Guide to Writing an Abstract

An abstract is a brief explanation that generally goes at the beginning of a paper, book or article, that explains the objective, research process, results, and conclusions of a project. Writing an effective abstract will improve the chances of your manuscript being accepted, encourage people to read it, and increase its impact.

The best way to write an effective abstract is to start with a draft of the complete manuscript and follow these 10 steps:

  1. Identify the major objectives and conclusions.
  2. Identify phrases with keywords in the methods section.
  3. Identify the major results from the discussion or results section.
  4. Assemble the above information into a single paragraph.
  5. State your hypothesis or method used in the first sentence.
  6. Omit background information, literature review, and detailed description of methods.
  7. Remove extra words and phrases.
  8. Revise the paragraph so that the abstract conveys only the essential information.
  9. Check to see if it meets the guidelines of the targeted journal.
  10. Give the abstract to a colleague (preferably one who is not familiar with your work) and ask him/her whether it makes sense.

Note: Don't use citing in the abstract paragraph.

Updated August 18, 2015
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