Writing Your Abstract

How long should the initial Abstract paper proposal be?

It should be no more than 200 words.


What should be in the abstract?

Your abstract is a stand-alone statement that concisely conveys the essential information of your paper; presents the objective, methods, results, and conclusions of a research project; has a brief, non-repetitive style.

It should state concisely:

  1. The work that has been done.
  2. The methodology (if important).
  3. The principal results (quantitatively, when possible).
  4. The significance of the results.

The abstract summarizes the paper and is a justification of the work. It is important that the paper’s abstract be as informative as possible.


How do you write an abstract?

Writing an abstract involves boiling down the essence of a whole paper into no more than 200 words that conveys as much new information as possible. One way of writing an effective abstract is to start with a draft of the complete paper and do the following:

  1. Highlight the objective and the conclusions that are in the paper’s introduction and the discussion.
  2. Highlight the results from the discussion or results section of the paper.
  3. Compile the above highlighted information into a single paragraph.
  4. Delete extra words and phrases.
  5. Delete any background information.
  6. Rephrase the first sentence so that it starts off with the new information contained in the paper, rather than with the general topic. One way of doing this is to begin the first sentence with the phrase “this paper” or “this study.”
  7. Revise the paragraph so that the abstract conveys the essential information.


What should NOT be in the abstract?

Formulae, table of contents, author information, addresses, list of keywords, detail as opposed to summary results.