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Writing a scientific paper.

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What is an abstract?

What is a "good" abstract, techniques to write an abstract, "abstract checklist" from: how to write a good scientific paper. chris a. mack. spie. 2018..

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There are as many kinds as abstracts as there are types of research papers.  The classic abstract is usually a "Informative" abstract. This kind of abstract communicates compressed information and include the purpose, methods, and scope of the article. They are usually short (250 words or less) and allow the reader to decide whether they want to read the article.

The goal is to communicate:

  • What was done?
  • Why was it done?
  • How was it done?
  • What was found?
  • What is the significance of the findings?
  • Self contained. Uses 1 or more well developed paragraphs
  • Uses introduction/body/conclusion structure
  • Presents purpose, results, conclusions and recommendations in that order
  • Adds no new information
  • Is understandable to a wide audience
  • Write the abstract last
  • Reread the article looking specifically for the main parts: Purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Write a first rough draft without looking at the original article
  • Edit your draft by correcting organization, improving transitions, dropping unnecessary information and words, and adding important information you left out

The abstract should be a concise (200 words or less), standalone summary of the paper, with 1–2 sentences on each of these topics:

  • Background: What issues led to this work? What is the environment that makes this work interesting or important?
  • Aim: What were the goals of this work? What gap is being filled?
  • Approach: What went into trying to achieve the aims (e.g., experimental method, simulation approach, theoretical approach, combinations of these, etc.)? What was actually done?
  • Results: What were the main results of the study (including numbers, if appropriate)?
  • Conclusions: What were the main conclusions? Why are the results important? Where will they lead?

The abstract should be written for the audience of this journal: do not assume too much or too little background with the topic.

Ensure that all of the information found in the abstract also can be found in the body of the paper.

Ensure that the important information of the paper is found in the abstract.

Avoid: using the first paragraph of the introduction as an abstract; citations in the abstract; acronyms (but if used, spell them out); referring to figures or tables from the body of the paper; use of the first person; use of words like “new” or “novel,” or phrases like “in this paper,” “we report,” or “will be discussed.” 

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How To Write an Abstract for Any Subject and Publication (With Examples)

Follow this simple formula to write an abstract for any publication and topic. plus, find tips and prompts to make it easier..

How To Write an Abstract for Any Subject and Publication (With Examples)

Table of contents

how to write a abstract for research paper

Christian Rigg

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work, such as a study or research paper. The goal is to provide readers with an overview of the purpose, methodology, results, conclusion, and importance of this text.

As a writing coach and part-time academic editor and translator, I’ve read hundreds of abstracts and helped authors draft and refine dozens more. I’ve found that, when writing an abstract, the greatest difficulty lies in balancing brevity, detail, and accessibility.

Fortunately, there’s a simple formula you can use to write a solid abstract for publication, regardless of the subject. What’s more, you can leverage AI to help you write a clear, concise abstract — without losing your voice or sounding unprofessional.

Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions, best practices, examples, and a helpful checklist. 

Key Takeaways

  • An abstract offers a succinct overview of the aims, results, and importance of your research.
  • Check submission guidelines, write clearly and concisely, and use language to “guide” readers through your abstract. 
  • The IMRaD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion) approach is simple and effective. 
  • More and more authors are using AI to do the heavy lifting. With the right prompts, AI can save you time and create a cohesive abstract.

Writing an abstract: First steps and best practices

Keep the following in mind as you write your abstract:

  • If you’re submitting to a publication , check for specific guidelines regarding overall length, format, keywords, and the presence or absence of section headings (e.g. “Purpose”). Follow these guidelines exactly.
  • Write concisely and clearly . If you struggle to write concisely, consider using an AI-writing assistant like Wordtune . Simply select text to receive suggestions on how to write a sentence or paragraph more concisely without losing any value.
  • Make your abstract self-contained . Don’t refer to passages in your article or research. If you must include terms that your audience may not be familiar with, such as highly technical jargon or concepts borrowed from another field, offer a brief definition.
  • Use connecting phrases like “for this reason,” “as a result,” and “this led us” to “guide” the reader through your abstract and help them see the connections between your research goal, methodology, results, and conclusions. ‍
  • Read abstracts on similar studies . This gives you a good benchmark and can help you get started. If you’re submitting your abstract to a particular publication, it also gives you a good idea of the type of language and structure they prefer.

Wordtune offers suggestions to make your text clear and concise.

Get Wordtune for free > Get Wordtune for free >

How to write an abstract: The IMRaD Structure

IMRaD stands for Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion (or Conclusion). 

It’s the most common way to structure a research paper and a very simple way to approach your abstract. In some cases, authors even include these section headings in their abstracts. 

Step One: Introduction

Length : About 25% of your abstract

Purpose : Provide context for your research and describe your research objectives. 

Start by introducing your topic. There are two main parts to this:

  • Your research question stated simply and straightforwardly (what missing knowledge does your study aim to answer?). You can use words like “investigate,” “review,” “test,” “analyze,” “study,” and “evaluate” to make it clear how your work relates to the context.
  • A brief overview of the academic, historical, social, or scientific context. This helps the reader understand the importance and relevance of your work. In many cases, starting with context before your research question makes more sense, so feel free to write in that order. 

Regarding context, consider the following: 

how to write a abstract for research paper

For example:

Psychologists and neuroscientists have long studied the role of sleep in the formation of new memories. Previous research into how sleep affects memory has often struggled because it’s difficult to measure the quality, stages, and overall impact of sleep accurately. As a result, there’s ongoing debate in the scientific community , and recent research suggests sleep may not be as important as researchers once thought. In this study, we review the evidence and offer a novel conclusion : the same mechanisms thought to mediate sleep-related memory formation also operate during waking hours, particularly quiet wakefulness.  In this example, several contextual cues are offered: it’s a long-standing topic in the literature; previous research is limited due to a specific issue , and there is active scientific debate . The section closes with the research aims: to review the evidence and offer a new conclusion. 

Step Two: Methodology

Purpose : Clearly describe what you did and highlight novelty. 

In this section, provide a clear description of your research methodology. While it’s important to be concise, make sure you’re not being vague. Mention specific frameworks and tools. 

‍ To explore the impact of social media on political engagement, we conducted a study with 200 participants, divided into two groups. The first was exposed to curated political content on social media, while the control group received a neutral feed. Our mixed-method approach combined quantitative engagement metrics analysis and qualitative interviews to assess changes in political participation.

There’s no need to provide an in-depth justification of your approach, although if it’s a novel one, it’s worth highlighting this and explaining what makes it appropriate. For example, " We chose this approach because it offers a clearer image of the structure of proteins involved in the transfer of electrons during cellular respiration ."

Finally, you can omit methodological limitations; we’ll cover these later. 

Step Three: Results

Length : About 35% of your abstract

Purpose : Provide a clear, specific account of your results. 

This section is arguably the most important (and interesting) part of your abstract.

Explain the results of your analysis in a specific and detailed fashion. This isn’t the time to be vague or bury the lead. For example:

“Our survey indicates a marked shift in sedimentary rock composition. In three locations, we observed significant erosion, and mineralogical analysis revealed a high concentration of quartz. Further analysis suggests two major events in the past 200 years, correlating with disturbances in the region.”
"Our survey of the Redstone Canyon region identified a marked shift in sedimentary rock composition from predominantly sandstone to shale, particularly evident in the lower strata. Quantitative analysis showed a 40% increase in shale content compared to previous surveys. In three distinct locations, we observed significant erosion, with up to two meters of topsoil displacement, primarily due to water runoff. Mineralogical analysis revealed an unexpectedly high concentration of quartz (up to 22%) in these eroded areas. Additionally, our seismic retrogression analysis suggests two major seismic events in the past 200 years, correlating with the observed stratification disturbances."

Incidentally, you don’t need to include all of your findings here, only those that will help the reader to understand the next section: your discussion and conclusion (i.e., what the results mean). This will help you keep the results section concise and relevant. 

Step Four: Discussion/Conclusion

Length : About 15%

Purpose : Present what new knowledge you’ve found and why it matters.

Bearing in mind your research question, give a clear account of your conclusions. What new knowledge has been gained? 

The simplest way to do this is in the present tense: “We conclude that…”

You should also briefly explain why this matters. What are the implications of your findings? Be specific and avoid making claims that aren’t directly supported by your research. 

If there are any important limitations (such as population or control group size), you can mention them now. This helps readers assess the credibility and generalizability of your findings. 

You can use these samples for inspiration.

They are divided into introduction , methodology , results , and conclusion.

The rising urbanization rate poses challenges to mental health, an issue garnering increasing attention in recent years. This study aims to analyze the impact of urban green spaces on the mental health of city dwellers. The focus is on how access to parks and natural environments within urban settings contributes to psychological well-being . For this purpose, we employed a cross-sectional survey methodology, targeting residents in three major cities with varying levels of green space availability. We used a combination of GIS mapping to determine green space distribution and structured questionnaires to assess mental health indicators among 1,000 participants . Our results show a clear correlation between access to green spaces and improved mental health outcomes. Residents with frequent access to parks reported 30% lower stress levels and a 25% reduction in symptoms related to anxiety and depression, compared to those with limited access. Additionally, our analysis revealed that green spaces in dense urban areas had a more significant impact than those in less populated districts . We conclude that urban green spaces play a crucial role in enhancing mental health. This underscores the importance of urban planning policies that prioritize green space development as a public health strategy. These findings have significant implications for city planning and public health policy, advocating for the integration of green spaces in urban development to foster mental well-being .

The phenomenon of antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in medical science. This study investigates the effectiveness of novel synthetic peptides as potential antibiotics against multi-drug resistant bacteria. The research specifically examines the impact of these peptides on the cellular integrity and replication processes of resistant bacterial strains . Our methodology involved in vitro testing of three newly synthesized peptides against a panel of bacteria known for high resistance to conventional antibiotics. The bacterial strains included methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE). We used a combination of microbiological assays and electron microscopy to evaluate the antibacterial activity and the cellular changes induced by the peptides . The results were promising, showing that two of the three peptides effectively inhibited the growth of MRSA and VRE at low concentrations. Electron microscopy revealed significant disruption of bacterial cell walls and membranes, leading to cell lysis. These peptides also demonstrated low toxicity in preliminary mammalian cell culture tests, suggesting a high therapeutic index . Our study provides promising evidence for the use of synthetic peptides in combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These findings open new avenues for developing effective treatments against infections caused by drug-resistant pathogens and highlight the potential of peptide-based therapies in future pharmaceutical applications .

