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Definition and Setting of how to write an abstract for a research paper

An abstract is a brief description of a research paper. It is usually no longer than one paragraph and consists of about 6-7 sentences and up to 250 words. We would like to remind you that abstract along with the title is usually used by text retrieval engines and reference databases for specifying the essential terms to index your published work so it is crucial to know how to write an abstract for a research paper.

The setting of objectives of a highly readable abstract is the following:

  • readers can understand the heart of the matter of your written work just by looking at your abstract and make a decision whether the entire work is worth reading or not;
  • an abstract makes readers get ready for the following in-depth information, insights, and arguments of the entire paper; and, in the end, thanks to abstract readers are able to remember the key points of your research paper.

If your task is to complete an abstract for a yearly essay, you may be so lucky to be given stand-alone guidelines on what to put into and how to compose a brief description. Another place where you can easily find specific requirements for abstracts are academic journals. So aside from sticking to the pieces of advice provided here by our specialists we highly recommend you to find out and keep to any guidelines provided in your course or magazine you’re making it up for.

What an Abstract Contains

An abstract provides brief information of the kinds provided below. Of course all these ideas will be developed, investigated and explained much wider in the main part of your paper. We are going to provide you with some abstract samples so that you will see that each type of information is given a definite proportion according to the nature and type of paper. You will also find out that some pieces of information remain untold and some are provided straightforwardly. There are some publications which are widely used as reference books for finding stand-alone guidelines on how to compose and write an abstract depending on a definite type of paper - that might be the one used for empirical investigations, background papers, scholastic papers, methodological ones and so on. As a rule, an abstract should contain the following typical kind of information:

  • the back story or core information for your research; covered general topic; the particular topic which is being investigated and studied in your research;
  • the major points of the problem which are addressed in your research; the information we already have on this issue; the results of the conducted previous research;
  • the root cause(s), the acute problem, the logical justification and the aims of the research – Why should exactly these questions be addressed?

Are you investigating and studying a new topic?

  • core reason(s), the exigency, the rationale, the targets for your analysis—Why exactly these questions should be addressed? Is the topic you researching a new one? Why does this very topic deserve examining?
  • the research you conduct and/or analysis methods;
  • what was found by you and what are the results of your work;
  • the value and key take-aways of your findings or arguments.

There is one important demand concerning your abstract. It should be so clear and understandable that a reader would not have to read the entire paper. Another common rule applied towards abstract is that it should be clear of citations – here you should mostly concentrate on what was studied and found by you. The place for placing citations on the specific literature is the body of the paper.

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The Right Time to Write Your Abstract

We understand that you might want to write an abstract at the very beginning of your research work but we highly recommend you to start writing your abstract only after a full paper was completed and finished so that summarizing would be easy and natural for you at this stage.

Making the Correct Choice of Tenses to Use in the Abstract

If you are writing a sample for social science it will be right to choose the present tense for a description of general facts and interpretations which are true at the moment and in general. All the methods, findings and arguments are also provided in the present tense. The only time when the past tense can be used is the description of the research done previously.

If it is about completing the humanities sample then the right thing to do will be using sentences in the past for a description of ended events and present to say what is going on there at the moment.

When completing a science sample, it is advised to give priority to the past tense if you want to underline what was done by previous studies, which methods were followed and what was found by them. If you are working on the rationale or justification for the research it is recommended to use the present tense. And of course, it is the present tense that should be used for the introduction of the study.


“OBJECTIVE: A lot of scientists cannot clearly define the role of medication with antibiotics in treating acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in little patients. We conducted this study with the purpose of determining the efficiency of high doses of amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate when treating young patients with this diagnosis.

METHODS: The used method is called a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study. Those who participated in the study were children from the age of 1 to 10 who had clinical science of ABS. Patients were split up in accordance with their age as well as the clinical severity of the disease. One group received amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) the other one - placebo. The examination of symptoms was carried out on every second day. The day of patient’s examination was day 14. It was found that some children were healed, had better conditions or failed.

RESULTS: One thousand sixty-five children who had some respiratory disorders were screened for listing; 6.5% of those were diagnosed with ABS.

Twenty-nine patients were listed, and twenty-eight were randomly assigned.

The median age was 6630 months. 89% of patients had constant symptoms, and 11% of those had inconstant symptoms. 43% of children had a mild form of the illness, whereas the remaining 57% suffered from a severe one. 50% of those who were given antibiotics were healed, the health condition of 14% improved, the treatment did not give any results to 14%, and 21% withdrew. 14% of those who were given the placebo were healed, the health condition of 18% improved, and the treatment of 68% did not give any positive results. The study showed that the children treated with the antibiotic had more chances to be cured than those who just received a placebo.

CONCLUSIONS: ABS is a widespread complication that strikes viral upper respiratory infections. The use of amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate gives much better results than a placebo.”

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