Tips on Writing an Effective Abstract
Writing an abstract is essential as it provides a first impression of the piece of writing that follows, helps the reader decide whether he or she wants to continue reading, and tells what they can expect to get to know from the document. Though you can find many abstracts that only list the document’s content, the effective abstracts should tell the reader much more.
A perfectly composed abstract represents the maximum of the quantitative and qualitative data in the document, while also reflecting its reasoning. In general, an informative abstract has to briefly answer the following questions:
- Why did you work on this project?
- What did you do and how?
- What are your findings?
- What is its meaning?
If your paper is about a new method or apparatus, you can change the last two questions to:
- What are its advantages?
- How well does it work?
You should also note these points about abstracts:
- Abstracts are always read along with the title, so avoid repeating and paraphrasing the title. It will probably be read separately from the document, so make sure it is complete enough to stand on its own.
- Make sure, to sum up, the purpose of your writing, methods, main findings, and conclusions. Emphasize various points in proportion to the significance they have in the body of the paper.
- Do not refer to any data that is not provided in the paper.
- Avoid using I or us, but prefer active verbs rather than passive (for example, the research showed instead of it was shown by the research).
- Do not include trade names, abbreviations, symbols, and acronyms since they require too long explanations.
- Use keywords from your paper.