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in education is a rapidly evolving area of study. This research explores the effectiveness of AI-driven personalized learning systems in enhancing student performance in high school mathematics. The study focuses on understanding how AI customization impacts learning outcomes compared to traditional teaching methods . We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 500 high school students from five schools, divided into two groups. The experimental group used an AI-based learning platform that adapted to each student's learning pace and style, while the control group continued with standard classroom instruction. The study measured improvements in mathematical understanding and problem-solving skills over a six-month period . The results indicated a significant improvement in the AI group, with a 40% increase in test scores and a 35% rise in problem-solving abilities compared to the control group. Additionally, students using the AI system reported higher levels of engagement and satisfaction with the learning process . In conclusion, the use of AI-driven personalized learning systems shows considerable promise in enhancing educational outcomes in mathematics. This study suggests that AI personalization can be a valuable tool in modern educational strategies, potentially revolutionizing how subjects are taught and learned in schools .

What is the main objective of an abstract?

The goal of an abstract is to provide readers with a concise overview of the purpose, methodology, results, conclusion, and importance of a longer work, such as a research paper or study. 

How long should an abstract be?

Depending on the publication, an abstract should be anywhere from 150 to 250 words. 

What should an abstract include?

An abstract should include an introduction (context + research question), the methodology, the results, and a conclusion (what you found and why it matters).

IMRaD is a simple formula you can follow to write a great abstract for any topic and publication type. Simply follow the instructions above to write each section: Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion.

Be careful to balance detail with brevity, as abstracts are meant to be a short overview of your study. If you struggle with writing concisely and clearly, consider using a writing aid like Wordtune to handle some of the heavy lifting. 

Want to learn more key writing tips? Check out these articles:

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  • How to Write a Research Paper (+Free AI Research Paper Writer)

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Writing an Abstract

What is an abstract.

An abstract is a summary of your paper and/or research project. It should be single-spaced, one paragraph, and approximately 250-300 words. It is NOT an introduction to your paper; rather, it should highlight your major points, explain why your work is important, describe how you researched your problem, and offer your conclusions.

How do I prepare an abstract?

An abstract should be clear and concise, without any grammatical mistakes or typographical errors. You may wish to have it reviewed by the  Writing Center , who are  happy to work with you on your abstract and are available via  appointments , as well as a writing instructor, tutor, or other writing specialist. 

For the purposes of the symposium, the wording of an abstract should be understandable to a well-read, interdisciplinary audience. Specialized terms should be either defined or avoided.

A successful abstract addresses the following points:

  • Problem:  What is the central problem or question you investigated?
  • Purpose : Why is your study important? How it is different from other similar investigations? Why we should care about your project?
  • Methods : What are the important methods you used to perform your research?
  • Results : What are the major results of the research project? (You do not have to detail all of the results, highlight only the major ones.)
  • Interpretation : How do your results relate back to your central problem?
  • Implications : Why are your results important? What can we learn from them?

It should not include any charts, tables, figures, footnotes, references or other supporting information.

Finally, please note that your abstract  must have the approval of your research mentor or advisor.

Samples of Abstracts

Browse through past volumes of WUSHTA and WUURD available via  WashU Open Scholarship  to view samples of abstracts in all disciplines, or take a look at the samples below:

Sample abstract: Social Sciences

Sample abstract: Natural Sciences

Sample abstract: Humanities

Research Paper Writing Guides

Research Paper Abstract

Last updated on: Mar 27, 2024

Learn How To Write An Abstract For A Research Paper with Examples and Tips

By: Donna C.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Caleb S.

Published on: Jan 3, 2024

How To Write An Abstract For A Research Paper

Ever had trouble making a short and interesting summary of your important research? You're not the only one!

Making a good summary, called an abstract, is tricky for many researchers.

Think of your abstract as the spotlight on your research paper—it's super important. It helps grab the interest of people reading your work and other researchers. 

If your abstract isn't engaging, your hard work might get lost in the sea of research papers .

But don’t worry!

In this guide, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of creating an outstanding abstract. We will show you some examples of engaging abstracts and give you helpful tips. 

Let’s start writing!

How To Write An Abstract For A Research Paper

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What is an Abstract in a Paper?

An abstract is like a sneak peek at your research paper. It's a short summary that gives people a quick idea about what your research is all about. 

Common guidelines often suggest a range of 150 to 250 words (6-7 sentences) for shorter papers and up to 300 words (14-15 sentences) for longer, more comprehensive papers.

Instead of reading the whole paper, someone can check out the abstract to see if your work is what they're looking for. 

An abstract should be written with the intent of helping others decide if they want to study your research.

Importance of Abstract in Research

Abstract in research plays a crucial role for several reasons:

  • First Impression Matters: The abstract is often the first thing people read. It's like the introduction to your research, setting the tone for what's to come.
  • Searchability: Abstracts make your work more discoverable. When stored in databases, they become key elements for search engines, making your research easier to find.
  • Decision-Making Aid: Editors, reviewers, and conference organizers use abstracts to make decisions about publishing or presenting your work. A well-crafted abstract can positively influence these decisions.

Contents of an Abstract

Writing a good abstract includes combining all essential elements of research to present a comprehensive overview of the study, including:

  • Context: Introduce your research topic , providing a brief background to set the scene.
  • Central Questions: Clearly state the main questions or the problem your research addresses.
  • Previous Research: Summarize existing knowledge related to your research question.
  • Rationale and Goals: Explain the reasons, goals, and importance of your study.
  • Methods: Provide a concise overview of your research and analytical methods.
  • Findings: Briefly summarize the main results, findings, or arguments of your study.
  • Implications: Discuss the broader significance or implications of your research.

When To Write An Abstract

It is best practice to write your abstract after writing your research paper.

Normally, the abstract is the first thing in your paper. It's not just about introducing your topic (that's what the title does), but it summarizes your whole paper in a short way. 

If you write the abstract last, it makes sure it completely matches what you researched and wrote in your paper. This approach allows for a more accurate reflection of the research's core elements.

How To Write An Abstract For A Research Paper

A good abstract doesn't just quickly summarize your research; it also entices readers to explore your work further. 

Now, let's go through the steps of writing a simple and clear abstract for a research paper.

Step 1: Clarify Purpose and Scope

Before you start writing your abstract, take some time to really understand what your research is all about. 

Here's how:

1. Identify Your Goal

  • Think about why you did this research.
  • What were you trying to find out or prove? 

2. Know Your Scope

  • Figure out how big or small your study is. 
  • What did you focus on, and what did you leave out? 

3. Define Key Components

  • Break down your research into parts. 
  • What's the main question you're answering? 
  • What sections of your paper are the most important? 

Step 2: Study Existing Abstracts

Now that you know what your research is about, it's time to see how other researchers have written about similar topics.

Look for research papers similar to yours. Read their abstracts carefully. This will give you an idea of how others structure their summaries and the language they use.

Pay attention to how these abstracts are organized. Notice if they start with the research question, describe methods, or jump straight to findings. Understanding this structure will help you plan your own abstract.

Step 3: Identify Key Sections

The next step in abstract writing is to break down your own research paper into key sections. 

First of all, divide your paper. Common sections include Introduction , Methods , Results , and Conclusion . Identify what each section talks about.

Then, pick out the most crucial information from each section. What details are essential for someone to understand your research?

These will be the key components of your abstract.

The last step is to focus on the main points in each section:

  • What is the main question or problem in the Introduction? 
  • What methods did you use? 
  • What are the key findings? 

This step helps you know what to include in your abstract.

Step 4: Craft a Concise Introduction

In writing a concise and engaging introduction for your abstract, start by providing a brief background or context about your research. Imagine explaining your study to someone unfamiliar with the topic, offering a quick summary of what it's all about. 

Following this, clearly state the main question or research problem statement , maintaining clarity. 

Finally, highlight the importance of your research by emphasizing its significance. Explain why your research question is important and show how it matters. 

This introduction paragraph of your abstract sets the tone, giving a snapshot of what your research is about and making people want to learn more.

Step 5: Describe Research Methods

Now, dive into explaining the methods you used in your research - how you did it. 

  • Provide a Brief Overview:

Offer a short explanation of how you conducted your study. What methods did you use to gather information? Keep it simple but informative.

  • Include Study Design:

Mention the design of your study. Was it an experiment, survey, or observation? This helps readers understand the structure of your research.

  • Highlight Key Components:

Identify the essential components of your methods. Mention details like participant demographics, materials used, or any unique approaches you took.

Step 6: Summarize Key Findings

In this step, Provide a brief summary of the key outcomes of your study. Focus on the most critical results that directly relate to your research question. 

  • What did you discover or find in the course of your research?
  • How do the results compare to existing theories or previous research?
  • What do the results imply? 
  • Why are they important in the context of your research?
  • Did your research raise any new questions that need further exploration?

Step 7: Address Implications or Conclusions

In this last step of writing an abstract, summarize the broader implications of your findings. Discuss why your findings matter and explore any practical applications of your research.

Make sure to address the following questions:

  • How do your results impact the larger context of your research area?
  • What contributions do they make to the field, and why should people care about your research?
  • How could your findings be applied in real-world situations?

By following these steps, you can effectively create a detailed and well-structured abstract for your research paper.

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Abstract Checklist

Ensure your research paper abstract is comprehensive and impactful with this checklist:

Writing An Abstract For A Research Paper - Examples

Crafting an effective abstract is an art that requires a balance of clarity and conciseness.

In this section, we'll walk through examples to illustrate how to write an abstract for a research paper successfully. 

Social Sciences Abstract:

Support Of Workplace Diversity Policies: The Role Of Race, Gender, And Beliefs About Inequality

William J. Scarborough, Danny Lambouths, Allyson L. Holbrook, Support of workplace diversity policies: The role of race, gender, and beliefs about inequality, Social Science Research, Volume 79, 2019, Pages 194-210, ISSN 0049-089X.

Abstract Writing - Example

Humanities Abstract:

The Effects Of War On Ukrainian Research

de Rassenfosse, G., Murovana, T. & Uhlbach, WH. The effects of war on Ukrainian research. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10, 856 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-02346-x

how to write a abstract for research paper

Sciences Abstract:

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) As An Anti-Aging Health Product – Promises And Safety Concerns

Harshani Nadeeshani, Jinyao Li, Tianlei Ying, Baohong Zhang, Jun Lu, Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) as an anti-aging health product – Promises and safety concerns, Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 37, 2022, Pages 267-278, ISSN 2090-1232.

how to write a abstract for research paper

Here are some more abstract writing examples for your better understanding: 

Abstract For A Research Paper Pdf

Abstract For A Research Paper Proposal

Abstract For A Research Paper Sample Pdf

Abstract For A Research Paper APA Format

Abstract For A Research Paper Example Pdf

Abstract For A Research Paper MLA

Effective Abstract For A Research Paper Pdf

IMRaD Abstract Example

Tips for Making Your Abstract Stand Out

In addition to the writing process, here are some tips you can follow to make your abstract shine and capture the reader’s attention:

  • Choose Relevant Keywords: Select keywords that accurately represent the main themes of your research. These will enhance the discoverability of your paper.
  • Adhere to Word Limit: Respect the specified word limit for your abstract. Be succinct while ensuring that all crucial information is included.
  • Ensure Clarity and Cohesion: Read through your abstract to ensure clarity and coherence. Check that the informative abstract flows logically and is easily understandable.
  • Seek External Feedback: Share your abstract with peers, mentors, or colleagues to get feedback. External perspectives can help identify areas for improvement.
  • Revise and Polish: Based on feedback, revise your abstract for clarity, precision, and effectiveness. Polish sentences to convey maximum meaning with minimal words.

