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An amazing tutorial on how to write a research paper abstract

It is probably incorrect to say that any part of writing a research paper is easy but if you could, writing an abstract would be it. An abstract for a research paper is basically a synopsis of that paper. In far fewer words, the abstract tells the potential reader of the research paper exactly what they can expect to find. A good analogy would be the blurb on the back cover of a book. The book hunter reads the back cover to get an idea of what the book is about. That's what you're doing when you write a research paper abstract.

Now why I say that writing such an abstract is an easy task is because you write it after you’ve finished the research paper. You don't have to scratch your head and think about what you might put in the abstract. You simply read what you've already written in the research paper and then write a potted version thereof.

Now to write your abstract

Basically speaking, there at two types of abstract being either descriptive or informative. If your research paper is quite long and contains technical information, charts, graphs, etc., you would choose an informative abstract. If you have a shorter research paper and certainly one which does not have a technical aspect to it, then you would choose to write a descriptive abstract.

Both types of abstract provide the same information, it's just that the informative abstract is usually much longer than a descriptive one. In fact a descriptive abstract may only have up to 200 words.

To make sure your abstract really works, concentrate on explaining the problem raised in your research paper. This problem can be also seen as your thesis statement. What are you writing about and what have you have to say about this particular problem raised in your research paper? The reader of your abstract must be absolutely certain about your main argument.

In an informative abstract you will give a synopsis of the results of your research paper. You don’t need the results in writing a descriptive abstract.

But both types of abstract will include a conclusion. It does sound a bit like a spoiler alert should be issued but that is the way of writing a correct and excellent abstract. By knowing exactly what’s in your research paper, write a summary of that and your abstract is in the bag.


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