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DU Day of Research

Friday, April 14, 2023 | Virtual Event

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short preview of your report intended to inform potential readers about your topic, research, and findings.

  • It usually comes at the beginning of a paper and allows people to get a brief glimpse into the content of your research before reading your project in its entirety. 
  • Abstracts are also commonly used as presentation proposals for academic conferences or descriptions for attendees to the conference.

What to Include in an Abstract

An abstract should include the following:

  • A title that indicates the focus of your project.
  • The research or data that you have incorporated into the project.
  • The methodology you used to collect data.
  • Whether your project is hypothetical or original research.
  • Your findings, if your project has been completed or projected results, if incomplete or hypothetical.
  • If you have space, a hint as to the implications of your findings or the general importance of your argument.

Source: Writing An Abstract, GVSU.

Tips for Writing an Abstract

  • Write the abstract after finishing the paper.
  • Be accurate. Only include information in the original document.
  • Be concise, get right to the point, and use precise language. Include only 4 or 5 of the most important concepts, findings, or implications.
  • Do not refer to the author (e.g., “Dr. Seuss argues”).
  • Do not refer to what type of document you are abstracting (e.g., “This book describes”).
  • Use active verbs whenever possible. (e.g., gave not was giveninterviewed not were interviewed)
  • Use complete sentences.
  • Avoid jargon or colloquialisms.
  • Use familiar terminology whenever you can (and always explain terms that may be unfamiliar to the average reader).

Source: Preparing Academic Presentations: Writing Abstracts, Kent State University Libraries