Abstract is a short report on the research results, described in detail in the scientific text. The full article is most often available in another publication, book, magazine, etc. How to write an abstract?

What is abstract

The abstract is a brief discussion of the scientific text, and thus an incentive to read it. It should interest the reader, and at the same time strictly apply to what is contained in the article. It is not the same as the abstract and should not be used to summarize the full text. It is worth avoiding phrases used in abstracts such as “described in the text”, “in this paper we will talk about” etc. Instead, it should be written: “has been analyzed”, “the study was attempted”, “the purpose of the study was”, etc.

An abstract usually has between 150 and 600 words. Is precise. It uses scientific language. Most often it is written impersonally, sometimes you can use the first person singular (e.g. in the abstract of the paper).

writing abstracts

Why write abstracts

The main purpose of the abstract is to summarize a longer text or statement. There is a reason why abstracts have a limited number of words or characters. It should be short and specific.

The recipient is to find what he is looking for in the abstract. And what do you usually look for? 

  • answers to the question, why this text was created – what was the purpose of the author
  • tips on whether the publication is a theoretical consideration or a summary of empirical research
  • information on what the study was about
  • information on the method used
  • test results
  • conclusions from the study
  • meaning / importance of this publication.

Abstract layout

  • Name of author of the scientific text;
  • Name of the research unit;
  • Title;
  • Presentation of the research problem and the purpose of the work;
  • Methodology;
  • Description of research;
  • The most important results;
  • Conclusions from the research.

Types of abstracts

Abstracts can be divided into two types:

  • Informative abstract, in which we briefly describe the content of our text. It may contain a brief summary of the research problem, methods used, main data and conclusions. Such abstracts are often posted at the beginning of the journal article as “heading”. Informative abstracts describe what will be presented in the article.
  • Indicative / descriptive abstract – used much less frequently. Abstracts of this kind are more elaborate and perform the function of “article description”. They are often posted after the article. The declarative abstracts describe what was done and described in the text.

Common errors found in abstracts

  • The abstract is too long – it is supposed to be informative and descriptive. This is a mistake!
  • The abstract is written so that the reader has the impression that he is describing not the article to which he refers. The abstract is to reflect the content of the article.
  • In the abstract we do not refer to bibliographic items – there is no place for this here.
  • We also do not refer to tables and charts, or our other texts.


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