What Should A Research Paper Abstract Include – Helpful Directions

What Is A Research Paper Abstract?

A research paper abstract is a brief piece of writing that gives the reader a quick view about your paper. The sole purpose of the abstract is to entice the readers to go through the full copy. An abstract shouldn’t be more than 300 words. Though in the final copy the abstract will be there in the beginning, it should be written at the last stage.

Types of Abstracts

Abstract format is more-or-less same world-over. But the rule-of- the- thumb is- if you are writing a longer/technical paper, the abstract should be informative. If the paper is short, then the abstract has to be descriptive.

Elements of a Research Paper Abstract: Helpful Directions

  • Expression of the Statement
  • The statement of the problem of your paper should be put first in the abstract. What are the problems that you are trying to solve through your paper? You language and tone should be lucid and catchy enough to hook the reader, but you must stay off from using jargons.

  • Importance
  • The importance of the problem is another vital element without which, the abstract of your research paper shall be incomplete. Take your paper as a product and you need to sell it for the potential readers. In the ‘importance’ part (sometimes it is referred as ‘motivation’ also), the gravitas of the argument of your paper should be stated clearly. If you think that your topic has no such interesting weightage, you may consider putting the ‘importance’ part before statement of problem.

  • The Methods
  • What are the methods that you have used in your entire paper to bring out the findings? Did you use simulations, analytical models, data collected from the fieldwork? Or did you completely rely upon theories? Obviously for students of science and pupil of social science/humanities – the methodology will differ. You also need to mention the variables you have neglected or ignored deliberately.

  • The Findings
  • What are the findings of your paper? Here, you must need to include numbers, figures or percentage. Though it is true that this formula can work for science and some streams of social science topics, but for humanities -this is by and large not going to work. Still then, you must ignore ambiguous words like ‘ very much’, ‘too small’ etc.

  • Conclusion
  • What are the consequences of your experiment? Are they going to wipe out the problem at least partially? Though the conclusion is a re-instatement of your paper, but you must put emphasis upon the findings and their potential to be studied further.