Wrapping up, this blog helps researchers learn how to write great research paper abstracts. With step-by-step process and useful tips, you have the guidance to create captivating abstracts that grab attention.

But if somehow things still don’t go your way, don’t worry! 

Experts at SharkPapers.com are available 24/7, ready to tackle research paper writing challenges. 

So, without wasting any time, order your abstract from the best paper writing service online ! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any formatting requirements for abstract.

Specific formatting requirements may vary by academic or publication guidelines, but common elements include concise language, clear organization, and adherence to word limits.

How many types of abstracts are there?

There are two main types of abstracts: 

  • Descriptive abstracts provide a summary of the main points of a work without revealing the conclusions.
  • Informative abstracts include key findings, methods, and conclusions, offering a more detailed overview of the work.

Donna C.

Donna writes on a broad range of topics, but she is mostly passionate about social issues, current events, and human-interest stories. She has received high praise for her writing from both colleagues and readers alike. Donna is known in her field for creating content that is not only professional but also captivating.

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Apr 27, 2024

How to Write an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Did you know that many people decide whether or not to read your entire research paper based on the abstract alone? Make sure yours packs a punch!

This guide will break down the elements of an effective abstract, helping you showcase your research and attract the right readership.

Purpose of an Abstract

Think of your abstract as a multi-purpose tool:

Snapshot for Readers:

Quick Overview: Potential readers can get the gist of your research (problem, methods, results, significance) in a matter of minutes.

Decision-Making Tool: They can quickly decide if your paper goes deep enough into their area of interest to warrant reading it in full.

Discoverability Beacon:

Keywords: Strategic keywords increase the chance of your paper appearing in relevant database searches.

Indexing: Abstracts play a role in how journals index your research, improving its visibility within your field.

Crafting a Research Paper Abstract

While brief, a well-written abstract packs a punch. Here's what to include:

Research Problem: Briefly state the question, issue, or gap in knowledge that your research addresses.

Methodology : Summarize your approach in a sentence or two (e.g., experimental design, survey, qualitative analysis).

Main Results: Highlight your most important findings or key discoveries.

Conclusion/Significance: Concisely explain the impact or implications of your findings for the field.

Be Specific: Avoid vague or overly general statements.

Self-Contained: A reader should understand the abstract without having read the whole paper.

Word Count Matters: Follow any guidelines on word limits (typically around 150-250 words).

IMPORTANT: Abstracts often have strict formatting requirements (no citations, headings, etc.). Always consult the specific instructions from your instructor or publication.

Types of Abstracts

The two primary types of abstracts differ in their level of detail:

Descriptive Abstract

Purpose: Outlines the main purpose, scope, and focus of your research.

Omissions: Does NOT include specific results, conclusions, or recommendations.

Best For: Papers where the research question and methodology are the most interesting, or when the findings are complex and would be overwhelming to fully summarize in a short abstract.

Informative Abstract

Purpose: Acts as a mini version of your paper, including all major elements.

Includes: Problem statement, methods, key results, conclusions, and potential implications.

Best For: Empirical studies with straightforward results and clear conclusions, or papers where the findings are themselves the main contribution.

How to Write Each Type

Descriptive Abstract:

State the research problem/question

Briefly outline your methods

Highlight the type of data examined or the theoretical perspective used

Indicate the scope or focus of the research

All the elements of the descriptive abstract

Succinctly present your key findings

Conclude with significance or recommendations

Is an Informative Abstract Suitable for All Types of Research Papers?

No. Here's why:

Length: Informative abstracts can become lengthy. Some publications have stricter word limits.

Complexity: Papers with nuanced results or less conclusive findings might be better served by a descriptive abstract that focuses on the motivation of the research.

Audience: Consider who the likely readers are. A highly specialized audience might appreciate a detailed informative abstract, while a wider readership might find a descriptive abstract less intimidating.

Note: Always follow guidelines provided by your instructor or target publication. Some disciplines have strong preferences for one type of abstract over the other.

Structuring Your Abstract

While there's no single "perfect" structure, a common approach is to mirror the organization of the paper itself, presenting elements in a condensed form:

Problem Statement (1-2 sentences): Clearly outline the research question, the gap in the literature, or the specific issue addressed.

Methodology (1-2 sentences): Briefly describe the approach (experimental design, survey type, qualitative methodology, etc.).

Results (2-3 sentences): Present your most important or significant findings.

Conclusion/Significance (1-2 sentences): Summarize the main takeaway and the implications of your work for the field.

Should an Abstract Always Follow a Standard Structure?

No. While a standard structure provides familiarity, prioritizing the most compelling aspects of your research is key. Consider:

Groundbreaking Results: If your findings offer a significant breakthrough, it may be worth leading with those to immediately capture attention, even if it means slightly deviating from the standard structure.

Unique Methodology: If your research employs a novel or innovative methodology, highlighting this upfront can draw in readers intrigued by your approach.

Key Components to Include

While the order might shift slightly, make sure you touch on all of these:

Purpose: The "why" of your research. What were you aiming to achieve?

Method: How did you go about answering your question or exploring the issue?

Results: What did you find? (This should be the most substantial part of your abstract)

Significance: Why does your research matter? What does it contribute to the field?

Adapt Based on Type: A descriptive abstract might omit specific results, while an informative one must have them.

Word Count Matters: Strive for conciseness. Avoid wordiness or unnecessary jargon.

Abstract Writing Tips

Write it Last: It's often easier to write a strong abstract once you've finished your paper and can distill the most important points.

Keywords Carefully: Choose keywords that accurately reflect your research focus to increase discoverability in databases.

Get Feedback: Ask a peer, instructor, or mentor to read your abstract. They can ensure it makes sense even to someone unfamiliar with your specific topic.

Revise, Revise, Revise: Don't settle for your first draft. Refine your word choices for clarity and maximum impact within the word limit.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Too Much Jargon: Keep your language accessible to a broader audience within your field. Overuse of discipline-specific terminology can make your work seem inaccessible.

Excessive Detail: An abstract should entice the reader to explore your full paper for the details. Don't try to cram everything in.

Vagueness: Use specific terms and phrases. Avoid generic statements that could apply to any research paper.

Introducing New Material: Your abstract should summarize existing content from your paper, not introduce entirely new arguments or data.

Can Using Technical Jargon in an Abstract Benefit the Reader's Understanding?

Rarely. Here's why excessive jargon is detrimental:

Alienates Readers: Even within a field, readers have varying levels of specialization. Jargon creates a barrier and might discourage potential readers who could otherwise benefit from your work.

Obscures the Core Ideas: Jargon sometimes masks imprecise thinking. Plain language forces you to articulate complex concepts clearly.

Limits Reach: Using accessible language makes your research discoverable by a wider audience, potentially increasing citations and sparking interdisciplinary discussions.

When Jargon is Necessary:

Define Your Terms: If a technical term is unavoidable, provide a brief, clear definition the first time it's used.

Strike a Balance: Maintain a focus on readability while showcasing your grasp of the field's terminology.

Evaluating Abstract Quality

Ask yourself these key questions:

Does it accurately reflect the paper? Anyone reading your abstract should have a clear idea of what your full paper will contain, with no misleading promises.

Is it self-contained? The abstract should make sense on its own, without forcing the reader to consult your paper for clarification.

Is it engaging? Does your opening sentence grab attention? Does the abstract leave the reader curious to learn more?

Is it free of errors? A polished abstract signals attention to detail and professionalism. Proofread carefully!

Does it follow guidelines? Adherence to word limits and any formatting requirements mandated by your instructor or publisher is essential.

How Abstract Quality Impacts Reception

Your abstract has these important functions:

Gatekeeper: Researchers will often decide whether to read your full paper based on the abstract alone. A weak abstract means lost potential readers.

Search Optimizer: Your abstract, with its keywords, plays a crucial role in whether your paper surfaces when people search databases relevant to your field.

First Impression: The abstract sets the reader's expectations for the entire paper. A well-crafted abstract creates a positive anticipation for your work.

Feedback and Revisions

Here's how to strategically use feedback:

Multiple Readers: Get feedback from people with varying levels of familiarity with your topic. This helps you assess clarity for a wider audience.

Specific Questions: Ask your reviewers:

Did the abstract make you want to read the full paper?

Were any parts confusing or overly technical?

Does it accurately represent the paper's focus and conclusions?

Open to Change: Don't be afraid to significantly revise your abstract based on feedback. Sometimes a fresh opening sentence or rephrased result statement makes a world of difference.

Conclusion: Perfecting the Research Paper Abstract

Your abstract serves as a beacon, guiding readers to the heart of your research. It's a testament to the rigor of your study and a testament to your ability to synthesize complex ideas into a concise, compelling format. By carefully crafting your abstract, you showcase the following:

Understanding of Your Work: An effective abstract demonstrates that you have a strong grasp of your own research, its purpose, methodology, and key findings.

Communicative Clarity: The ability to articulate your research succinctly is a valuable skill across academic and professional settings.

Respect for Your Audience: A well-written abstract makes your work accessible to a broader readership, maximizing its potential impact within your field.

Remember, your abstract is often the first, and sometimes the only, encounter a potential reader will have with your research. Invest time and effort into refining this crucial component. In doing so, you open doors for meaningful engagement with your work, invite collaboration, and propel both your own scholarship and the broader scholarly landscape forward.

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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Professional Tips From a Professional Wordsmith

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Easy Steps to Academic Success

Looking for some help figuring out how to write an abstract? Worry not! You've come to the right place. Sure, doing your own research requires a lot of hard and scrupulous work. Gathering and analyzing data is already a challenge, but one of the hardest parts for some is writing and presenting their work. Many stumble upon the first step already – writing an abstract for a research paper. To help those struggling, I decided to step in and create an elaborate guide on that, so buckle up.

What is an abstract?

Let's begin with the definition. What is an abstract? To put it simply, an abstract is a brief description of your research paper. Usually, it's a short paragraph (about 150-250 words) that is meant to let the readers know what your paper is about. It simply provides the context and key points your research contains.

