Importance of an abstract and how to write one

Many writers fail to understand the importance of an abstract while others don’t know how to write one. An abstract allows you to expound on the significant aspects or ideas of your paper. An abstract helps the reader determine whether to continue reading the rest of the content or not. A clear, concise, and focused abstract draws the reader’s attention and makes them eager to read the rest of the material. To write an eye-catching abstract, you need to understand how to write the different types of abstracts in writing.

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Types of abstracts in writing

The following are generally the four types of abstracts in writing:

Descriptive abstract

Descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the article or essay. The primary purpose of the descriptive abstract is to provide results or conclusions of research without passing judgments or being critical. An abstract highlights keywords found in the research essay, purpose of research, methods used, and research scope. An excellent descriptive abstract should provide an outline of the work, be clear, and relevant to the study.

Informative abstract

The informative abstract is widely used in writing. An informative essay does not criticize or evaluate the work but provides well-detailed information. The primary purpose of informative essays is to present and elaborate on the main arguments, conclusions, and the facts in the article. The informative abstract is short and may contain the recommendations of the writer.

Descriptive abstract

A descriptive abstract describes the research and does not include the judgment or critique of the research outcome. The primary purpose of a descriptive abstract is to provide the general outline of the topic or title of the paper and how it was researched. However, it’s important to note that the descriptive abstract does not include the research conclusions.

Highlight abstract

A highlight abstract is the least accepted abstract in academic writing. The highlight abstract is mainly written to draw the attention of the reader. The abstract usually uses captivating language that makes the readers want to read more. The writer uses incomplete phrases to attract the attention of the reader.

Guidelines for writing an abstract

Writing style

When writing an abstract, use precise, concise, and complete phrases and sentences. Use as few words as possible, but make sure your words and phrases are specific and relevant. Use the active voice when possible but mainly use the passive language since you are reporting on research that has been completed.

Formatting

Your abstract should be formatted into a single paragraph using the block format. Avoid using paragraph indentations. Your abstract should not be more than 250 words. use single-space and 12 Times New Roman font.

Composing your abstract

An abstract is the first section of your writing, and the best way of writing a great abstract is by writing it after the actual writing. The importance of writing your abstract last is that you will be able to summarize the entire paper. The information included in the abstract should relate to the information in the whole paper. Avoid adding new information that is not in the main article. The last words of your abstract should provide a concise summary of the conclusions and interpretations.

A great abstract should contain;

  • the purpose of the study and the research problem
  • the design of the study
  • an analysis of the research
  • the outcome of the research
  • a summary of your and conclusions

It’s crucial to understand what not to include in your abstract to avoid making little mistakes that may reduce its quality.

A great abstract should NOT contain;

  • too much background information
  • redundant words and phrases
  • acronyms and abbreviations
  • confusing terms
  • citations to other works