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A Lucid Guide to Writing an Abstract for a Research Paper

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Writing a research paper is no less than a nightmare for both experienced and novice writers. The task is elaborate, with multiple parts and specific writing steps and instructions. When discussing the context of your research paper, providing a short description can be tough, considering the amount of information. This is where an abstract for a research paper comes in.

A literary abstract for a research paper help is a short summary of a research paper which includes information from the research concepts and processes to the main findings. Writers are required to summarise the entire paper within 300 words, which often challenges even the best students. Due to this, many turn to professional writers for assistance with an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis. 

As difficult as writing an abstract for a research paper may be, mastering it is important because it requires impeccable research and writing skills to summarise the entire paper concisely and thoroughly. In this blog, you’ll learn about writing all the crucial components of an abstract, writing tricks and more so you can perfect the task. So hop into the learning train!

An Abstract for a Research Paper: the Introduction

An abstract for a research paper help is a short summary of the paper that aims to give the target readers a concise overview of the paper’s research and findings. In simple terms, it’s the mini version of your manuscript.

A well-written literary abstract helps the reader quickly and accurately identify and analyse the paper’s fundamental context and key elements. Your abstract will help them decide whether it’s related to their interest. A model literary abstract generally contains a statement of the purpose of the study, the research methods used for finding the results, and the conclusion/outcome of the study.

The sequence of these elements will depend on the target audience for whom the abstract for a research paper or dissertation is written. For instance, if your target readers quickly want to apply new knowledge, then the most important findings or conclusions must be placed first, followed by the purpose of the research, methodology, and other details of the findings.

All research, from humanities to sciences, should be based on a purpose. The research methodology may differ subject to subject, but the abstract must address the research methods to find results and conclusions.

Understand that an abstract is not a review. Even though it comprises the key frameworks and terminologies from the paper, treat the abstract for a research paper, lab report or thesis as an original text. Furthermore, include examples of relevant research questions to give a glimpse into the context being addressed in the paper, thus giving a preview of the objectives and central points of the study.

The Length of a Literary Abstract

The length of a literary abstract varies by institution, publisher, and discipline, although the word count ranges between 100-500 words. The placement of the “Abstract” section also differs by organisation and discipline requirements. An abstract following the APA style should be between 150 and 250 words, which again will differ from one journal and the publication style to another. If unsure, consult your subject supervisor for clear information about the same.

Scientific article abstracts, like lab reports and technical documents, should include all the paper’s major sections, such as the introduction, hypothesis, methodology, results and discussion. While in most cases, the abstract is placed at the beginning of a paper, make sure you refer to your institution’s publication rules or style manual for clear instructions.

Understanding the Components of an Abstract

A literary abstract is a summary of your academic manuscript. It gives an overview of the research paper in one to two paragraphs. You can say it is an introduction to your paper but in a concise form. Writers are required to compose a well-defined abstract briefing their investigation and findings to give their readers a fair idea of their work. An abstract for a research paper is used for summarising the paper and can be found in reports, articles, grant proposals, and other literary works focused on research methodology.

The five key elements of a well-written abstract include:

  • Introduction
  • Research significance
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Conclusion


The introduction of the abstract will focus on THE question: Why you chose to do this paper and not something else? What is the problem that should be addressed?

The introduction of your abstract for your research paper will focus on introducing your research topic to the readers. Here, you tell what your study is based on and what you aim to explore. Give background information in brief, highlighting the existing research in the specific area, and explain how your approach is different and what you intend to find while including your specific reasons.

The Background/Research Significance

This section focuses on the explanation of how your research is relevant to similar projects to give an overview of the purpose of the research. Specify your research aim, and in case of hypothesis, explain if it is confirmed or rejected by your study. Your research significance will help your readers identify why your study is important.


In this section, you discuss the methods for your research. Include details related to the number of participants, their characteristics, the data collection process, and other details that are likely to help your readers understand your research process. The section will also describe how the entire experiment was carried out. Was it observational, experimental, or survey studies? You’ll have to provide detailed information related to data collection and analysis using tables, figures, and statistical reports.


Here, you have to provide the results of the experiment and the findings. Present all the results in proper sequence so it makes sense to the reader. You can also group all the data into different sections and tables and use graphics, figures and numerical values to help your readers follow your study’s results. You can also highlight the limitations of your research or the scope for improvements in future research.


The conclusion section will outline your research findings and answer all the questions highlighted at your paper’s beginning. The conclusion of the abstract for a research paper will provide answers to questions like how your research results answer the research questions or how the results relate to the previous studies.

The paragraph should highlight your study results and give a concise statement about the implications while discussing the strengths and limitations of the research. It’s essential to make your abstract clear and well-detailed so the readers understand the study topic. Avoid stating unnecessary information and excessive use of jargon.