Importance of abstracts in research papers

Abstracts serve as a bridge between you and the reader, making it a good tool to communicate whatever you want to tell your audience before they dive into reading your paper. This way, you get a unique opportunity to help your audience decide whether a paper is relevant to their interests or research needs. That's why the first thing you should learn is not only how to write a scientific paper but how to write an abstract for it.

They also play a big part in cataloging all the research papers in the database since abstracts for journal submissions are often put into databases and search engines, so researchers can easily find papers on topics they're interested in just by searching for keywords. Besides, a lot of science magazines and conferences ask for abstracts when people submit their papers so they can use them later to decide if a paper should be published or presented.

Good abstracts can also help bring attention to a paper and make more people want to read it. They might be included in journal indexes and online databases, which can help more people find the paper. Besides, abstracts for conference papers can even be included in conference programs.

What does it look like in an article?

An abstract always comes right after the title, and before the introduction since the typical abstract structure guidelines of a scientific paper look like this:

  • Introduction

Sometimes, scientific papers also have extra bits like appendices, thank-yous, or statements about any conflicts of interest. The way a scientific paper is set up can change a bit depending on the topic and where it's going to be published.

Abstracts for beginners: purpose, types, and structure

What is an abstract in a paper for? In addition to providing a brief overview of the article and letting people know what to expect next and decide if the article actually caters to their needs or not, an abstract has other purposes. It serves to grab attention and give people a general understanding of the following thesis and the topic of the paper, letting them easily find the specific info they are looking for. A well-composed abstract saves time and helps students and researchers browse and navigate through works with ease and high efficiency.

The way an abstract is set up might change a little depending on where it's going to be published. But usually, these main parts are included to give a good summary of the research paper:

Abstract types and requirements

When it comes to abstract types, you should know that we have three most common ones:

Descriptive abstracts

Informative abstracts, critical abstracts.

Each abstract example has its own purpose, which we'll discuss in more detail a little later.

In terms of structure, here's the standard layout:


Method explanation, key findings overview.

All these points are vital components of an abstract. Together, they provide a comprehensive summary of the research paper or article, allowing readers to quickly understand its content, significance, and relevance.

Writing process: where to start and how to handle everything

There are several things you need to consider when writing an abstract, so let's go step by step.

  • Identifying your target readership When figuring out how to write an abstract, consider who you're writing it for and think about who would be interested in your research. Consider who might benefit from reading about your study and who it might be important for. Overall, try to put yourself in the shoes of the people you're writing for and think about what they would find interesting or helpful.
  • Outlining and writing Before starting to think about how to outline a research paper , think about the outline of your abstract first. Use the standard scheme I've provided above. Make sure you include all the elements mentioned in this article but don't make it too long (remember, it's a brief summary that shouldn't exceed 250 word count). When your outline is ready, start writing. Keep in mind that your main goal is to make the content easy to understand for your target audience. Don't try to sound smart by making the text overcomplicated while writing an abstract. One of the indicators of intelligence is actually an ability to explain complicated topics in a simple and elaborate manner.
  • Following guidelines While writing an abstract, experts from the writing center of the University of Missouri recommend in their guidelines to keep in mind the questions you should answer, such as:
  • What is the research about?
  • What methods did you use?
  • What's the objective?
  • Did you work alone or with someone else?
  • What materials did you use?
  • What finding are you going to mention?

After all of these are elaborated on in your abstract, be sure to add keywords and check if your abstract is written in a comprehensive manner that is easy to perceive. Don't be shy to ask for abstract writing help . If you feel like it's hard for you to judge if the quality is good, try reading it to someone else and ask them questions to check if they got the main point correctly with no trouble whatsoever.

To add the final touch to your masterpiece, make sure the abstract adheres to the formatting guidelines provided by the journal or publication venue, including word limits, structure, and citation style.

Easy ways to write an effective abstract

To write a really good abstract, you should read some research paper abstract examples first. They all definitely have a pattern, and you'll notice it quite quickly. To speed up the process of understanding what a good one actually means in this context, I'm going to give you some tips I've learned throughout my writing career.

Do's and don'ts checklist

Your abstract needs some rizz, and to achieve that, you should put some effort into making your abstract as effective as you can. To help you achieve that, I've prepared a set of do's and don'ts to avoid common mistakes in abstract writing:

  • Clearly explain the topic, goal, and main discoveries of the research.
  • Use simple and clear language, avoiding difficult terms or jargon.
  • Stick to the abstract writing format given by the journal or where you want to publish.
  • Give enough background to help readers grasp why the research is important.
  • Discuss the importance and possible uses of the research.
  • Add relevant words or phrases to help readers understand what the paper is about.
  • Make the abstract interesting, informative, and convincing about the value of the research.
  • Check carefully for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Don't overload the abstract with too much detail or extra information.
  • Don't use unclear or confusing language that might confuse readers.
  • Don't state things that aren't backed up by what was found in the research.
  • Don't include citations or references to other works in the abstract.
  • Don't go over the word limit set by the journal or publication.
  • Don't add personal opinions or interpretations of the research.
  • Don't skip revising and editing to make sure the abstract makes sense and is clear.
  • Don't forget to compare the abstract to the original paper to make sure it's correct and matches.

Tips for concise and clear writing

Writing concisely and clearly is the key to a successful abstract. After making sure you've followed each point, polish your text, following my advice for concise and clear writing. There are multiple ways you can improve your writing, simplify it, and make it easy to understand.

Here is the abstract writing checklist I use in my work daily:

  • Always focus on the main message, and don't let yourself get distracted by subtopics.
  • Use simple language and avoid repeating yourself (unless it's necessary to emphasize key points).
  • Use online tools to improve your writing and correct your writing style (there are lots of tools for that; my personal favorite is Grammarly, but feel free to use anything you find more fitting).
  • Don't edit your text right after finishing writing. Let it sit for a while. This way, when you look at it again, it will be easier to spot mistakes and redundancies.
  • Be specific and use examples to explain difficult parts.

Also, if you have time, I recommend you read one of my lifetime favorites - "On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction" by William Zinsser. This absolute masterpiece contains all the information you may need to learn to write any type of nonfiction text, including the topic of abstracts in academic writing.

Different types of abstracts

There are three types of abstracts used in different situations:

These abstracts just sum up the main points studied in the paper without giving any opinions or analyses. They tell you what the paper is about, explain its purpose, and what it covers. They also explain how it was done, and what was found. Descriptive abstracts are usually short and simple, giving facts without talking about why the study matters.

Informative abstracts not only tell you what the paper is about but also give some thoughts or analysis of the results. They don't just describe the paper; they also talk about why the research is important, what it means, and what it could be used for. Informative abstracts are often longer and more detailed, giving readers a better understanding of the study and its impact on the field.

Critical abstracts look at a research paper or article and give a critical review of its good points, weaknesses, and how it helps the subject area. They don't just sum up what the paper says but also judge how good it is and how important it is. Critical abstracts might talk about whether the research methods were good, whether the findings are important, and how the study might change the subject. They want to help readers understand if the research is good and important.

Tips for styling and formatting

Depending on your goals and the type of paper, choose the abstract example that fits your needs the most and then just follow abstract writing rules to come up with a decent result.

What format and style should be used for an abstract?

As I've already mentioned before, an abstract is placed right at the beginning, and its length requirement is 150-250 words.

Usually, it stands as a separate section with its own heading ("Abstract" or "Summary"). In addition, it should be formatted consistently with the rest of the paper, using the same font style and size.

Here's a brief guide on abstract length and style I compiled so you don't miss anything:

  • Keep it short

Abstracts should be brief, usually between 150 to 250 words. Stick to the essential info and avoid extra details.

  • Structure it right

Follow a specific structure, including the research topic, objectives, methods, results, conclusions, and keywords. Each part should be clear and in the right order.

Write in simple and clear language so that readers who aren't experts can understand. Use precise words to get your point across.

  • Use keywords

Add relevant keywords or phrases to help readers know what your research is about. Choose them carefully to represent your work accurately.

  • Format correctly

Stick to any formatting rules given by the journal or publication. Make sure your abstract looks the same as the rest of your paper.

Note! One of the most important abstract writing tips is to write your abstract in the past tense and the third person since your research is already done. Avoid using "I" or expressing personal opinions.

To format their paper, writers are required to use the standard mla format essay (you can check it out in this guide provided by Purdue Owl).

As for other requirements, you always need to check the abstract writing guidelines provided by the target media where you want to publish your article or paper.

Common mistakes you should avoid

After reading a ton of abstract examples, I've noticed a lot of people getting confused and making the same mistakes, so I decided to prevent them in advance and gathered a short list of the common ones to avoid:

  • Don't include misleading or ambiguous references According to all abstract writing resources, every reference you use in your abstract must come from relevant and reliable sources, so double-check everything before referencing. 
  • Don’t overuse acronyms and abbreviations When dealing with anything science-related, you can come across many acronyms and abbreviations, and although you are familiar with them, they might be totally confusing for your audience. That's why, to avoid making your text unreadable, try to minimize using such things in the text, and even if you do, try providing context or an elaboration even if you know you are writing for a well-read audience.
  • Don’t include tables, figures, or footnotes Abstracts are short and to the point, so they usually don't have footnotes or references to specific sources, like tables or figures. Adding these things would make the abstract too long and less clear.

Abstract FAQs

How long should an abstract be.

A good abstract example should be 150-250 words long (unless something else is stated in the requirements provided by the specific media where you want to publish it).

What is the difference between a descriptive and informative abstract?

Descriptive abstract writing examples simply summarize the main points of a paper without offering opinions or analyses. They outline the paper's topic, purpose, methodology, findings, and scope in a straightforward manner, avoiding discussions on the significance of the study. 

In contrast, informative abstracts not only provide a summary of the paper but also offer analysis and insights into its implications. They delve into the importance of the research, its implications, and potential applications, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the study's impact on the field.

Should I include references in my abstract?

No, you shouldn’t.

How do I make my abstract concise and clear?

Focus on the main point, use simple language, proofread properly, and seek feedback.

Final thoughts

Abstracts are like a short summary of a paper. They help readers decide if they want to read the whole paper. That's why writing effective abstracts matters so much. Also, they help organize papers online so people can find them easily. If an abstract is written well, it can make more people want to read the paper, so make sure you invest yourself in writing a good one. It might also be shown in conference programs, or online so more people can see it, which means it has to be comprehensive and to the point.

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Struggling to encapsulate your extensive research into a concise abstract? Writing an abstract for a research paper can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be! 

This blog is your guide to deciphering the abstract, understanding its purpose, and learning the art of writing your own.

We'll break down the abstract into clear, simple steps. We'll show you what it is, why it matters, and most importantly, how to write one that's clear, concise, and grabs your reader's attention. 

So, leave your confusion behind, and let’s dive into it!

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What is an Abstract in a Paper?

