If you want to know how to write an abstract, this article has all the details that you need. Many scientific papers require an abstract. In case you are wondering what is an abstract; an abstract is a summary of what your paper entails. It describes what the paper is about, the method of data collection, the results and findings and the conclusion. By reading it, a reader should be able to know several aspects of the research that was carried out. They should know whether the paper meets their research needs. Some people find it difficult to construct an abstract. However, this is among the simplest sections to write in the paper. It is worth noting that it is written after the paper has been completed.
How to write an abstract for a paper
Important details to include in the abstract include the purpose of the paper, the problem, methods used, findings and the conclusion. In this paper, you will find useful insights on writing an abstract.
1. Finish your paper first before writing the abstract in a paper
The abstract is the first section of your work. However, this does not mean that it should be written first. Start by finishing your paper. Often times, you know how your will paper will look like before writing it. But, ensure to finish it first. Then summarize it to have your abstract.
Note that an abstract is not similar to a thesis. The difference is that an abstract is an introduction or summary of the entire paper while the thesis just introduces the main idea or argument in your paper.
2. Understand what is required in abstract writing for your paper
Remember, scientific papers vary. It could be class assignment, a publication that you want to make or a report about a certain project at your workplace. All of these might have different requirements. For instance, your lecture might provide certain instructions that you must follow. Therefore, before writing the abstract consider things such as the length, the purpose and also the style. There are certain academic writing styles such as APA, MLA and Harvard among others that the lecturer might want you to follow. Therefore be ken about such details.
3. Consider the audience of the abstract for a research paper
If you are writing a scientific paper, you are definitely targeting a certain groups of people. Also there are others who might want to use that paper for reference purposes. As such, determine who your readers are. Use the language they relate with and also concepts that they would be interested in knowing. While at it, determine who will be able to access your publication. Will you provide it for free or ask them to pay? Whichever method you choose, keep your audience in mind.
4.Style to use for your abstract
Abstracts appear to be the same but there are two ways in which they can be written. These styles include the informative and descriptive formats. You can choose any of the formats but the informative style is used for long and technical papers while the technical format is used for short papers.
In case you are wondering what to include in an abstract, here is what you should know. When using the descriptive style you only include the purpose of the paper, the goals and the methods used. The informative paper requires you to include a lot of details. It gives the whole overview of the paper and can be a page long. While using it you have to include in depth details about the purpose, goals, methods, findings and conclusion. There is also another style known as critical abstract. In this one, the critiques of the research methods can be provided.
If you are not assigned the format to use, you can apply any of them depending on your research.
5. Identify and write the purpose of your research
Start by identify the purpose of your study. What is it that you want other people to know? If for instance you write about the correlation between satisfaction and job performance, explain why this study is very important.
6. Write the problem that your study aims at addressing
If you are conducting a research, you definitely want to find out how a certain problem can be addressed or why it exists. Your problem could be why employees perform poorly at work. Explain it and expound it a little bit in your paragraph so that readers can understand. Also, talk about your main argument.
7. Write about the methods used
There are several methods that can be used to collect data in a research. Interviewing, experiments, case studies, focus groups questionnaires and observation are some of the methods that can be used. In this section of your abstract, talk about the methods that were used. Explain about the approach, variables and why the methods were very significant.
8. Give the description of your results
You can only include the results of your research in an informative abstract. Here, you talk about the findings of your study. Explain whether the results support your hypothesis. What are the other general findings of your study?
9. Write the conclusion
An informative abstract must have a conclusion. This is a wrap up of your study. In the conclusion, explain the meaning of the findings and why the paper is important. Write what the findings mean. What do they imply or what can people learn. Also, were your results convincing enough or is there need for more studies on the subjects. Outline the recommendations you have for similar future studies.
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10. Let your abstract be orderly
Even though short, your abstract must be very orderly. Remember, your goal is to inform the users of the paper in a precise manner. Therefore start by outlining the purpose, problem, methods, results and then the conclusion, unless instructed otherwise. This format is very easy to follow.
11. Only write helpful and important information in your abstract
Just by reading your abstract, the reader should be in a position to tell what your research was all about. Therefore, only ensure that you include only the relevant information. The details should just be a hint of what they will expect to read in the paper. Remember, an abstract should be short, which is why you must not include unimportant points.
Also, do not include figures, charts or graphs in the abstract because they can take up a lot of space. Interested readers will find them in the paper. Also avoid using abbreviations in the abstract. This is because the readers might not be familiar with them. It is best that they discover them in the paper.
12. Write the abstract from scratch
Since the abstract contains information in your paper, some people just copy paste or paraphrase the sentences that they used. However, this is very wrong as there will be a lot of repetition in your paper. For such reasons, ensure to convey the same information using other words to bring out the same meaning.
13. Use terms that will make your journal easy to find online
When people need information, there are certain words they type and search through search engines. If you want your journal to be easily visible online, use terms related to topic. For instance if you are studying challenges in the management of multinational organizations, you can include keywords such as diversity, cross-cultural and international management among others. Just ensure that the words are related to your topic.
14. Maintain a broad overview
Your abstract should not contain specific information. It is basically a broad overview of the whole paper. Just give hints of what the paper was about. A reader will then read it if they want to find more details.
15. Ensure that the abstract is error-free
Your abstract should not have any grammatical errors. The sentence structure should also be proper so as to make it easy to read. You can first write draft and then have someone edit and proofread it.
If you are looking for abstract examples, here is the format that you will find helpful.
Purpose and problem: The aim of this study was to investigate the connection between job satisfaction and productivity among employees.
Methods: The methods used include experimentation, interviewing and observation.
Results: There is a significant relationship between job satisfaction and productivity among employees.
Conclusions: When employees are satisfied, they become more satisfied. The implication of these findings is that managements need to come up with better ways of promoting job satisfaction among employees. These studies were limited because it did not consider the costs of promoting job satisfaction in the work place. Studies in the future should try to examine the cost effective strategies for organizations to ensure that employees are satisfied.
This is an example of how an abstract should look like. However, you must follow the guidelines especially when you are presenting the paper to your instructor. Also follow the required writing style such as APA or MLA.