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How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper

How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper

What Constitutes an Abstract in Research Papers?

An abstract is a concise overview of a research paper. Typically, it contains 6 to 7 sentences (150-250 words) which give readers an overview of your paper so they can decide if it’s worth their time reading it or not. Furthermore, abstracts prepare audiences for what will be in the paper: its arguments, supporting evidence, and key points introduced so readers remember them during reading. As such, the brevity and conciseness of an abstract requires the researcher have skills on how to craft an abstract for a research paper.

Abstracts are essential tools for describing books or scholarly articles. These abstracts summarize the key ideas in a concise manner, giving readers a good overview of the book’s contents and purpose. In some instances, professors provide students with specific guidelines on how to craft an abstract for a research paper as one way of inculcating this essential skill to their students. It’s important to adhere to them if provided. Let us now take a closer look at custom research paper writing services available online.

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For further guidance on MLA formatting research papers, we suggest reading our article.

Types Of Abstract as Per How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper Categorization

Two primary types of abstracts are descriptive or informative.

A descriptive abstract:

offers readers a concise summary of the points made by the author during their research, allowing readers to decide whether or not they wish to continue reading further depending on their level of interest in the topic. Although it looks similar to a table of contents in books, descriptive abstracts use complete sentences within paragraphs and are not meant as an alternative for reading a paper; while providing summaries, it cannot provide complete pictures nor fill in any gaps that readers might feel after reading this abstract. Ultimately, descriptive abstracts:


  • Are Summary reports that provide a concise overview of the job; however, some researchers consider them more like an outline.
  • On average, contain about 100 words which is much shorter than an informative abstract
  • provide a partial picture of the product and doesn’t fully satisfy readers
  • Skip results and conclusions.

An informative abstract:

should include all results and conclusions of a given study, yet leave out results and conclusions. A comprehensive summary can serve as the foundation of such an abstract, often serving as readers’ go-to source for information. Be sure to include every detail from any given study; an informative abstract well-presented can almost replace the entire paper itself.

An informative abstract usually follows a format. The author must first include identifying information, which should be supported by citations. Subsequently, the main points of the research are rewritten to make them simpler to comprehend. The methodology section and all key findings come next before concluding with a summary of those results and concluding remarks to wrap up the informative abstract.

An informative abstract in one concise paragraph:

  • Has a standard but variable length which depends on the article’s length, yet it should not exceed 300 words.
  • Captures all information–such as methods and intentions
  • Provides evidence and makes recommendations.

Informative abstracts tend to have more specific content than descriptive ones, making them ideal for longer papers with more complex structure; on the other hand, descriptive abstracts work best when dealing with shorter works. Like the How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper, all abstracts summarize the key ideas on contents and purpose.

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Step-By-Step Instructions on the How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper

Motivation and Purpose

Crafting your abstract’s purpose and motivation can be the most difficult, yet critical part. Let’s say your paper is about recycling plastic; your primary task should be to inform readers about plastic pollution on land and in oceans. In order to keep readers engaged, you must present strong arguments. These questions are essential.

  • What is your study objective?
  • What objectives are you striving to reach?
  • What topic of interest to you?

To make your paper more personal and motivating, include information about you and your passions in relation to the topic at hand. Also, emphasize its relevance in both your life and humanity. The first section should outline both the significance of research as well as how it could be beneficial to readers.

The Research Problem

When writing a research paper, the topic often comes into focus. For example, plastic recycling has global implications; by recycling one’s own plastic you are helping reduce pollution while combatting global warming issues. You must ask: what problem is addressed globally with this study? Are they cutting down ocean plastic waste to combat global warming? Is the issue being assessed or can it help with sea life conservation efforts? There are plenty of options here so make sure everyone feels included regardless of background or interests. Your introduction section should clearly define the problem at hand, state whether it’s broadened or narrowly focused, then present your argumentation conclusively.

Research Approach

Once you have explained why your topic is significant, expressed your personal interest and identified the problem at stake in your paper, it’s time to demonstrate the research methods employed. Demonstrating these processes and procedures is just as essential to readers as understanding the findings themselves. This section outlines the scope of your research and the professional approach you took in discovering it. Please include sources used, how they were found, and any original investigations you conducted yourself. Did you conduct an experiment, survey, interview, or field study where you surveyed your local beach looking for signs of plastic pollution? In order to demonstrate your research approach to your reader, provide a detailed account including highlights and specific studies used.

Research Results

Finally, you can present the findings of your research to readers. Be precise; statistic evidence is more persuasive than vague or abstract language; instead of saying that “a large portion of the ocean is polluted”, say “80%”. This helps readers visualize exactly how much ocean is affected and helps them comprehend its effect on them. This section should answer several questions: what were your study’s numbers and terms (be specific), did your results support your argument, and were you surprised by any outcomes?


Your abstract’s conclusion section should summarize your original argument and tie it back to results. Show readers not only what you have learned about the subject but if your research was sufficient enough to make people more responsible about plastic use – explain how. Is this going to change their behavior and everyday habits? A unified conclusion leaves no room for doubts; let’s move onto helpful tips after all is sorted out.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations on How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper

Some pundits might argue that research should always come before writing anything else. Using the How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper way may seem counterintuitive as you start with your abstract being the summary of your entire paper as the initial piece, yet there are numerous advantages to be gained by following this order as you begin crafting the remainder of the document.

  • You can begin by reading the entire article to retain all pertinent details. Subsequently, distill that knowledge into an abstract without overlooking important details.
  • Furthermore, design an abstract tailored towards your results in order to demonstrate success.

Refer to your research using the past tense. Craft concise and precise sentences.

Avoid using jargon. Research papers should not contain colloquialisms or informal language. Make sure the reader isn’t left confused by unfamiliar terms; any acronyms must be explained at least once for clarity.

Don’t give too much background. Strike the perfect balance between providing enough information and not going into too many specifics.

Don’t be intimidated by having someone else review your work; be prepared! Give the paper to someone in a related field but who isn’t related directly. To determine if the research was clearly communicated throughout, ask them to summarize it for you.

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Examples of Research Paper Abstracts that Reflect the How to Craft an Abstract for a Research Paper Method

Example 1: Juniper Berry’s Potential as an Insect Repellant (high school).

Juniperus communis, commonly referred to as Juniper Berry in North America, has an unknown medicinal value. Aside from their detoxifying effects, these berries have also been known for their ability to repel insects (purpose and reasons).

Example 2: An analysis of salmon management practices in Yukon Delta

Many companies have been involved in salmon farming, both commercially and governmentally. There are two ways to harvest salmon from the Yukon River: traditional methods used by Yukip (local residents) to catch them for centuries; scientific research now being done to understand what caused this decline and potential solutions (purpose and motives).

If you read some research paper topics in this article, you will gain a wealth of valuable information.