All Ph.D. dissertations have abstracts; a graduate student may create a research project abstract for other major works. These students know how to write a great abstract because they have had plenty of practice and because they have read the abstracts of other people’s research works.
So, here you are having completed a research paper, and your professor wants you to include an abstract. You have never written one before and you really don’t know how to make an abstract for a research paper. You may have read abstracts written for dissertations or theses, but you have not done original research – these authors are writing research abstract pieces that relate to their own original research, not a research paper on other authors’ works.
The bottom line is, you can’t write a research paper abstract by studying those from original research, because there are two types of abstracts, and yours is the other type.
Two Types of Abstracts
The first thing you need to understand in learning how to write a research paper abstract is that you will be writing a descriptive abstract. The other kind, the ones that you have probably been looking at that make no sense to you, are informative abstracts. They are the ones written when a student has done that original research.
Descriptive Abstract for Research Paper Works
A descriptive abstract explains the type of information that a reader will find in your research paper. Writing a research paper abstract, then, is not for the purpose of making judgements or describing the methods you used to answer a research question. It should include the purpose for your paper and the scope of the research you conducted. The abstract of a research paper can almost be considered a prose outline of what is contained in the paper itself.
How to Write Research Paper Abstract
Here’s how to write the perfect abstract for your own research paper.
- Begin with your thesis statement for the paper. Your thesis might be something like this: “The overriding cause of the American Civil War was the issue of federal power vs. states’ rights.”
- You should then provide a summary of the information/data that you have gathered which proves or expands your thesis statement.
- You may mention known research experts whose works are cited in your paper to prove your thesis statement
- Your abstract needs to be about 100-150 words.
Note: You don’t really express an “opinion” other than your thesis statement. The goal of these types of abstracts is making research paper works clear to readers, so that they know what is contained in the document.
How to Write a Research Abstract of the Informative Type
If you have been assigned a research abstract of an actual piece of research that someone else has written (e.g. a journal article, a thesis, etc.), then you are going to be writing a longer piece, but no more than one page – about 250-275 words. Here is how to make an abstract for research paper works that involve someone else’s original research.
- Obviously, you will have to read the entire piece, whether that is a journal article, a thesis, a dissertation or some other published piece of research.
- Now that you have read the entire piece, set it down, and try to write a summary of what you read. This will not be the final draft, obviously, but it will get down on paper the main ideas that you picked up.
The elements to be included in the abstract are the following:
- What was the purpose of the research? Usually, this includes the research problem or question that the author is answering.
- The author may have stated a hypothesis. Be certain to state that hypothesis.
- What methodology did the author use to research the question or problem? You will need to describe this very briefly because you don’t have a lot of space.
- What were the results of the author’s research? Was the question answered?
- What contribution to the field does the author state s/he has made?
Long ago, when you learned how to write a perfect research paper, that your first draft would never be your last. The same holds true for any piece of writing you craft for submission to an instructor. The research abstract is no different. Your first draft is just that. Be certain that you read it carefully, revise it, and ensure that it is polished piece before you turn it in.
Research Papers and Research Abstracts – When You Need Some Help
There is probably no such thing as the perfect research paper. You may know the “rules” for how to write the perfect research paper, but none of us really ever reaches that perfection. The goal is to craft one that is scholarly, well written, and that will earn a great grade.
The same goes for abstracts or any other piece of academic writing you may have to produce. When you get overwhelmed, that is certainly the time to look for research paper writing services that can “pick up the slack” for you. Choose a good one, turn some of that work over, and let a pro take over.