An abstract in a research paper is a concise summary that provides an overview of the main points and key elements of the entire document. It is typically found at the beginning of academic papers, articles, or research reports. 

The abstract serves as a standalone piece that briefly communicates the purpose, methodology, results, and conclusions of the study.

Usually ranging from 150 to 250 words, an abstract provides readers with a quick overview of the entire text.

Purpose of Abstracts

Abstracts serve several essential purposes in academic and professional settings, and therefore the importance of abstracts in research can not be overlooked. The primary objectives of abstracts include:

  • Concise Summary : Distills key elements for quick understanding.
  • Quick Information Retrieval : Saves time by offering a snapshot of document relevance.
  • Decision-Making Tool : Helps researchers choose studies aligning with their objectives.
  • Communication of Research : Disseminates findings to diverse audiences effectively.
  • Database Indexing : Facilitates efficient literature review in academic databases.
  • Conference and Journal Submissions : Essential requirement for evaluating contributions' merit and relevance.

When to Write an Abstract?

We need to include an abstract when:

  • Submitting research papers for publication.
  • Sending research proposals for conferences or academic events.
  • Completing theses, dissertations, or comprehensive reports.
  • Drafting articles for scholarly journals.
  • Presenting academic projects or detailed proposals.

Types of Abstract

There are 2 basic types of abstract writing:

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The Contents of an Abstract

An abstract typically includes the following components:

  • Purpose/Objective : Clearly states the primary goal of the research or document.
  • Methods/Approach : Briefly outline the methodology or approach used in the study.
  • Results/Findings : Highlights the main outcomes or discoveries of the research.
  • Conclusions/Implications : Summarize the key conclusions and their broader significance.

Another way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. It stands for:

  • Introduction : Introduces the research topic and the problem under investigation.
  • Methods : Describes the research methods and experimental design employed.
  • Results : Presents the main findings or outcomes of the study.
  • Discussion : Analyzes the results, discusses their implications, and draws conclusions.

Adhering to the IMRaD structure ensures a logical flow in your abstract, making it comprehensible and informative for readers.

How to Write an Abstract in 5 Steps?

Let’s take a look at the simple steps to write an abstract for a research paper: 

Step 1: Craft an Engaging Introduction 

Begin by clearly defining the purpose of your research. Identify the practical or theoretical problem your research addresses and state the research question you aim to answer. 

Provide brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic without delving into detailed background information. If using specialized terms, offer concise definitions. 

Use verbs like "investigate," "analyze," or "evaluate" to describe your research objective. Write in the present or past simple tense, avoiding references to the future, as the research is already complete.

Step 2: Outline Your Methods Clearly

Outline the research methods and experimental design employed in your study. Refrain from evaluating the validity or challenges of your methodology. Provide a clear description of how you conducted your research, including any specific techniques, tools, or procedures used.

Be concise but offer enough detail for readers to understand the approach you took. Use the past simple tense to describe methods. 

Step 3: Present Your Results with Precision

Highlight the main findings or outcomes of your research. Summarize the data collected and present key results without interpretation. Use clear and specific language to convey the essential elements of your study.

This section of the abstract can use either present or past simple tense.

Step 4: Articulate a Thoughtful Discussion

Analyze the results and discuss their implications. Interpret the findings in the context of your research question and objectives. Explore the broader significance of your results and any potential applications or recommendations.

Include brief mentions of any significant limitations in your research, such as those related to sample size or methods. This provides readers with insights to assess the credibility and generalizability of your study.

Step 5: List Relevant Keywords

Conclude your abstract by listing keywords that capture the essential concepts and topics addressed in your research. These keywords assist in indexing and categorizing your work for easy retrieval in academic databases.

Abstract Examples

Below are some samples to help you understand how to write an effective abstract for a research paper: 

Sample Abstract 1

Abstract for a research paper humanities

how to write a abstract for research paper

Bagó, B., Kovács, M., Protzko, J., Nagy, T., Kekecs, Z., Pálfi, B., Adamkovi?, M., Adamus, S., Albalooshi, S., Albayrak?Aydemir, N., Alfian, I., Alper, S., Solas, S. Á., Alves, S. G., Amaya, S., Andresen, P., Anjum, G., Ansari, D., Arriaga, P., . . . Aczél, B. (2022). Situational factors shape moral judgements in the trolley dilemma in Eastern, Southern and Western countries in a culturally diverse sample. Nature Human Behaviour , 6 (6), 880–895. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01319-5

Sample Abstract 2

Social sciences Abstract 

how to write a abstract for research paper

Reference : 

Hanlon, M., Yeung, K., & Zuo, L. (2021). Behavioral Economics of Accounting: A review of archival research on individual decision makers*. Contemporary Accounting Research , 39 (2), 1150–1214. https://doi.org/10.1111/1911-3846.12739

Sample Abstract 3

Abstract for the Sciences

how to write a abstract for research paper


Widén, E., Junna, N., Ruotsalainen, S., Surakka, I., Mars, N., Ripatti, P., Partanen, J., Aro, J., Mustonen, P., Tuomi, T., Palotie, A., Salomaa, V., Kaprio, J., Partanen, J., Hotakainen, K., Pöllänen, P., & Ripatti, S. (2022). How Communicating Polygenic and Clinical Risk for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Impacts Health Behavior: an Observational Follow-up Study. Circulation , 15 (2). https://doi.org/10.1161/circgen.121.003459

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Sample IMRaD Abstract

Here are some PDF samples of the abstract; check them out for a more detailed understanding: 

Abstract For a Research Paper Example

Abstract For a Research Paper Sample

Abstract For a Research Paper APA 7

Abstract For a Research Paper Proposal

Tips For Writing an Abstract

Here are some essential tips for writing an effective abstract:

  • Understand the Types : Familiarize yourself with different types of abstracts – such as descriptive abstracts and informative abstracts.
  • Clarity is Key: A good abstract is clear, concise, and easily understandable. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex language.
  • Follow a Structure : Organize your abstract with a structured format, including the research problem, methodology, key findings, and conclusions.
  • Stay Within Word Limits : Adhere to specified word limits. Balancing brevity while conveying essential information is crucial.
  • Define the Research Problem : Clearly state the research problem or objective to provide context for your study.
  • Highlight Methodology : Briefly describe the methods used in your research, giving readers insight into your approach.
  • Include Vital Information: Specify the type of information covered in your research abstract.
  • Active Voice and Strong Verbs : Use active voice and strong verbs to convey a sense of authority and engagement.
  • Follow Guidelines : Adhere to formatting requirements stated in the title page or table of contents.
  • Choose Impactful Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords that potential readers might use when searching for similar studies.
  • Revise and Edit : Prioritize the clarity and coherence of your abstract, ensuring it aligns with guidelines and objectives.

 Abstract Checklist

Here's a checklist for writing an abstract for a research paper:

In summary, writing a compelling abstract is essential for conveying your research paper's core elements concisely. Remember, clarity and brevity are key. Feel free to revisit the examples provided for inspiration. 

If you face challenges in any section, including the abstract, reach out to CollegeEssay.org for professional assistance. Our expert writing service is here to guide you through academic intricacies. 

Get research paper writing help today for tailored support in achieving your scholarly goals.

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how to write a abstract for research paper

How to Start an Abstract? Examples from 94,745 Research Papers

The examples below are from 94,745 full-text PubMed research papers that I analyzed in order to explore common ways to start writing the Abstract.

Research papers included in this analysis were selected at random from those uploaded to PubMed Central between the years 2016 and 2021. Note that I used the BioC API to download the data (see the References section below).

Examples of how to start writing the Abstract

The Abstract should provide a summary of each section of your paper. It can be divided into subheadings if the journal allows it (refer to the journal’s “Instructions for Authors” ). [for more information, see: How to Write & Publish a Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide ]

The Abstract can:

1. Start by summarizing the present state of knowledge

For example, here’s the first sentence of the Abstract of a study that wanted to test the 5-year effect of a telephone-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children:

“ Little is known about the long-term impact of telephone-based interventions to improve child diet.” Source: taken from the Abstract of this PubMed article

The beginning of this Abstract emphasizes the lack of previous studies on the topic.

2. Start by demonstrating the importance of the topic

For example, here’s the first sentence of the Abstract of a study on breast cancer testing:

“ Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women , with 10% of disease attributed to hereditary factors.” Source: taken from the Abstract of this PubMed article

By highlighting the prevalence of breast cancer, the authors showed that the topic of their study is important.

3. Start by showing the gap in previous literature

For example, here’s the first sentence of the Abstract of a study on the incidence of cancer in diabetics treated with metformin:

“ Previous studies evaluating the effect of metformin on cancer risk have been impacted by time-related biases .” Source: taken from the Abstract of this PubMed article

This emphasizes the way the present study fixes problems found in previous literature.

4. Start by mentioning the study objective

In the following example, the authors skipped the small (usually one-line) introduction to the subject and started the Abstract with the study objective:

“ The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between the foot arch volume measured from static positions and the plantar pressure distribution during walking.” Source: taken from the Abstract of this PubMed article

5. Start with a question

Here’s an example:

“In this article, we address an apparent paradox in the literature on mental time travel and mind-wandering: How is it possible that future thinking is both constructive, yet often experienced as occurring spontaneously? “ Source: taken from the Abstract of this PubMed article

If you want some conflicting opinions on whether or not you should start your Abstract with a question, I suggest the following article on Stack Exchange .

But here’s what the data on 94,745 Abstracts have to say on the subject:

  • It is uncommon for an Abstract to start with a question : only 82 (0.09%) of the Abstracts in our sample started with a question.
  • On average, starting the Abstract with a question is associated with a lower quality article : the median article whose Abstract start with a question is published in a journal with an impact factor of 2.81 compared to 3.15 for the rest of the articles in the sample.

Common words used to start an Abstract

Here’s a list of the most common words used at the beginning of the Abstract:

  • “To investigate the…”
  • “To evaluate the…”
  • “To assess the…”
  • “To determine the…”
  • “In this study,…”
  • “The present study…”
  • “In this paper…”
  • “In recent years…”
  • “Little is known about…”
  • “It is well known that…”
  • “This study aimed to…”
  • “The present study aimed to…”
  • “The aim of this study…”
  • “The purpose of this study…”
  • “The objective of this study…”
  • Comeau DC, Wei CH, Islamaj Doğan R, and Lu Z. PMC text mining subset in BioC: about 3 million full text articles and growing,  Bioinformatics , btz070, 2019.

Further reading

  • How Long Should the Abstract Be? Data 61,429 from Examples
  • How to Write & Publish a Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide
  • Does the Number of Authors Matter? Data from 101,580 Research Papers

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How to Write a Research Methodology for a Research Paper

Have you ever wondered why writing an abstract matters? It might seem like a small part of your research paper or project, but it plays a big role.

