How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

hello this is kevin from word vice and today i’m going to talk to you about what you need to include in a research paper abstract now why is the abstract important well it essentially seduces the reader into reading the rest of your paper and even purchasing the paper if necessary it also must summarize all of the parts of your paper by writing accurately concisely and including only the most important content you can keep those readers seduced into reading your paper before we get into the nitty-gritty of the structure of the abstract let’s talk about a couple things you need to keep in mind before you even begin to write it there are two main types of abstracts that accompany research writing the first is the descriptive abstract the descriptive abstract is around 100 to 200 words in length and what it does is it indicates the type of information found in the paper it explains the purpose objective and methods of the paper but not the results or the conclusion the informative abstract on the other hand is by far more common for conferences in journals and these abstracts essentially act as a surrogate of the paper they summarize every aspect of the study including the results you also want to make sure you research all of the guidelines for the journal or conference to what you’re submitting before you write the abstract ask questions about the maximum or minimum word count ask is your abstract structured or unstructured a structured abstract has explicit headings that show which part of the abstract you’re writing whereas an unstructured abstract does not you also want to be sure of any specific formatting requirements that the journal or conference will have now let’s talk about the structure of the abstract an abstract is essentially a summary of your paper and contains five sections these sections are the purpose and motivation the problem the methods you used the results and the conclusion as abstracts are almost always one long paragraph these sections will flow into each other and create a unified holistic effect in section one you need to identify the purpose and motivation of your study now right off the bat you need to get the reader’s attention so clearly state both your motivation for study and the purpose of your study why did you decide to do this particular study and why is it important to your area of study or a wider audience so your motivation sentence might look something like this rising incidents of rabies among domestic animals is an increasing concern in Brazilian cities immediately following the purpose and motivation section you need to state your problem what is your research trying to better understand or what questions is it trying to solve what is your central claim or argument don’t be afraid to start your purpose sentence clearly and frankly the purpose of this research is by being clear and direct you’re going to let the reader know your intentions in the study a problem statement might look something like this the purpose of this study is to investigate the connection between urban population proximity to jungles with wild squirrel populations in the incidence of rabies and domestic animals we’ve started out with the purpose of the study is to again this is a great way to state your problem and indicate to the reader what your study is about following your motivations and the problem you need to talk about your methods what did you do and how did you do it now you don’t have a lot of space to talk about your methods here so what you want to do is discuss only those methods that are most significant which parts are most important for readers to understand your results using a cross sectional analysis this study analyzed the incidence of rabies and Brazilian squirrels from 2007 to 2015 and measured these results against a similar study conducted in 2011 the language in this section deals directly with the research and analysis methodology but as you can see we’ve only focused on the most important parts of this methodology now in the methodology section you want to be sure and not include any references to other works or studies you can do that later in the introduction of your paper the next section of your abstract will be a summary of the results just as in the method section you should determine what the most significant results were you should link these results to your problem in your conclusion think about what your study yielded in terms of concrete outcomes for example trends figures correlations between were there any highly unexpected outcomes or were they all largely predicted again because of space you don’t really want to be too detailed here and you want to pull your reader in so focus on the most significant parts of your results let’s check in with our Brazilians girlfriends the proximity of a dense urban population to brazilian squirrel habitats was found to play the greatest role in facilitating the spread of rabies to domestic animals and we’ve linked our results directly back to the problem we initially asked which was what is the role what is the correlation between urban population and rabies and domestic animals in the last section of your abstract you should give a statement about the implications of your study this is your conclusion statement relate this content back to your problem and purpose you established earlier you want to answer the question you initially set out to answer at the beginning of the abstract here are some questions you can think about answering here what did the results mean in the context of your problem what other unanswered questions about your problem are there and what other studies might yield further solutions to these questions in our sample abstract we can make a conclusion like so this study definitively answers the questions regarding correlation between proximity to brazilian squirrels and the transmission of rabies to pets further studies are needed to establish causal relationships and develop preventative measures so our language reflects the problem that we initially set out to answer which is the question regarding this correlation of the proximity this conclusion also addresses the issue of lack of information for related studies here’s some general tips to keep in mind when writing your abstract first write the abstract last writing your abstract last will ensure that the information in both the body of your paper and the abstract are consistent always keep your content in order start with the introduction and finish with the conclusion if you’re out of order the reader might be confused and skip to the next abstract write the abstract from scratch because the abstract is a self-contained entity even though it’s a mini paper you want to make sure to avoid any redundancies in your copying and pasting from the body of your paper really does not make for a strong abstract only include key terms in key words in the abstract that are highly relevant to your paper while throwing a lot of key words out there may generate a lot of traffic and views of your abstract it certainly won’t engage the reader to keep reading your paper the same principle of relevancy applies to the keywords that you put at the bottom of your abstract by using the terms that are most relevant to your paper you ensure that on a search engine or database the researchers searching for your work will find what they need to find and not extraneous information so we hope this video was helpful in helping you write an abstract that will engage and encourage a reader to keep reading your paper if so please like and subscribe to our Channel and for more great content please visit word vice.com thanks and happy writing

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