How to Write an Abstract

By: John Bond

Hi there. I am John Bond from Riverwinds Consulting and this is Publishing Defined. Today I am going to discuss how to write an abstract for a journal article. An abstract provides a reader with a very brief representation of the information contained in a research paper, a journal article, or other academic communication. It helps the reader determine if the article or paper is of interest or relevant to them. There are several types including structured abstracts, informative abstracts, descriptive abstracts, and others.

The length of an abstract may vary from 100 to 200 words or perhaps longer. Many times, the maximum length or format is dictated by the publication, or group being submitted to, or by a preferred style guide such as APA, MLA, or Chicago Style Manual. An abstract typically contains four parts: the research focus or the problem being addressed; the research methods being used; the results or findings of the research; and the conclusions.

Here are the steps to writing an abstract: first, write the entire article or paper. Next choose the main or key points of the paper. This will help you focus on the key takeaways. Look specifically to create a one sentence purpose or thesis statement to what is being examined or researched.

Next, state succinctly what methods were employed. Then give the findings or results of the work, with a brief conclusion which should concisely recap the results. FYI references, tables, figures usually are not included in an abstract. These few sentences will come together to form the abstract for your paper; its presentation dependent upon which format you are using. Do not use text directly from the paper. An abstract is derivative, not cut and paste from the paper. Here are some pointers: -Concise is best. If it can be below the maximum word count, then so be it.

How to Write an Abstract

-Don’t duplicate the opening paragraphs of the paper; these serve different functions. -Avoid jargon. Use language your readers would expect. -Make sure essential key words are present so search engines or abstracting and indexing services will understand better what your paper is about. -Write in the present tense. -Don’t hold back on the findings to tease the reader. Put them out there for the world to see.

-Proofread, proofread, proofread. -Also, show the abstract to colleagues, inside and outside the profession, for feedback. -And finally, an article abstract is likely to appear in many databases or other places since it is fair use.

Make sure it stands alone. And remember reading an abstract is not the equivalent of having read the full article. Well that’s it. Hit the Like button below if you enjoyed this video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel or click on the playlist to see more videos on writing an abstract.

And make comments below or email me with questions. Thank so much and take care.

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