Picture this: You've worked hard on your research, and you want people to read it. But if your abstract isn't well-written, they might just skip it and miss all your great ideas.

Don't worry! 

In this easy-to-follow guide, we will walk you through the process of creating a clear and attention-grabbing abstract step-by-step. 

By the end, you'll be able to write abstracts that make your work stand out and get the attention it deserves. 

Let's get started!

Arrow Down

  • 1. What is an Abstract?

  • 3. Steps to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
  • 4. Abstract Page Template and Examples
  • 5. Tips to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

What is an Abstract?

An abstract is a short summary of your research. It tells the readers what the central point of your paper is and also describes the aims and outcomes.

A strong abstract further allows the audience to decide whether they want to continue with your paper or not. It is a vital component of a research paper and a thesis, and no paper is considered complete without it.

What Goes into an Abstract?

An abstract typically includes:

  • The Purpose: Why was the research or document created?
  • Methods: How was the research conducted or the document prepared?
  • Results: What did the research find, or what does the document discuss?
  • Conclusions: What are the main takeaways or implications?

Below is an example of a research paper abstract, with each section highlighted for clarity.

How to Write an Abstract

Types of an Abstract

The use of different types of abstracts depends on the document you're summarising and the audience you're targeting.

 Let's explore the common types of abstracts:

Critical Abstracts

Critical abstracts not only summarize but also offer a thoughtful evaluation or analysis of the research paper. They cover the paper’s methods and main findings and assess the quality and importance of the work.

Descriptive Abstracts

Descriptive abstracts give a clear overview of what's in the research paper. They are the most basic type. They describe the main topic, purpose, and scope of the paper without giving away specific details, conclusions, or results. 

Informative Abstracts 

Informative abstracts go a step further than descriptive ones. They not only describe the paper’s content but also provide key results, findings, and conclusions. They include essential details about the paper, such as the research methodology , results, and conclusions, allowing readers to understand its significance.

Highlight Abstracts

Highlight abstracts emphasize the most critical points of a paper. They aim to grab the reader's attention and highlight its most significant contributions. These abstracts focus on the most important findings, key conclusions, and their broader implications, often showcasing why the research paper is worth reading.

Steps to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

Whether you're a student working on a research paper or a researcher aiming to publish your work, writing an effective abstract follows a structured process. 

Here are the key steps to help you write a compelling abstract:

Step 1: Follow Instructions Closely 

When tackling a research paper abstract, always begin by thoroughly reviewing the provided instructions. These guidelines act as your roadmap, ensuring you stay on the right track. Look out for:

  • Abstract Type: Your teacher may specify the type, such as descriptive or informative.
  • Structure: Note any recommended sections or organization rules.
  • Word Count: Stick to the prescribed word limit diligently.
  • Style and Formatting: Adhere to style and formatting requirements.

Step 2: Include Relevant Background

Incorporate concise background information into your abstract to provide context. Focus on why your study's expected outcomes matter in addressing the main research question. Avoid lengthy or irrelevant details.

Step 3: Define the Research Problem and Objectives

Begin your abstract by clearly outlining the research's purpose and objectives. Make the case for its significance to individuals and society. Specify the research question(s) you aim to address.

  • Use Action Words: Employ terms like "evaluate," "analyze," and "investigate" to describe your research's purpose.
  • Past or Present Tense: Write this section in simple past or present tense; avoid the future tense.
  • Address Key Questions: Answer these vital questions:
  • Why conduct this research?
  • How does it contribute to the field?
  • Why should readers delve into the full paper?
  • What central problem does your research solve?
  • What's the study's scope, specific or general?
  • What's the primary argument?

Step 4: Describe the Research Methods

In your abstract, briefly touch on the research methods employed to address your research question. Use 1 to 2 concise, past-tense sentences.

  • Concise Overview: Offer a high-level view of the approaches, procedures, and sources utilized in your research.
  • Methodology Type: Mention whether your methods were qualitative , quantitative , case study , or another type.
  • Explain Method Choice: State why you selected a specific method and how it benefits your research.

Step 5: Highlight Previous Research

Incorporate a brief mention of relevant previous research on your chosen topic in your abstract. Emphasize the unique perspective of your research without delving into excessive detail.

  • Concise Overview: Provide a brief overview of previous research, highlighting its relevance to your work.
  • Uniqueness: Mention how your research offers a distinct perspective or contribution to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Engaging Content: Keep the reader engaged by including enough information to convey the importance of your research within the context of prior studies.

Step 6: Summarize Key Findings and Results

Summarize the major findings and results of your study using simple past and present tense. Avoid vague qualitative terms and instead focus on concrete details.

  • Clarity is Key: Ensure clarity in your summary, using concrete measures such as percentages, trends, figures, or specific outcomes.
  • Evaluate Against Hypothesis: State whether your study aligns with the initial hypothesis, highlighting the success or divergence of your findings.

Step 7: Present Your Conclusion

In the final section of your abstract, provide a clear and concise conclusion to your research. Explain how your study addresses the research question and problem.

  • Answer the Question: Articulate the answer to your research question and problem.
  • Acknowledge Limitations: Mention any limitations related to sample size or methodology. This transparency helps readers assess the research's credibility and context.
  • Future Research and Recommendations: Consider offering suggestions and recommendations for future research or a call to action. Ensure your results contribute value to the field of knowledge.

Abstract Page Template and Examples

The following are the abstract examples and a template. Read them if you want to know more.

Abstract Template

Sample Research Paper Abstract APA

Sample Research Paper Abstract MLA

Abstract Example

Scientific Research Paper Abstract

Abstract for Thesis

Abstract of a Report

Abstract for research paper proposal

Abstract for a presentation

Abstract for a book chapter

Abstract For A Research Paper APA

How to Write An Abstract For A Research Paper

Tips to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

Follow these tips to ensure your abstract is concise, engaging, and accurately represents your work:

  • Revise Your Abstract

Revision is a crucial step in crafting an effective abstract. Once you've drafted your initial version, go back and carefully review it. Check for clarity, coherence, and alignment with the main paper. Look for opportunities to improve conciseness without sacrificing essential information.

  • Get Feedback from a Peer

Seeking feedback from a peer provides an external perspective on your abstract. Another person can offer valuable insights into the clarity and effectiveness of your communication.

  • Consider Getting Professional Editing and Proofreading

An experienced editor can help refine your language, ensure proper grammar and syntax, and enhance overall readability. This step is especially important when aiming for publication in academic journals or presenting your research to a wider audience.

  • Write Your Abstract After Completing Your Paper

Crafting the abstract after completing the paper allows for a comprehensive overview of your research. It ensures that the abstract accurately reflects the main points, key findings, and conclusions of your work. This approach contributes to a more cohesive and aligned representation of your research.

  • Keep Your Content in the Correct Order

Maintain the proper sequence of information in your abstract. Follow the structure outlined in the earlier steps: purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. This logical flow helps readers navigate through your abstract effortlessly, enhancing comprehension and engagement.

  • Write the Abstract from Scratch

Avoid copying and pasting sentences directly from your paper into the abstract. Instead, write the abstract from scratch, ensuring that it is a standalone piece that effectively encapsulates the essence of your research. This approach fosters clarity and ensures that the abstract serves its purpose of providing a concise summary.

  • Don’t Include Too Many Details in the Abstract

Resist the temptation to include excessive details in the abstract. Focus on the essential aspects of your research, emphasizing key findings and conclusions. A concise abstract maintains reader interest and encourages them to delve into the full paper for a more in-depth understanding.

In summary, this guide will help you write a perfect abstract for your paper if you follow it closely. 

However, not everyone possesses the knack for creating a stellar abstract. In such cases, seek essay help online from MyPerfectWords.com .

For all your academic writing requirements, MyPerfectWords.com is your ultimate choice. Simply make an order for a meticulously crafted abstract from our expert writers.

Feel free to reach out to our customer service now for your " write my research paper " needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction.

FAQ Icon

The difference between an abstract and an introduction lies in their respective scopes and content. An abstract condenses your larger work into a concise paragraph, whereas the introduction encompasses some but not all elements found in an abstract.

How long should an abstract be?

The length of an abstract can vary depending on the specific requirements of the journal article, or academic institution you are submitting to. However, a typical length falls in the range of 150 to 250 words. 

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Organizing Research for Arts and Humanities Papers and Theses

  • General Guide Information
  • Developing a Topic
  • What are Primary and Secondary Sources
  • What are Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources
  • Writing an Abstract
  • Writing Academic Book Reviews
  • Writing A Literature Review
  • Using Images and other Media

What is an abstract?

Note: This description of a typical abstract and its elements is geared toward researchers in the arts and humanities. Additional information on writing abstracts is available in Dr. Robert Labaree's libguide on organizing research in the social sciences .

An abstract is a summary of a paper, a book, or a presentation. As a general rule, the abstract is written by the author of the work. Most abstracts are informative.

Abstracts are a required part of graduate theses and dissertations. Abstracts are common in academic and scholarly journal articles, as well as in conference presentations and publications of proceedings. The author, the title, and the abstract are the most immediately visible elements of a work of scholarship that other researchers see as they peruse scholarly databases and publications. These are also the elements that may be indexed by search engines such as Google.

Stylistic guidelines : Use active verbs, when possible, and write in complete sentences. Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of a reader who is not familiar with your work, and who might be reading the abstract to decide on the im portance and relevance of your research.

An informative abstract

A common type of abstract is informative. Such an abstract is usually about 300-500 words in length. It is usually composed after the conclusion of the writing of the work, and acts as a surrogate for the work itself.

Generally speaking an informative abstract should include at least the following elements:

1) an overall description of the topic explored;

2) the theoretical, historical, or methodological framework used;

3) an outline of the main argument(s);

4) a brief summary of the conclusion(s).

A descriptive abstract

A somewhat less common type of abstract is descriptive. Descriptive abstracts are short, ordinarily 150 words or less, and briefly describe the work, almost in an outline format.

Remember to keep track of your sources, regardless of the stage of your research. The USC Libraries have an excellent guide to  citation styles  and to  citation management software . 

  • << Previous: What are Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources
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  • Last Updated: Jan 19, 2023 3:12 PM
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How to Write a Scholarly Abstract

Last Updated: October 21, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 28,847 times.

Scholarly abstracts provide readers with a one-paragraph representation of information contained within a research paper, an academic journal article, or a scholarly conference paper. Writing a scholarly abstract is a relatively common task among college students and scholars when working on research and essays. Scholars in academic fields often write abstracts to send as conference-paper proposals, journal article proposals, or to apply for grants and other funding. You can write a successful abstract by clearly presenting the thesis of your work and focusing on condensed, clear description.

Planning to Write Your Abstract

Step 1 Write your article before you begin the abstract.

