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Writing Blog

How to Write a Good Abstract

November 25, 2016| Category: Writing Tips

Abstract is a very important part of writing. Many students do not pay much attention to it, making a serious mistake. To understand the importance of writing, you should imagine the following situation. You are a teacher and you have 30-40 students. You have asked all your students to write a research paper. Each research paper should be at least 15-20 pages. When will you have time to check each of the papers? Of course, if it is some final project and students write it stage by stage, its length is 30-40 pages, you will check each your chapter, step by step. But in case all the research papers from 30-40 students are handed in simultaneously, do you really have time to read each paper? I am sure you are not. One more situation, imagine you are a professor and need to ask students to write a small essay of 5-6 pages. It’s seems not that difficult, right? But imagine you have 100-200 students. Will you cope with the task? I guess no. 


In this case an abstract is a saving point for a professor. Having read that small paragraph a professor should have a particular idea what a paper is about, what specific purposes were set at the beginning of writing and what results were achieved. Many students have a particularly wrong vision of abstract writing. I want to share some personal experience and to mention some particular rules of abstract writing.

What Is an Abstract?

  • Abstract is a separate part of an essay. It should be written before the paper itself. In case it is a research paper, an abstract should be before the table of contents.
  • Abstract should be of about 150-200 words. It is one paragraph only. No need to write a too extensive paragraph. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too short. The balance should be found.
  • Abstract is not a mere summary of the paper, it is a statement of the goals, purposes, and the outcomes of the entire essay.

Types of Abstract (according to the American Psychological Association, 2002)

  •  Abstract for an empirical study report
  • Abstract for a review or theoretical article
  • Abstract for a methodological paper
  • Abstract for a case study

How to Write an Abstract

  • Start abstract writing after an essay is completed.
  • Make sure that you have no more than 150-200 words.
  • Write an abstract on a separate page after the title page and before the essay itself.
  • Highlight the background, the main objectives of the essay, and identify the conclusions and the outcomes achieved while writing.

Main Mistakes of Abstract Writing

  • Background and importance of the paper is not provided
  • Too long or too short length

Overall, an abstract is a short paragraph, which describes the main aspects of the essay, with the reference to the purposes and the final outcomes of the writing.