if your abstract is not up to standard?
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Don’t forget that part of your job is to sell your research, and another part is to explain it. If you get bogged down in explanations, then your abstract will be too long and too dull, and if you concentrate too much on selling your paper, when it will appear vapid and hollow.