  • To determine which information is valuable enough to be included in your abstract, read through your paper and list or highlight the details crucial to your project. Then, condense those points to make your abstract.

Step 2 Re-read the introductory paragraph of your article.

  • Remind yourself as you scan through your introduction that the goal is to reproduce in the abstract the main points you want to convey to readers. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Put yourself in the place of your readers.

  • Focus on the opening portions that provide background information in addition to purpose and scope. Move on to the sections of your article that discuss the research methods, recommendations and the conclusion. Target and highlight only the most relevant data and leave out superfluous information.

Step 4 Structure your abstract efficiently and logically.

  • The introduction to your paper topic should establish the topic. This should be no more than two sentences.
  • In order to show that your paper is helpful and relevant, point out a problem that the existing body of literature in your field does not address. Think of this as stating the “problem” your paper will solve. Try to keep this to one or two sentences.
  • Briefly address your study methods and the results of your inquiry. Explain how and where you conducted your study. This is generally done in no more than three sentences.
  • The conclusion should concisely recap your results (or thesis, if you’re writing in the humanities). This should be one sentence.

Writing Your Abstract

Step 1 Write a rough draft of your scholarly abstract.

  • Use strong, clear, wording in the scholarly abstract. Keep the focus short and simple while maintaining appropriate, correct tone, and avoiding ambiguity.
  • Use the proper style for the discipline you’re writing in: APA, MLA, and Chicago are the most common.

Step 2 Write your abstract concisely.

  • Don’t take the time to summarize your entire article or conference paper. Rather, set out your main argument, and the one or two most important findings from your research.

Step 3 Eliminate academic jargon and excess verbiage.

  • Avoid long-winded sentences like, “This article sets out to prove that the previous research on the behavior of nocturnal owls is inadequate to explain their predation behavior.” Instead, try, “Previous research on nocturnal owls inadequately explains their predation behavior.”
  • Write in the present tense (“My research shows…”) rather than future tense (“My research is going to show…”).
  • Make your language as concise as possible. Write in the active voice (not the passive voice), cut out adjectives and adverbs whenever possible, and don’t include verbiage that merely takes up space.

Step 4 Use the same language and vocabulary as in your full-length paper.

  • Do not copy any phrases or content directly from the journal article. Concisely rephrase the information.

Step 5 Include keywords in your abstract.

  • For example, if you’re writing about a study tracking owls at night, keywords could include “nocturnal,” “predatory,” and “flight pattern.”
  • The vocabulary and terminology used in the Abstract should prepare readers for the topic and language of your full-length paper.
  • The keywords will allow your abstract to be easily searched, when and if it’s entered into a database (this will happen if your paper is published).

Preparing Your Abstract to Send to a Conference Panel or Academic Journal

Step 1 Review the rough draft of your abstract.

  • Scan your abstract for proper grammar and style as well as typos, correct spacing, and punctuation.
  • Type a finished final draft of your scholarly abstract.

Step 2 Compare the focus and context of your scholarly abstract with others.

  • If you’ll be presenting your paper at an academic conference, the abstract will likely be the only part published in the official conference Proceedings. [8] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source It’s important that the abstract reflect your best writing, and also serve as “marketing” to draw interested readers to your panel.

Step 3 Ask a colleague to read over your abstract.

  • It can be especially helpful to have your abstract read by a colleague in a different field. He or she will be less familiar with your specific discipline, and can tell you if your writing or conclusions are jargon-filled or unclear.

Expert Q&A

  • Your abstract will vary slightly based on your academic discipline. If you are in the humanities, briefly mention the academic research you’ve done and the critical or theoretical tradition you’re writing from. If you’re in the sciences, mention the field work or lab work you’ve done, and specific research methods used. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ http://www.aje.com/en/arc/make-great-first-impression-6-tips-writing-strong-abstract/
  • ↑ http://condor.depaul.edu/writing/writers/Types_of_Writing/abstract.html
  • ↑ http://www.academic-conferences.org/policies/abstract-guidelines-for-papers/
  • ↑ http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/06/20/essential-guide-writing-good-abstracts/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/abstracts/
  • ↑ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/

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Title, Abstract and Keywords

The importance of titles.

The title of your manuscript is usually the first introduction readers (and reviewers) have to your work. Therefore, you must select a title that grabs attention, accurately describes the contents of your manuscript, and makes people want to read further.

An effective title should:

  • Convey the  main topics  of the study
  • Highlight the  importance  of the research
  • Be  concise
  • Attract  readers

Writing a good title for your manuscript can be challenging. First, list the topics covered by the manuscript. Try to put all of the topics together in the title using as few words as possible. A title that is too long will seem clumsy, annoy readers, and probably not meet journal requirements.

Does Vaccinating Children and Adolescents with Inactivated Influenza Virus Inhibit the Spread of Influenza in Unimmunized Residents of Rural Communities?

This title has too many unnecessary words.

Influenza Vaccination of Children: A Randomized Trial

This title doesn’t give enough information about what makes the manuscript interesting.

Effect of Child Influenza Vaccination on Infection Rates in Rural Communities: A Randomized Trial This is an effective title. It is short, easy to understand, and conveys the important aspects of the research.

Think about why your research will be of interest to other scientists. This should be related to the reason you decided to study the topic. If your title makes this clear, it will likely attract more readers to your manuscript. TIP: Write down a few possible titles, and then select the best to refine further. Ask your colleagues their opinion. Spending the time needed to do this will result in a better title.

Abstract and Keywords

The Abstract is:

  • A  summary  of the content of the journal manuscript
  • A time-saving  shortcut  for busy researchers
  • A guide to the most important parts of your manuscript’s written content

Many readers will only read the Abstract of your manuscript. Therefore, it has to be able to  stand alone . In most cases the abstract is the only part of your article that appears in indexing databases such as Web of Science or PubMed and so will be the most accessed part of your article; making a good impression will encourage researchers to read your full paper.

A well written abstract can also help speed up the peer-review process. During peer review, referees are usually only sent the abstract when invited to review the paper. Therefore, the abstract needs to contain enough information about the paper to allow referees to make a judgement as to whether they have enough expertise to review the paper and be engaging enough for them to want to review it.

Your Abstract should answer these questions about your manuscript:

  • What was done?
  • Why did you do it?
  • What did you find?
  • Why are these findings useful and important?

Answering these questions lets readers know the most important points about your study, and helps them decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Make sure you follow the proper journal manuscript formatting guidelines when preparing your abstract.

TIP: Journals often set a maximum word count for Abstracts, often 250 words, and no citations. This is to ensure that the full Abstract appears in indexing services.

Keywords  are a tool to help indexers and search engines find relevant papers. If database search engines can find your journal manuscript, readers will be able to find it too. This will increase the number of people reading your manuscript, and likely lead to more citations.

However, to be effective, Keywords must be chosen carefully. They should:

  • Represent  the content of your manuscript
  • Be  specific  to your field or sub-field

Manuscript title:  Direct observation of nonlinear optics in an isolated carbon nanotube

Poor keywords:  molecule, optics, lasers, energy lifetime

Better keywords:  single-molecule interaction, Kerr effect, carbon nanotubes, energy level structure

Manuscript title:  Region-specific neuronal degeneration after okadaic acid administration Poor keywords:  neuron, brain, OA (an abbreviation), regional-specific neuronal degeneration, signaling

Better keywords:  neurodegenerative diseases; CA1 region, hippocampal; okadaic acid; neurotoxins; MAP kinase signaling system; cell death

Manuscript title:  Increases in levels of sediment transport at former glacial-interglacial transitions

Poor keywords:  climate change, erosion, plant effects Better keywords:  quaternary climate change, soil erosion, bioturbation

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Writing a Research Paper

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The Research Paper

There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.

Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.

The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:

  • Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
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  • Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
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  • Published: 06 May 2024

APOE4 homozygozity represents a distinct genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease

  • Juan Fortea   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1340-638X 1 , 2 , 3   na1 ,
  • Jordi Pegueroles   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3554-2446 1 , 2 ,
  • Daniel Alcolea   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3819-3245 1 , 2 ,
  • Olivia Belbin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6109-6371 1 , 2 ,
  • Oriol Dols-Icardo   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2656-8748 1 , 2 ,
  • Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar 1 , 4 ,
  • Laura Videla   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9748-8465 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Juan Domingo Gispert 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 ,
  • Marc Suárez-Calvet   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-2993-569X 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 ,
  • Sterling C. Johnson   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8501-545X 10 ,
  • Reisa Sperling   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1535-6133 11 ,
  • Alexandre Bejanin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9958-0951 1 , 2 ,
  • Alberto Lleó   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-2568-5478 1 , 2 &
  • Víctor Montal   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5714-9282 1 , 2 , 12   na1  

Nature Medicine ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Predictive markers

This study aimed to evaluate the impact of APOE4 homozygosity on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by examining its clinical, pathological and biomarker changes to see whether APOE4 homozygotes constitute a distinct, genetically determined form of AD. Data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center and five large cohorts with AD biomarkers were analyzed. The analysis included 3,297 individuals for the pathological study and 10,039 for the clinical study. Findings revealed that almost all APOE4 homozygotes exhibited AD pathology and had significantly higher levels of AD biomarkers from age 55 compared to APOE3 homozygotes. By age 65, nearly all had abnormal amyloid levels in cerebrospinal fluid, and 75% had positive amyloid scans, with the prevalence of these markers increasing with age, indicating near-full penetrance of AD biology in APOE4 homozygotes. The age of symptom onset was earlier in APOE4 homozygotes at 65.1, with a narrower 95% prediction interval than APOE3 homozygotes. The predictability of symptom onset and the sequence of biomarker changes in APOE4 homozygotes mirrored those in autosomal dominant AD and Down syndrome. However, in the dementia stage, there were no differences in amyloid or tau positron emission tomography across haplotypes, despite earlier clinical and biomarker changes. The study concludes that APOE4 homozygotes represent a genetic form of AD, suggesting the need for individualized prevention strategies, clinical trials and treatments.

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how to write a abstract for research paper

Data availability

Access to tabular data from ADNI ( https://adni.loni.usc.edu/ ), OASIS ( https://oasis-brains.org/ ), A4 ( https://ida.loni.usc.edu/collaboration/access/appLicense.jsp ) and NACC ( https://naccdata.org/ ) can be requested online, as publicly available databases. All requests will be reviewed by each studyʼs scientific board. Concrete inquiries to access the WRAP ( https://wrap.wisc.edu/data-requests-2/ ) and ALFA + ( https://www.barcelonabeta.org/en/alfa-study/about-the-alfa-study ) cohort data can be directed to each study team for concept approval and feasibility consultation. Requests will be reviewed to verify whether the request is subject to any intellectual property.

