What is an Abstract in a Paper
The abstract can be described as a short informative explanation of larger scientific work. It is usually placed at the beginning of the paper before the main text, and its length typically does not exceed 300 words. There are several important roles of an abstract, and if you have experience in academic writing, you might have acknowledged its importance for the overall work.
No matter whether you deliver an article for the editor’s review or hand in a big assignment to the professor, this short description is the very first thing that the reader learns about your work. Also, this is an important communication instrument that conveys the key points of your study and briefly explains to the audience why this particular work is worth further consideration. As a freshman or sophomore, you do not need to add abstract to all the assignments, but it is an integral element of every large college research paper. Likewise, Master’s or Ph.D. level students have to develop the skill of abstract writing because they need it more often.
How to Write a Good Abstract
To write a good abstract, you need to make a couple of important choices before you start. To begin with, you should remember that there are several different types of abstracts, and each has different aims, thus specific style and components.
Generally, the abstracts can be descriptive, informative, or critical, although the latter one is used not very often. If you have difficulties deciding what type of abstract fits your paper, you can take the example of a research paper that is similar to your work and analyze its content.
After you have determined the type of abstract, you can start making a draft. At this point, keep in mind that there are several necessary details to mention in such paper description. Thus, regardless of the abstract type, you should always try to answer the following questions:
- Why is the research important?
- What problem are we trying to solve here?
- What methodology (if any) have we chosen to use for this research?
- What were the results of our study?
- Does our study contribute to the wider research? What challenges can be addressed with its help?
If your description addresses all of these questions, then it is very likely that your example of abstract is really good.
Also, abstracting the article of some other person and abstracting your own text are not the same. Very often, it is much harder to single out the key points in your text because, after so many hours of hard work, everything seems essential. There are a few useful techniques that you can implement while drafting abstracts.
If you need to describe your own work, try to use reverse outlining. It is a process during which the author writes down the main ideas of every paragraph and thus gradually forms the key points of the whole work. One more fine technique is called “cut and paste”; the writer goes through the whole paper and literally cuts and pastes the bits that one thinks are most important.
When abstracting the other person’s work, you should remember a few important details. First, try to summarize the key points of the text – the bits that will be interesting and relevant to the reader. Next, remember to rewrite those using your own words; do not plagiarize. Finally, put aside the paper and read the abstract as if you have never seen the article before. Does it give enough information? Can you grasp the main idea of the text described by this abstract? If yes, then congrats on a well-written piece.
Examples of an Abstract
The lives of modern students are easier in a way because now, they can Google things that they do not understand. If you struggle with abstracting a paper, check out a few good abstract examples that may serve you as an inspiration. If the discipline matches your subject, you can also use them as a pattern.
Social Sciences Example:
Previously, numerous researches were centered around the correlation of false memories and dysphoria in the negative mood induced and dysphoric patients correspondingly, but the specific effect of negative mood inducement in dysphoric patients on the mood-related false memories has not been studied yet.
During this study, the sampled participants were shown the list of words with different connotation: positive, neutral, and negative. Later on, they were asked to select the positive words from the mixed group. The participants were divided into three groups based on the degree of dysphoria experienced by each.
The study presumed that the patients with more intense dysphoria would be more subjected to the mood-related false memories. The results have revealed that there is a direct relation between the mood congruent faulty memories and dysphoria.
The findings of the study contribute to the development of new treatment techniques. To deepen the understanding of the impact of dysphoria on memory function, further research is needed.
Performing and Visual Arts Example:
The dance is a type of performing arts that can have very powerful implications. One of such is social advocacy that can be instilled in the performance and serve as the means of increasing social awareness. The choreographers often integrate social advocacy into the classroom practice and performances. Such elements are valuable and empowering because they enhance the performing experience and awareness of the dancers in regard to the nature of this art form. This empowerment is vital for the art students because it enables them to develop the skill of artistic ownership, that is, the ability to express the choreographic intent by means of the so-called movement vocabulary.
This research investigates the extent to which the dancer is capable of reflecting the attitude through the performance. The comparative analysis of the cognitive and physiological studies provides a broader understanding of the artist as an agent of social change.
This study will be based on the analysis of a series of memoirs of different people describing the horrific experiences of the mass violence during the Holocaust. The central focus is placed on the experience of young people and children in Europe who have survived the cruelties of Nazi Germany.
All the memoirs are written and published in English. Each text traces the individual memories of the survivors from the entrance of German conquerors to their countries and the beginning of mass antisemitic violence to the experience in the refugee camps.
The research will trace the common features of unrelated individual stories. The objective of such observation is to determine how the memory of different people reflects similar events, what particular episodes are emphasized, and what feelings and wishes motivate people to share their stories. Also, the research is aimed at defining the role of the survivor memoirs for increasing socio-political awareness and preventing similar genocides from happening in the future.
The collected materials can be of a good use not only for the scientific community and Art students, but also for the general public.
Environment and Natural Resources Example:
The problem of recycling has become extremely acute for the last generation. The drastic impact of human activity has already had a vast impact on the environment, including flora, fauna, and other natural resources that are essential for preserving live on Earth. Given that the general public becomes aware of the potential dangers, more and more people acknowledge the need to contribute to the preservation of the planet. One of the most important initiatives is recycling programs, which are supported and funded in many cities of America. However, the experience is not equally positive to all the urban areas supporting the initiative. This research will investigate the recycling realities of three big American cities, Detroit, Lansing, and Ann Arbor. Its main objective is to discover the current trends of this enterprise, determine potential challenges, and therefore suggest possible solutions. With this study, we expect to find out what social, political, and economic environment in the region is favorable for a successful implementation of the recycling programs.
Communication Arts and Sciences Example:
In the age of information technologies, people mostly rely on the Internet as a major source of health-related info. One of the frequently searched topics is the breast cancer: causes, symptoms, treatment, etc. This study will address the content of 160 most searched websites about the breast cancer. The major focus of the research is being placed on the assessment and analysis of the 15 common theoretical components of this health-related issue. The study also examines the ways in which such information is used to convince people make donation or purchase from the website.
The findings show that 10 out of 15 components were aimed at informing people about detection rather than prevention. Among the remaining 5 prevention-focused websites, three of them used to solicit cost. Such results inspire further research of the question since it is very interesting to study this correlation from different perspectives.