What Is an Abstract in an article?

An abstract is a brief but precise overview of a larger piece of work. In general, an abstract describes your article’s scope, objective, contents, methodology, findings, and conclusions. However, the contents of the abstract can vary across disciplines.

The Purpose of an Abstract

An abstract assists the reader in making a decision about whether a larger piece of work is of interest to them and gives the reader an idea about the focus of the study.

Another purpose of an abstract is that it helps large databases in indexing. An ideal abstract should contain keywords that facilitate a ranking in the search.

Usually, the author of the study writes his/her own abstract however, there are also professional service providers who can provide this service as well.

Descriptive and informative abstracts are the two most commonly used types.

  1. A descriptive abstract is objective in nature and comprises the scope of research, purpose, and methods.
  2. Informative abstracts include the conclusions and recommendations of the work in addition to the information found in descriptive abstracts.

How Do You Write an Abstract?

It can be difficult to write an abstract of just 100 to 200 words when the source material is a lengthy thesis or research paper that has been worked on for months or even years. Keep in mind the following points:

An abstract should incorporate the most important information and also use keywords that reflect the content.

One commonly used technique to help write an abstract is through the use of reverse outlining. Reverse outlining involves writing a single sentence from each paragraph of the main text, then grouping the sentences together to form the central ideas of each section. You can further refine these central ideas to create the final abstract.

Another method is to select sentences from the larger work and then rework them to form a single-paragraph abstract. This method works well for research papers on social science topics.

When writing an abstract for someone else’s work, we need to understand the purpose, scope, and methodology. Be sure to read the entire work and write the abstract without referring to it. Once the paragraph is written, revisit the complete work and add any missing information, if needed.

Writing an Effective Abstract

The easiest way to check to see if you are writing an effective abstract is to find out if reading the abstract helps you to figure out if the subject matter is relevant to the reader or not.

The reader should be able to easily understand what the project is about and identify if it suits his/her needs.

While writing an abstract:

  • Stop after every sentence and make sure that the entire project summary is provided.
  • Maintain the same chronological order as in the larger text.
  • Use simple words whenever possible. Use jargon only when addressing a specific audience with expertise in a particular field of study.
  • Do not cut and paste information from the larger work into the abstract.
  • Avoid the use of complex and compound sentences.
  • Check with the supervisor or utilise professional help for clarity on the usage of passive or active voice.
  • Revise your abstract through multiple iterations.
What Is an Abstract in an article?
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