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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper – Explained Simply

tips you should know when writing an essay abstractAbstracts are not required in every academic assignment; yet, they are often needed for larger works, such as research papers, scientific articles, and dissertations. This part of an assignment typically functions as a standalone text that summarizes your research content and highlights its major points, such as the study’s objective, methods you used in the analysis, and your findings.

Writing an abstract is an art on its own as you need to be brief but informative, trying to include all essential elements into a one-page text. If you’re still unsure what its composition entails, read on. Here you’ll find:

  • An exhaustive guide on how to write an abstract.
  • Examples of abstracts.
  • Answers to all frequently asked questions about abstract writing.
  • Tips for composing an excellent abstract from writing pros.
  • A guideline for those who fail to do the task on their own and need help.

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about abstracts in this how-to guide. Studies can become way simpler if you know how to write correctly and efficiently. That’s what we are trying to teach.

The Difference Between Abstract and Introduction Put Simply

Some students falsely synonymize abstracts and introductions of their larger papers, just copy-pasting some content from the intro into an abstract section. Unfortunately, such a trick will hardly go unnoticed by the tutor, and you risk losing up to 5% of your total grade for an incorrectly composed abstract.

The critical difference that such amateur writers miss is that the introduction of your paper is only a part of it, meant to set the context and delineate the problem you’re going to study further on. An abstract, in its turn, is an annotation to the whole paper summarizing all key points from all substantial chapters – introduction, methods, findings, discussion, and study implications. Thus, it’s no use trying to substitute one for another as each of them performs unique functions. Otherwise, what would be the sense of including both into the paper?

MLA Format Abstract Example

Overall, the MLA format abstract is no different from the APA format one as there are typically no references in this part of an academic paper. But if you need to cite some super-important study here, follow the MLA conventions. An example of an MLA abstract would look as follows:


Hypertension is the leading cause of mortality in the USA. The disease is getting younger, with high rates of adolescent and child hypertension cases registered every year (Johnson 35). This study examined the growth rate of adolescent hypertension in Texas within the past ten years to show the increasing hazard of high-calorie diet risks among young Americans. This retrospective cohort study utilized secondary data from the U.S. Hypertension Register, analyzing the change in the number of hypertension cases in 2010-2020. The findings suggest an annual 4% growth in hypertension incidence among individuals 15-25 years old. The implications of this analysis are discussed in the final section of the paper.


APA Format Abstract Example

So, how to write an abstract in the APA format? Here the answer is the same; abstracts rarely cite sources, so they would look the same for APA and MLA styles. Yet, if you need to cite some critical study here, just follow the APA conventions. Here is another example, but with APA citations, that may help you out when composing your own:


Civil movements played a significant role in transforming American society in the second half of the 20th century. Women’s rights movements and civil rights movements are credited for the greatest transformative power and establishment of equality in the country of segregation and gender injustice (Powell, 2020). This study adopted a single-case case study approach to evaluating the role of the Alabama movement in the 1960s. The data for analysis were derived from public archives and newspapers of that period. The findings suggest that this movement contributed to many racial equality programs at the local and regional levels. Other gains of the Mississippi movement and their far-reaching implications are also discussed.


10 Abstract Writing Tips from Professional Writers

Now that we’ve got acquainted with abstract as such, let’s move to some advanced abstract writing tips. Our expert writers composing tons of work every day have developed a unique algorithm to make their works impressive and perfectly correct.

Here are some of these tricks:

  1. Always include the reason for writing your study and the importance of your research.
  2. Include the problem that you attempted to solve and detail the problem so that the reader feels its urgency.
  3. Always use the same type of language you used in the body of research (formal or less formal) to look consistent.
  4. In the end, include 2-5 keywords and phrases identifying your work’s specifics the best.
  5. Double-check that your abstract is not wordy; every word counts in this short summary.
  6. Don’t cite sources extensively; use only the ones central for the understanding of your study focus.
  7. Don’t waste space on the definitions of terms; knowledgeable and interested people will find those definitions in the introduction and literature review.
  8. Don’t mix your paper’s chapters in the abstract; follow the same chronological order of data presentation that you used in the body.
  9. Don’t add information that the reader won’t find in the body of the paper.
  10. Never exceed the 250-word limit as longer texts usually don’t qualify or receive lower grades.


Those worried about how to write an abstract for a research paper can use our helpful FAQ section to find answers to the most common questions troubling student beginners.

How do you start an abstract?

It should begin with an introductory statement explaining the study’s scope and context. After that, the problem’s significance should be briefly explained.

What comes first abstract or introduction?

The major difference between abstract and introduction is that an abstract introduces the whole study (thus coming first, right after the title page). The introduction is the first part of the paper’s body (thus coming second).

How do you cite sources in an abstract?

Sources are rarely used here, but if you need to reference a source, then use the standard referencing system – MLA, APA, or Harvard, depending on the assignment’s requirements.

What’s the difference between introduction and background?

The introduction is a section where the writer sets the context and explains the problem in general terms, thus introducing it to the readers. An abstract summarizes the entire paper, focusing on all major components, such as the introduction, methods, findings, and conclusions derived from them.

Can’t Cope with Everything on Your Own?

Still unsure how to make abstract in research paper? Stuck with this task at the final point before paper submission? There are no reasons for risking your grades because of late submission or spoiling the tutor’s first impression with a poorly written abstract.

Entrust the task of its composition to our writing experts, and you’ll see how your content will shine in the new light. Impress your tutor, simplify your study life, and enjoy some free time while we’re making an impressive abstract for you. Contact our managers today to get the abstract of your dream and make an excellent research paper complete with an outstanding introductory note.

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