There are different ways of formatting an abstract for a research paper, thesis, dissertation, and lab report. Irrespective of the formatting guidelines of the target journal or conference, all abstracts should involve these five parts so readers can understand the purpose in a clear and concise manner.

Crafting an Engaging Introduction

An introduction is key to grabbing readers’ attention and demonstrating the writer’s authority on the subject, whether an essay or an abstract for a research paper. It should be well thought out and defined and involve enough information about the context without overpowering readers with too much information.

Considering the importance of an introduction, putting down your research findings in a paper with the right words and tone is no joke. For most writers, penning down the introduction of an abstract for a research paper is the hardest bit of the task as it includes rationale. The reader should be able to determine right away if the paper is relevant to their interest and demonstrate the writer’s authority on the topic. Hence, use accurate citations to indicate your scholastic impact.

When it comes to structuring the introduction of the abstract for a research paper, keep in mind the following pointers:

  • Your area of research, its importance and relevance and your authority of it. Also, mention the unique niche your research is covering that wasn’t covered before. You may oppose the existing assumption and want to raise the question that needs further discussion and research.
  • Include the overview of findings relevant to your research niche to highlight your intent. Outline the critical points so readers know what they are getting at beforehand. You don’t have to be descriptive. Focus on answering the question instead and justify why the topic is important for further investigation, how much research was done and what your new research will contribute to the field.

Summarising Methods and Approach

Once you have established the significance of your research, you need to decide what methods to report and leave out. You can ask yourself some questions, like:

  • Where you experimented?
  • What devices did you use, and are there any specific settings?
  • How did you find specific participants?
  • Is the study your own work or a group effort?
  • Did you use an analytic model, a simulation, a double-anonymised study, or a case study?
  • What kind of questionnaire did you use?
  • How did you analyse the data?
  • Were there technical issues? If any, how did you adjust protocols?

Remember, for every method-related detail you provide, you should explain why you chose a specific stimulus. If you piloted research experiments to determine certain details, be sure to describe the process and outcomes of those experiments. Briefly provide evidence in support of the claim and highlight vital sources. Then, summarise the results to get an outcome of the study. Avoid using vague qualitative words or phrases like “small,” “very,” and so on, and use quantitative terms like numbers, percentages, and figures to answer the following questions:

  • What did your study yield in trends, figures, or correlation between phenomena?
  • Was your study a success? How did your results compare to your hypothesis?
  • Was the outcome highly unexpected or predicted?

Highlighting Key Results and Findings

The results or findings section of the abstract for a research paper is the climax, as it answers the main focus of the study. Besides the results, it will contain a statement of its significance and how it has changed from the hypotheses. Also, remember to write the results section in the past tense. Even though the results vary with the methods and data generated, don’t mention anything beyond your study or findings. Once you state the results, write the interpretations in the following section explaining the meaning of the results and their effect in the specific field of research.

Conveying the Conclusion and Implications

In the last section of your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis, write a statement focusing on the implications and limitations of your study. Connect your statement with the results by answering the following questions:

  • Are the results of your study significant in the scientific world?
  • What are the effects of these results on a wider world?
  • What other details are necessary for expanding knowledge in the area?

The conclusion of your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis should answer “So what,” interpret what you have found and state the implications of the results. Your conclusion should describe the meaning of your study findings in the specific study field and provide relevant recommendations. To compose an effective literary abstract conclusion, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can one apply the results to other situations?
  • Do the results fill the knowledge gap as described in the introduction?
  • How are the findings similar or different from the existing studies?
  • Will your results to another hypothesis?

Ensuring Clarity and Conciseness in Abstracts

The American National Standard for Writing Abstracts, published by the Council of National Library and Information Associations, suggests several factors to ensure clarity and conciseness in an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis.

  • Explain your paper’s primary purpose and objective, ideally in one sentence. In addition, mention the rationale of your research to explain why you have done the research, is the topic newly explored or previously ignored, and the techniques and approaches used.
  • In the case of non-experimental work, describe the sources, interpretation of your sources, findings, data collected, and effects concisely. Prioritise new and verified findings that contradict previous reports. Make sure there’s a mention of limitations, purpose, contribution of the investigation and recommendation.

Here’re some more tips for perfecting the clarity and conciseness in abstracts for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis:

  • Complete your abstract and try to complete it within 150 to 250 words. Confirm the acceptable word count requirements with your professor before writing.
  • Stick to the standard structure for writing your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or
  • Refer to peer-reviewedabstracts for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis and check if your abstract focuses on the necessary key points. Study their writing style and try to apply it to your writing.
  • List the keywords and prepare a rough draft. Rope in someone to review your draft and pay extra attention to the suggestions while editing your writing.

