Home » Various Papers » Writing abstract for thesis paper

Writing abstract for thesis paper

Writing abstract for thesis paper spelling errors

If you need to write an abstract for an academic or scientific paper, don’t panic! Your abstract is simply a short, standalone summary of the work or paper that others can use as an overview. [1] An abstract describes what you do in your essay, whether it’s a scientific experiment or a literary analysis paper. It will help your reader to understand the paper and it will help people searching for a particular work to find it and decide whether it suits their purposes. Seeing as an abstract is only a summary of the work you’ve already done, it’s easy to accomplish!

Steps Edit

Part One of Three:
Getting Your Abstract Started Edit

Write your paper first. Even though an abstract goes at the beginning of the work, it acts as a summary of your entire paper. Rather than introducing your topic, it will be an overview of everything you write about in your paper. Save writing your abstract for last, after you have already finished your paper.

  • A thesis and an abstract are entirely different things. The thesis in a paper introduces the main idea or question, while an abstract works to review the entirety of the paper, including the methods and results.
  • Even if you think you know what your paper is going to be about, always save the abstract for last. You will be able to give a much more accurate summary if you do just that – summarize what you’ve already written.

Can you please put wikiHow on the whitelist for your ad blocker? wikiHow relies on ad money to give you our free how-to guides. Learn how .

Review and understand any requirements for writing your abstract. The paper you’re writing probably has specific guidelines and requirements, whether it’s for publication in a journal, submission in a class, or part of a work project.

Before you start writing, refer to the rubric or guidelines you were presented with to identify important issues to keep in mind.

  • Is there a maximum or minimum length?
  • Are there style requirements?
  • Are you writing for an instructor or a publication?

Consider your audience. Abstracts are written to help readers find your work. For example, in scientific journals, abstracts allow readers to quickly decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests. Abstracts also help your readers get at your main argument quickly. Keep the needs of your readers in mind as you write the abstract. [2]

  • Will other academics in your field read this abstract?
  • Should it be accessible to a lay reader or somebody from another field?

Determine the type of abstract you must write. Although all abstracts accomplish essentially the same goal, there are two primary styles of abstract: descriptive and informative. You may have been assigned a specific style, but if you weren’t, you will have to determine which is right for you. Typically, informative abstracts are used for much longer and technical research while descriptive abstracts are best for shorter papers. [3]

  • Descriptive abstracts explain the purpose, goal, and methods of your research but leave out the results section. These are typically only 100-200 words.
  • Informative abstracts are like a condensed version of your paper, giving an overview of everything in your research including the results. These are much longer than descriptive abstracts, and can be anywhere from a single paragraph to a whole page long. [4]
  • The basic information included in both styles of abstract are the same, with the main difference being that the results are only included in an informative abstract, and an informative abstract is much longer than a descriptive one.
  • A critical abstract is not often used, but it may be required in some courses. A critical abstract accomplishes the same goals as the other types of abstract, but will also relate the study or work being discussed to the writer’s own research. It may critique the research design or methods. [5]

Keep it in order. There are specific questions your abstract must provide answers for, but the answers must be kept in order as well. Ideally it should mimic the overall format of your essay, with a general ‘introduction, ‘body,’ and ‘conclusion.’

  • Many journals have specific style guides for abstracts. If you’ve been given a set of rules or guidelines, follow them to the letter. [12]

Provide helpful information. Unlike a topic paragraph, which may be intentionally vague, an abstract should provide a helpful explanation of your paper and your research. Word your abstract so that the reader knows exactly what you’re talking about, and isn’t left hanging with ambiguous references or phrases.

  • Avoid using direct acronyms or abbreviations in the abstract, as these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader. That uses up precious writing room, and should generally be avoided.
  • If your topic is about something well-known enough, you can reference the names of people or places that your paper focuses on.
  • Don’t include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract. These take up too much room and usually aren’t what your readers want from an abstract anyway. [13]

Write it from scratch. Your abstract is a summary, yes, but it should be written completely separate from your paper. Don’t copy and paste direct quotes from yourself, and avoid simply paraphrasing your own sentences from elsewhere in your writing. Write your abstract using completely new vocabulary and phrases to keep it interesting and redundancy-free.

