Writing the Abstract
Defining the abstract
An abstract is a summary of the major ideas contained in your research essay. It is usually
required for papers written in the natural sciences (with APA documentation) or social
sciences, but not in the humanities.
Scholars and some professional writers prepare abstracts as a service to potential readers.
After reading an abstract, a researcher (student) can decide whether to read the entire
essay. To the reader of a long or complicated research essay, an abstract can serve as a
type of outline, enabling a reader to follow the arguments of a complicated essay by
highlighting the assertions, main ideas and conclusions.
Formatting the abstract
When writing the abstract, use no more than one paragraph.
Center the title "Abstract" (without quotation marks) one inch from the top of the page.
Double space to the actual body of the abstract.
Type abstract in single block style.
The page containing the abstract must follow the title page but precede the actual body
of the paper.
It should have a running head and a page number.
Writing the abstract
An effective abstract should include three qualities:
It should be concise (remember the point is to condense).
It should be informative.
The abstract should be comprehensive. State the main point and show
how the point is developed.
To produce a smooth abstract you need to link and condense the main ideas of the essay
(or outline) with appropriate commentary.
First, read through your essay (or the article to be abstracted) and underline or list the main
points and major supporting evidence.
Try to follow the pattern of organization used in the original essay.
Shape the abstract from the points you have underlined or the summaries you have made of
each major point in the article. Link the points with helpful transitions. Do not use direct
quotations from the essay in the abstract.
Finally, test the abstract against the essay, evaluating how well it reflects the content of the
Keep the abstract short, but do not compress it into a telegram. Avoid sentence fragments and
Try one or both of these activities to strengthen the unity of your essay
Through reverse outlining, you can enhance the clarity, organization, and
direction of your essay.
It will also help you recognize appropriate transitional sentences within your
On a separate sheet of paper, write a sentence that summarizes each paragraph
of your essay
If you have difficulty coming up with a summary statement, consider
Revising the paragraph. Perhaps you have too many ideas present in that
paragraph. You may need to delete material or divide the paragraph into smaller
Ask yourself if the first sentence of each paragraph (topic sentence)is similar to
your summary statement If not, consider revising. Readers should be able to
read the beginning of each
Paragraph and know where they are headed
Look at the sheet with all of the summary statements. Does each statement play
a role in supporting your thesis? If not, consider revising or deleting paragraphs
in your paper so that they contribute to your argument. You may also want to
consider revising your thesis. If you have not written a cohesive thesis sentence,
can you write one from the summary statements?
While studying the sheet with the summary statements, ask yourself if your paper
is organized in the best way. For example, do you mention an idea in one
paragraph only to come back to that same idea several paragraphs later?
Perhaps the two paragraphs should be moved nearer each other.
Write a single sentence that summarizes each paragraph in your essay:
Another “test” of your essay’s cohesiveness is to test the sentences that move
the reader from paragraph to paragraph. These are called transitional sentences.
1. Isolate the last sentence of a paragraph and the first sentence of the next
2. Read these last and first sentences in isolation from the rest of the essay.
Consider the following questions:
How are these two sentences related to each other?
Do these sentences complement each other? How?
If they seem unrelated, what can you do to change this?
Do you have a similar assignment and would want someone to complete it for you? Click on the ORDER NOW option to get instant services at essayloop.com