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guides to write an effective abstract

In movies, the trailer is a window to what we expect. You can decide whether you really want to see a movie or not just by seeing it’s trailer. The abstract of any project is that trailer that many journal editorials want to read before deciding whether or not they would further read what you have for them. If you don’t make a good first impression and grab the reader’s attention quick enough via the abstract, your research work is more likely to be rejected before being read and we don’t want that, do you?

>>Read: tips on how to write an excellent executive summary for thesis project dissertation

In any academic or scientific writing, the need to write an abstract should not pose any threat to your project. An abstract is basically a concise stand-alone summary of your paper readable for the purpose of an overview. The good news is that you do not need a copious 100 pages’ textbook to write an effective abstract, these useful tips will help in ensuring that your abstract is as potent and as plausible as necessary.


An abstract is a summary of your entire work. Logically, you should have the entire work before you can summarize, right? Although the abstract is usually positioned at the beginning of your paper, writing the abstract comes last. Even when you may think you already know what your paper would be about, you still wouldn’t be able to give a much more accurate summary of your paper until you have written the entire work.


Your abstract, depending on your project work, would have to take on a specified style and usually there are two styles to writing an abstract; the informative style and the descriptive style. Informative abstract comes into play for technical and longer research work while descriptive abstract works best for shorter works. Although the two abstracts would eventually accomplish the same goal, the informative abstract gives an overview of everything in your paper, including the results and they are usually more than a paragraph while the descriptive abstract merely explains the methods, goal and purpose of your research. You may have been given a specified style for your abstract but if not, ensure to determine which suites your abstract best.

A third and a rarely used abstract style is the critical abstract because it may be required in some courses. A critical abstract accomplishes the same goal as the information abstract and descriptive abstract. However, in a critical abstract, the work under discussion would be related to the writer’s research critiquing either the research design or its method.


Abstracts help readers to find your research work, understand your work and see how it relate to their research interest. In writing your abstract, it is vital that you keep your readers in mind as it helps you to fashion your writing in a way that helps readers to understand your main argument quickly.


Keeping the above in mind, you are good to go with writing your abstract. The first step to note is that abstract should contain only the main ideas from each section of your paper work. This is necessary for a completely explanatory perspective your research work. Identify the purpose and explain the problem of your research work; give a summarized overview of how you accomplished the results in your work and if it is a review of others’ work, then explain it briefly; if you are writing an informative abstract, then include the results of your findings, write briefly on the answers you reach from you study and whether your hypothesis was supported; finally, give closure to your abstract by giving a brief of your conclusion addressing also the importance of your research work. Remember to include only significant portions of every section in your abstract.


While writing your abstract, the following should be noted;

  • Add important keywords to your Abstract to make it discoverable easily.
  • Tables, figures, images and reference are not necessary in your abstract. Avoid abbreviations and jargons that would confuse readers.
  • Avoid informal style of writing.
  • Do not share any new information that is captured in your project.
  • Follow the structure of your paper as you write your abstract.
  • Ensure that you do revise.
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