Use key phrases and words. If your abstract is to be published in a journal, you want people to be able to find it easily. In order to do so, readers will search for certain queries on online databases in hopes that papers, like yours, will show up. Try to use 5-10 important words or phrases key to your research in your abstract. [14]

  • For example, if you’re writing a paper on the cultural differences in perceptions of schizophrenia, be sure to use words like “schizophrenia,” “cross-cultural,” “culture-bound,” “mental illness,” and “societal acceptance.” These might be search terms people use when looking for a paper on your subject.

Use real information. You want to draw people in with your abstract; it is the hook that will encourage them to continue reading your paper. However, do not reference ideas or studies that you don’t include in your paper in order to do this. Citing material that you don’t use in your work will mislead readers and ultimately lower your viewership.

Avoid being too specific. An abstract is a summary, and as such should not refer to specific points of your research other than possibly names or locations. You should not need to explain or define any terms in your abstract, a reference is all that is needed. Avoid being too explicit in your summary and stick to a very broad overview of your work. [15]

  • Make sure to avoid jargon. This specialized vocabulary may not be understood by general readers in your area and can cause confusion. [16]

Be sure to do basic revisions. The abstract is a piece of writing that, like any other, should be revised before being completed. Check it over for grammatical and spelling errors and make sure it is formatted properly.

Get feedback from someone. Having someone else read your abstract is a great way for you to know whether you’ve summarized your research well. Try to find someone who doesn’t know everything about your project. Ask him or her to read your abstract and then tell you what s/he understood from it. This will let you know whether you’ve adequately communicated your key points in a clear manner. [17]

  • Consulting with your professor, a colleague in your field, or a tutor or writing center consultant can be very helpful. If you have these resources available to you, use them!
  • Asking for assistance can also let you know about any conventions in your field. For example, it is very common to use the passive voice (“experiments were performed”) in the sciences. However, in the humanities active voice is usually preferred.

If you need to write an abstract for an academic or scientific paper, don’t panic! Your abstract is simply a short, standalone summary of the work or paper that others can use as an overview. [1] An abstract describes what you do in your essay, whether it’s a scientific experiment or a literary analysis paper. It will help your reader to understand the paper and it will help people searching for a particular work to find it and decide whether it suits their purposes. Seeing as an abstract is only a summary of the work you’ve already done, it’s easy to accomplish!

Steps Edit

Part One of Three:
Getting Your Abstract Started Edit

Write your paper first. Even though an abstract goes at the beginning of the work, it acts as a summary of your entire paper. Rather than introducing your topic, it will be an overview of everything you write about in your paper. Save writing your abstract for last, after you have already finished your paper.

  • A thesis and an abstract are entirely different things. The thesis in a paper introduces the main idea or question, while an abstract works to review the entirety of the paper, including the methods and results.
  • Even if you think you know what your paper is going to be about, always save the abstract for last. You will be able to give a much more accurate summary if you do just that – summarize what you’ve already written.

Can you please put wikiHow on the whitelist for your ad blocker? wikiHow relies on ad money to give you our free how-to guides. Learn how .

Review and understand any requirements for writing your abstract. The paper you’re writing probably has specific guidelines and requirements, whether it’s for publication in a journal, submission in a class, or part of a work project. Before you start writing, refer to the rubric or guidelines you were presented with to identify important issues to keep in mind.

  • Is there a maximum or minimum length?
  • Are there style requirements?
  • Are you writing for an instructor or a publication?

Consider your audience. Abstracts are written to help readers find your work. For example, in scientific journals, abstracts allow readers to quickly decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests. Abstracts also help your readers get at your main argument quickly. Keep the needs of your readers in mind as you write the abstract. [2]

  • Will other academics in your field read this abstract?
  • Should it be accessible to a lay reader or somebody from another field?

