How To Write An Effective Abstract

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How To Write An Effective Abstract

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Living in a digital age, abstracts are important sections for any research paper. They function to communicate what your research is all about in a succinct manner. With lots of publications made online daily, you might have to face stiff competition from other similarly targeted abstracts. This could range in hundreds of thousands globally. So how do you make your abstract to stand out? We will be delving into discussing everything that you need to know about crafting an effective abstract.

Now that we have already established that abstracts are meant to captivate your readers and sell your work, you should first decide on the types of abstracts before jumping to write one.

There are only two types of abstracts and all of them are designed to serve one purpose, which is to summarize and evoke interest in your study. Here is how to differentiate them.

  1. Descriptive abstract – this is 100 to 200 words long abstract meant to communicate all elements of your research paper excluding the results and conclusion sections.
  2. Informative abstract – a slightly longer version ranging from one paragraph to one page-sized abstract. As the name suggests, it contains core information about your research and includes a summary of every section in your paper.

Of the two, the latter type is more common and widely preferred for a journal and/or conference submissions whereas the former type is more popular for shorter articles. To be safe, we suggest that you stick to the instructions provided by the targeted publication. In case this has not been provided, you should make a point of going through previously published articles in your preferred journal so that you may familiarize yourself with the preferred type.

To find out abstract requirements, head out to the website of the publication and go to the “Guide for Authors” section. Here you will quickly learn the different aspects that the publisher is keen to look for. This widely informs the structure and format to follow. This might specifically address the preferred number of words, type, style, and other rules to follow.

When writing an abstract, one of the main things that you should keep on thinking about is whether it will be able to lead your readers to the main text. To increase its efficiency, you should always start by knowing your target audience. Having your readers in mind while writing your abstract, helps align its style with their interests. This way, you are more likely to convince them to continue reading through the rest of the paper.

When working on your abstract, target to include specific and relevant information only. Remember that this is a summary of every section in your research paper. Being precise and concise plays a key role in outlining your main argument to the target audience and increases your chances of captivating them to continue reading.

 As a general rule of thumb, avoid using truncated words that might need elaboration, unnecessary references, use of figures or tables, and introduction of new content.