How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Guide

What is the abstract section of a research paper? This is simply a summary of the main ideas in a research paper that is usually found at the beginning of your research paper. It serves as an introduction to what you plan to cover in more detail.

Abstracts are the first thing that a reader sees when they open your essay, so you must write them well. However, many students struggle with how much content they should include in their abstracts. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to write an abstract for a research paper.

What is the purpose of an abstract?

An abstract should be written in such a way that it will make readers want to read your full paper, which means it is important for you to include enough details about how each section relates to one another so readers can easily follow along with their understanding of your work as they go through it.

The abstract is used in many ways:

  • It is used as a teaser for potential readers before they read your entire paper.
  • It can be used by editors and reviewers at journals to determine whether or not there is enough merit behind its publication.
  • It can also be used by other academics who may want to cite yours as an example.

A research paper is a key element of your academic career. It is also an important part of writing a good thesis or dissertation. You should write an abstract when you have completed your research and are ready to submit it. 

How long are abstracts?

The average length of a research paper is between 5,000 and 6,000 words. It is important to know how many words you should write in your abstract. However, there are no hard and fast rules. The length typically depends on the assignment, type of paper, and topic. The average length is often between 150 to 250 words (excluding list items).

What should be included in an abstract for a research paper?

When writing an abstract for a research paper, it is important to keep in mind the following points:

  • The abstract should be written concisely and formally.
  • The abstract should be written in the third person.
  • The abstract should be written in an active voice.
  • The abstract should use present tense, past tense, or both depending on what is being discussed or described by your subject matter.

Abstracts and introductions: understanding the difference

The abstract is an overview of the paper, whereas the introduction is the opening paragraph of the paper. Your abstract should come first because it contains all essential information about your research and what you are going to cover in your research paper. The different types of abstract include informative, descriptive, critical, and highlight abstracts.

The introduction should be short but detailed enough to briefly outline your key ideas for your paper.

Research paper abstract format

Different services offer abstract writing online services. However, it is often best to write on your own. 

The best way of writing an effective abstract is by keeping these three things in mind:

  • Make sure that each sentence has one topic only (e.g., “Our findings suggest…”). This will help keep things organized and make it easier for readers.
  • Use simple language whenever possible; avoid technical jargon if possible because most people do not understand huge terms. Use simple words and phrases that convey key points about your research topic. 
  • Use tools such as [Google Docs], which allows users to create their documents and formats. 


There are many different types of abstracts to choose from. The most important thing is to make sure they present your research clearly and concisely. The best way to ensure this is by following the above guidelines when writing yours.

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