Determine the type of abstract you must write. Although all abstracts accomplish essentially the same goal, there are two primary styles of abstract: descriptive and informative. You may have been assigned a specific style, but if you weren’t, you will have to determine which is right for you. Typically, informative abstracts are used for much longer and technical research while descriptive abstracts are best for shorter papers. [3]

  • Descriptive abstracts explain the purpose, goal, and methods of your research but leave out the results section. These are typically only 100-200 words.
  • Informative abstracts are like a condensed version of your paper, giving an overview of everything in your research including the results. These are much longer than descriptive abstracts, and can be anywhere from a single paragraph to a whole page long. [4]
  • The basic information included in both styles of abstract are the same, with the main difference being that the results are only included in an informative abstract, and an informative abstract is much longer than a descriptive one.
  • A critical abstract is not often used, but it may be required in some courses. A critical abstract accomplishes the same goals as the other types of abstract, but will also relate the study or work being discussed to the writer’s own research. It may critique the research design or methods. [5]

Keep it in order. There are specific questions your abstract must provide answers for, but the answers must be kept in order as well. Ideally it should mimic the overall format of your essay, with a general ‘introduction, ‘body,’ and ‘conclusion.’

  • Many journals have specific style guides for abstracts. If you’ve been given a set of rules or guidelines, follow them to the letter. [12]

Provide helpful information. Unlike a topic paragraph, which may be intentionally vague, an abstract should provide a helpful explanation of your paper and your research. Word your abstract so that the reader knows exactly what you’re talking about, and isn’t left hanging with ambiguous references or phrases.

  • Avoid using direct acronyms or abbreviations in the abstract, as these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader. That uses up precious writing room, and should generally be avoided.
  • If your topic is about something well-known enough, you can reference the names of people or places that your paper focuses on.
  • Don’t include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract. These take up too much room and usually aren’t what your readers want from an abstract anyway. [13]

Write it from scratch. Your abstract is a summary, yes, but it should be written completely separate from your paper. Don’t copy and paste direct quotes from yourself, and avoid simply paraphrasing your own sentences from elsewhere in your writing. Write your abstract using completely new vocabulary and phrases to keep it interesting and redundancy-free.

Use key phrases and words. If your abstract is to be published in a journal, you want people to be able to find it easily. In order to do so, readers will search for certain queries on online databases in hopes that papers, like yours, will show up. Try to use 5-10 important words or phrases key to your research in your abstract. [14]

  • For example, if you’re writing a paper on the cultural differences in perceptions of schizophrenia, be sure to use words like “schizophrenia,” “cross-cultural,” “culture-bound,” “mental illness,” and “societal acceptance.” These might be search terms people use when looking for a paper on your subject.

Use real information. You want to draw people in with your abstract; it is the hook that will encourage them to continue reading your paper. However, do not reference ideas or studies that you don’t include in your paper in order to do this. Citing material that you don’t use in your work will mislead readers and ultimately lower your viewership.

Avoid being too specific. An abstract is a summary, and as such should not refer to specific points of your research other than possibly names or locations. You should not need to explain or define any terms in your abstract, a reference is all that is needed. Avoid being too explicit in your summary and stick to a very broad overview of your work. [15]

  • Make sure to avoid jargon. This specialized vocabulary may not be understood by general readers in your area and can cause confusion. [16]

Be sure to do basic revisions. The abstract is a piece of writing that, like any other, should be revised before being completed. Check it over for grammatical and spelling errors and make sure it is formatted properly.

Get feedback from someone. Having someone else read your abstract is a great way for you to know whether you’ve summarized your research well. Try to find someone who doesn’t know everything about your project. Ask him or her to read your abstract and then tell you what s/he understood from it. This will let you know whether you’ve adequately communicated your key points in a clear manner. [17]

  • Consulting with your professor, a colleague in your field, or a tutor or writing center consultant can be very helpful. If you have these resources available to you, use them!
  • Asking for assistance can also let you know about any conventions in your field. For example, it is very common to use the passive voice (“experiments were performed”) in the sciences. However, in the humanities active voice is usually preferred.

Share this:
custom writing low cost
Order custom writing
Order custom writing
Important Notice!