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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper.
How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract?
A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study.
If you're writing for a specific publication or a class assignment, you'll probably need to follow specific guidelines.
If there isn't a required format, you'll need to choose from one of two possible types of abstracts. The abstracts at Pub (National Institutes of Health database) are informational abstracts.
Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper.
A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature.
Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. If the article does not appear, try searching using the link on the USC Libraries main page.
Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free interlibrary loan and document delivery service.
The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject.
Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work.