An abstract is a summary of a research paper and spans for just about a paragraph. It houses about seven sentences and has approximately 200 words. It serves the following purposes:
- It lets the readers understand your work’s essence fast for them to decide on reading your job or not.
- It prepares the reader’s mind to go through information, arguments, and analyses that appear in your paper
- It helps them remember the key points from the article.
It would be best if you also remembered that the search engines on the internet utilize the abstracts and the bibliographies’ databases. They also incorporate the title that helps them identify the essential terms that can later get used to locate and index your paper if it gets published. Therefore, it would be best if you understood that whatever piece of information you decide to include in your writing and more so the abstract and title are vital elements that are in the frontline to help other researchers locate your paper with much ease.
Your professor may give you the necessary guidelines for writing your research paper and how to organize it. Some other academic journals may also have specific and precise requirements for the written abstracts. When you follow the guidelines provided in this article, be sure to also look for the ones set for the course you are jotting.
An abstract houses a lot of information in a brief format; your paper’s main body will get to explain these elements on a much deeper level. There is always a variation in the length of your abstract. It depends on the genre of the paper or the nature of the study overall. How you summarize your article’s information to fit the abstract depends on the proportions you award each chapter. In some cases, you will have to imply some of the stories rather than explicitly stating them. Here are some of the information that gets found in most abstracts:
- The background information of the study, the topic, and the specifics of the research
- The research questions and the problem statement that the research wishes to address
- What the previous research has shown and what’s known
- The goals of the research
- The analytical methods and the research methodology
- The main arguments, results, and findings
- The importance of your statements or implications of your findings
The abstract should be precise and clear, and therefore, a reader must not get to read the entire paper to understand what gets detailed in it. The abstract should house all the essential information required.
When to jot the abstract
A good abstract should get written after the whole paper gets done. Just because it appears at the beginning of a document does not mean you should report it first. That way, you will get to know what to summarize.
An abstract does not cite references in most cases. The most that your abstract will do is describe what you researched, what the findings have come out to become, and the argument you present in your paper. In the paper’s body, you will have to give citations to specific literature that backs up your whole research.
Selecting the Verb Tenses in your Abstract
Social sciences utilize the present tense to recount the general facts that are true and explain the phenomenon of getting studied. It also utilizes the present tense to explain the methods, arguments, findings, and how the study implicates society. The authors then use the past tense when describing the research done.
Humanities utilize the past tense to explain the events that got completed in the past. It also uses the present tense to describe the happenings in those texts to better detail the importance of the texts and their meanings. They also use it to describe the arguments as presented in the text.
Sciences utilize the past tense to describe the previous studies’ research and what the research authors have done. It details the methods they used and their findings too. The authors use the present tense to justify the study and to introduce the research. On top of that, they also use the present tense to show the study’s importance. They even and its overall significance.