Code availability

All statistical analyses and raw figures were generated using R (v.4.2.2). We used the open-sourced R packages of ggplot2 (v.3.4.3), dplyr (v.1.1.3), ggstream (v.0.1.0), ggpubr (v.0.6), ggstatsplot (v.0.12), Rmisc (v.1.5.1), survival (v.3.5), survminer (v.0.4.9), gtsummary (v.1.7), epitools (v.0.5) and statsExpression (v.1.5.1). Rscripts to replicate our findings can be found at https://gitlab.com/vmontalb/apoe4-asdad (ref. 32 ). For neuroimaging analyses, we used Free Surfer (v.6.0) and ANTs (v.2.4.0).

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We acknowledge the contributions of several consortia that provided data for this study. We extend our appreciation to the NACC, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, The A4 Study, the ALFA Study, the Wisconsin Register for Alzheimer’s Prevention and the OASIS3 Project. Without their dedication to advancing Alzheimer’s disease research and their commitment to data sharing, this study would not have been possible. We also thank all the participants and investigators involved in these consortia for their tireless efforts and invaluable contributions to the field. We also thank the institutions that funded this study, the Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitario, Carlos III Health Institute, the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas and the Generalitat de Catalunya and La Caixa Foundation, as well as the NIH, Horizon 2020 and the Alzheimer’s Association, which was crucial for this research. Funding: National Institute on Aging. This study was supported by the Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitario, Carlos III Health Institute (INT21/00073, PI20/01473 and PI23/01786 to J.F., CP20/00038, PI22/00307 to A.B., PI22/00456 to M.S.-C., PI18/00435 to D.A., PI20/01330 to A.L.) and the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas Program 1, partly jointly funded by Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional, Unión Europea, Una Manera de Hacer Europa. This work was also supported by the National Institutes of Health grants (R01 AG056850; R21 AG056974, R01 AG061566, R01 AG081394 and R61AG066543 to J.F., S10 OD025245, P30 AG062715, U54 HD090256, UL1 TR002373, P01 AG036694 and P50 AG005134 to R.S.; R01 AG027161, R01 AG021155, R01 AG037639, R01 AG054059; P50 AG033514 and P30 AG062715 to S.J.) and ADNI (U01 AG024904), the Department de Salut de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Pla Estratègic de Recerca I Innovació en Salut (SLT006/17/00119 to J.F.; SLT002/16/00408 to A.L.) and the A4 Study (R01 AG063689, U24 AG057437 to R.A.S). It was also supported by Fundación Tatiana Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno (IIBSP-DOW-2020-151 o J.F.) and Horizon 2020–Research and Innovation Framework Programme from the European Union (H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020 to J.F.; 948677 and 847648 to M.S.-C.). La Caixa Foundation (LCF/PR/GN17/50300004 to M.S.-C.) and EIT Digital (Grant 2021 to J.D.G.) also supported this work. The Alzheimer Association also participated in the funding of this work (AARG-22-923680 to A.B.) and A4/LEARN Study AA15-338729 to R.A.S.). O.D.-I. receives funding from the Alzheimer’s Association (AARF-22-924456) and the Jerome Lejeune Foundation postdoctoral fellowship.

Author information

These authors contributed equally: Juan Fortea, Víctor Montal.

Authors and Affiliations

Sant Pau Memory Unit, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau - Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

Juan Fortea, Jordi Pegueroles, Daniel Alcolea, Olivia Belbin, Oriol Dols-Icardo, Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar, Laura Videla, Alexandre Bejanin, Alberto Lleó & Víctor Montal

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas. CIBERNED, Barcelona, Spain

Juan Fortea, Jordi Pegueroles, Daniel Alcolea, Olivia Belbin, Oriol Dols-Icardo, Laura Videla, Alexandre Bejanin, Alberto Lleó & Víctor Montal

Barcelona Down Medical Center, Fundació Catalana Síndrome de Down, Barcelona, Spain

Juan Fortea & Laura Videla

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Institute of Neurosciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar

Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), Pasqual Maragall Foundation, Barcelona, Spain

Juan Domingo Gispert & Marc Suárez-Calvet

Neurosciences Programme, IMIM - Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain

Department of Medicine and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Bioingeniería, Biomateriales y Nanomedicina. Instituto de Salud carlos III, Madrid, Spain

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), Madrid, Spain

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA

Sterling C. Johnson

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Reisa Sperling

Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Barcelona, Spain

Víctor Montal

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J.F. and V.M. conceptualized the research project and drafted the initial manuscript. V.M., J.P. and J.F. conducted data analysis, interpreted statistical findings and created visual representations of the data. O.B. and O.D.-I. provided valuable insights into the genetics of APOE. L.V., A.B. and L.V.-A. meticulously reviewed and edited the manuscript for clarity, accuracy and coherence. J.D.G., M.S.-C., S.J. and R.S. played pivotal roles in data acquisition and securing funding. A.L. and D.A. contributed to the study design, offering guidance and feedback on statistical analyses, and provided critical review of the paper. All authors carefully reviewed the manuscript, offering pertinent feedback that enhanced the study’s quality, and ultimately approved the final version.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Juan Fortea or Víctor Montal .

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Competing interests.

S.C.J. has served at scientific advisory boards for ALZPath, Enigma and Roche Diagnostics. M.S.-C. has given lectures in symposia sponsored by Almirall, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Roche Diagnostics and Roche Farma, received consultancy fees (paid to the institution) from Roche Diagnostics and served on advisory boards of Roche Diagnostics and Grifols. He was granted a project and is a site investigator of a clinical trial (funded to the institution) by Roche Diagnostics. In-kind support for research (to the institution) was received from ADx Neurosciences, Alamar Biosciences, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Fujirebio, Janssen Research & Development and Roche Diagnostics. J.D.G. has served as consultant for Roche Diagnostics, receives research funding from Hoffmann–La Roche, Roche Diagnostics and GE Healthcare, has given lectures in symposia sponsored by Biogen, Philips Nederlands, Esteve and Life Molecular Imaging and serves on an advisory board for Prothena Biosciences. R.S. has received personal consulting fees from Abbvie, AC Immune, Acumen, Alector, Bristol Myers Squibb, Janssen, Genentech, Ionis and Vaxxinity outside the submitted work. O.B. reported receiving personal fees from Adx NeuroSciences outside the submitted work. D.A. reported receiving personal fees for advisory board services and/or speaker honoraria from Fujirebio-Europe, Roche, Nutricia, Krka Farmacéutica and Esteve, outside the submitted work. A.L. has served as a consultant or on advisory boards for Almirall, Fujirebio-Europe, Grifols, Eisai, Lilly, Novartis, Roche, Biogen and Nutricia, outside the submitted work. J.F. reported receiving personal fees for service on the advisory boards, adjudication committees or speaker honoraria from AC Immune, Adamed, Alzheon, Biogen, Eisai, Esteve, Fujirebio, Ionis, Laboratorios Carnot, Life Molecular Imaging, Lilly, Lundbeck, Perha, Roche and outside the submitted work. O.B., D.A., A.L. and J.F. report holding a patent for markers of synaptopathy in neurodegenerative disease (licensed to Adx, EPI8382175.0). The remaining authors declare no competing interests.

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Fortea, J., Pegueroles, J., Alcolea, D. et al. APOE4 homozygozity represents a distinct genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease. Nat Med (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-024-02931-w

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how to write a abstract for research paper

A pencil shaped rocket launches into outer space

It's Giving Syntactic Shift Examining the Syntactic Pattern of It's Giving "X"

Article sidebar, main article content.

This paper was originally written for Dr. Heather Bliss’ LING 282W course Writing for Linguistics . The assignment asked students to investigate a research question based on previous writing assignments into an experimental or argument paper. The paper uses APA citation style.

Past findings have shown that the syntactic category of slang terms often have a tendency to shift and deviate from the standard variety of the language. For example, one study exploring the syntactic category of the slang diminutive suffix “-ie” shows that when added to a verb, it forms a noun such as “munchie”—the feeling of hunger after smoking marijuana—from “munch”—to eat snack foods (Gallová, 2021). While this highlights a specific aspect of syntactic variation in slang, further research on the linguistic properties of other slang terms remains warranted. The present study shares a similar focus, aiming to determine the type of syntactic shift shown by the slang phrase “it’s giving X”, with “X” being any particular modifier of the direct object. Specifically, the inquiry addresses whether “X” adheres to a subject-verb-indirect object-direct object (S-V-IO-DO [1] ) or simply a subject-verb-direct object (S-V-DO [2] ) sentence pattern. To explore this, three Gen Z participants, proficient in Standard Canadian English, performed a test for syntactic distribution. The test involved using their judgment to assess whether the modifier “X” could be plugged into nine sentences featuring the subject “it’s”, the verb “giving”, with or without the addition of the term “me” as the indirect object and “vibes” as the direct object, while maintaining grammaticality. Results indicate that the modifier “X” grammatically conforms to both S-V-IO-DO and S-V-DO sentence patterns, which shows its versatility in syntactic structures.

[1] S-V-IO-DO refers to Subject-Verb-Indirect Object-Direct Object

[2] S-V-DO refers to Subject-Verb-Direct Object

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    Abstract and Keywords. The Abstract is: A summary of the content of the journal manuscript. A time-saving shortcut for busy researchers. A guide to the most important parts of your manuscript's written content. Many readers will only read the Abstract of your manuscript. Therefore, it has to be able to stand alone.

  21. How to Write a Research Paper

    Choose a research paper topic. Conduct preliminary research. Develop a thesis statement. Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft.

  22. How to write an effective title and abstract and choose ...

    How to write a research paper abstract The abstract should work like a marketing tool. 4,11 It should help the reader decide "whether there is something in the body of the paper worth reading" 10 by providing a quick and accurate summary of the entire paper, 2,3 explaining why the research was conducted, what the aims were, how these were met, and what the main findings were. 1,2,6-8,12

  23. Writing a Research Paper

    The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper: Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper. Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics ...

  24. APOE4 homozygozity represents a distinct genetic form of ...

    Abstract. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of APOE4 homozygosity on Alzheimer's disease (AD) by examining its clinical, pathological and biomarker changes to see whether APOE4 homozygotes ...

  25. It's Giving Syntactic Shift: Examining the Syntactic Pattern of It's

    This paper was originally written for Dr. Heather Bliss' LING 282W course Writing for Linguistics. The assignment asked students to investigate a research question based on previous writing assignments into an experimental or argument paper. The paper uses APA citation style. Past findings have shown that the syntactic category of slang terms often have a tendency to shift and deviate from ...

  26. Ammar Mohammed Ahmed Mudawy

    Abstract. The recent mainstreaming of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and tools has significantly enhanced EFL educators' research writing process. Nevertheless, few studies exist regarding how EFL educators understand AI applications and their integration into research writing processes and techniques.