Core Things to Keep In Mind While Writing an Abstract

  • Never overlook the reason for which the research took place. Highlight the importance of hooking your readers.
  • Stay focused on explaining the problem, research methods, and outcomes. Discuss the types of evidence used in research and the required ramifications. State why the changes should be implemented and how they work with the body of knowledge.

Some more guidelines on WHAT TO AVOID to perfect the clarity and conciseness in abstracts:

  • Extensive reference to other literature
  • Adding information that is not referred to in the main manuscript.
  • Adding catchy phrases, definitions of words, provocative quotes or other unaccepted devices
  • Lengthy contextual details, acronyms, redundant or repetitive information,
  • Use of elliptical, incomplete sentences, jargon, citations to other works
  • Personal viewpoints, tautological arguments, or condescending sentences

Checklist of requirements for writing an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis in the APA style:


  • The biggest focus of your abstractfor a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis should be to be clear and concise. The use of words and tone plays a crucial role. So write in an active voice to eliminate unnecessary use of words while conveying your information.
  • When writing about an institution or organisation, use their full names in their native language if it is not English. In the case of books or film titles, write them in their original language, followed by the English translation in parentheses if you believe the reader is unaware.
  • Cite your sources in the APA format where you mention the author’s last name, year.
  • Use infinitives to state your hypotheses or objectives.


  • When using the APA format, stick to accessible formats such as 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman, 10-point Computer Modern, 11-point Calibri, or 11-point Georgia. Write “Abstract” on the first line, place it in the centre and bold it without the quotes.
  • Start writing your text from one line below the title in a double-spaced paragraph with a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • Ensure the running head is aligned to the left side at the top of the page. Steer clear of indentations in case you don’t add a keywords section at the end of your abstract. If you include keywords, indent the first line and italicise the label without formatting the content.

When choosing keywords for your study, ensure it represents the main context of your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis. It should be relevant to the study area or industry and must not be under 3 or more than 10. Here are some guidelines to remember while formatting your keywords:

  • Stick to the similar font choice, page placement and spacing used in the abstract.
  • Write the “Keywords” label one line below the abstract in italic. Don’t bold it.
  • Indent the first line written one line below the keywords label.
  • Stick to lowercase, except for proper nouns. Use commas and spaces to separate the keywords.
  • List the keywords in your preferred order.
  • Do not indent the second line if the keywords run into a second line.

These APA formatting instructions are primarily for the abstract but can be used for other research paper sections. However, you can check the APA format guidelines for complete guidelines about formatting an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis in the APA style.

Finalising the Abstract

An abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis is important for communicating the significance of a paper. It helps to set a solid impression on the readers about the overall quality of the academic paper. Due to this, many organisations use abstracts for proposal descriptions. Furthermore, it can save readers a lot of time and effort, as they can read the abstract and determine whether you want to read the entire paper or give the subject matter a hard pass. Since it is also a means of testing and reassuring the summarisation skills of a writer, it helps the writer to focus on the crucial factors and build a perfect abstract.

Before you finalise your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis, check this list to determine if your abstract is successful. 

  • The aim or objectives of your research topic
  • Specific objectives specially created for the study
  • Research question or problem specifically generated from the main objective of the research
  • The number of people in the study
  • Research design
  • Sampling methods used for the research
  • Data collection methods and instrument
  • Data analysis methods and instrument
  • The research findings and limitations
  • Suitable recommendations for future study

When developing the abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis, it’s important to keep it concise in a suitable, logical sequence for readers’ quick understanding. You must be thorough with standard instructions, if given, to eliminate the chances of unfavourable consequences. Most academic departments provide budding researchers with detailed writing instructions so writers can limit their pieces to the given word count while meeting all the necessary writing rules.

Your abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis should be logically arranged to help readers read and understand the main context of the piece without hassle. Therefore, use suitable conjunctions or connecting words or phrases to maintain the sequential flow of the writing. 


Before we part, understand that you will get clear instructions for writing an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis. These guidelines often highlight what to include in the abstract and what not. As a writer, your aim should be to tailor your abstract according to the given requirements and assemble one for the manuscript. However, if you are unsure about writing an abstract for a research paper, dissertation, lab report, or thesis, create a model abstract paper and develop it one sentence after another, along with other crucial components of an abstract. It is an excellent method to save time creating an abstract using a similar subject and methodology published in the journal.

Sophia Martin

Hi, my name is Sophia Martin, a Broadcast news analyst by profession and a writer by passion. I am an active blogger who loves blogging about the latest fashion and makeup trends. Apart from this, I also work as an English writing expert for I have written several English writing samples for prominent academic websites. I have 6+ years of experience guiding students to tackle their complex English writing tasks. When I am not working, I am probably hopping around, discovering the latest fashion and makeup trends or searching my next read at a book store. Or maybe reading one at some cafe!

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