Abstract is the direct window through which a reader can get a glimpse of your research paper. It is the very first introduction; it is like the trailer of a movie or show which captivates the audience with the impactful highlights such that they are driven to the theatres. It is important that you make your abstract crisp and comprehensive discussing the key elements of your research.
- Write your abstract at last. Though it appears at the beginning of the paper, its composition should come at the end, after you have finished writing your entire research. Write and edit your paper first; wait till the end, in case you want to include some relevant information. At last compose the abstract which will basically be a summary of your entire paper in brief.
- Define the goal and objective of the research clearly in the abstract. You need to convey why you are doing the research; what are the gaps that you have found and why it is important to do this research, should come in the abstract.
- Abstracts are of different types- it depends on the nature of your research, which kind of abstract suits your paper. Basically Descriptive type and informative type are the two forms of abstracts commonly used.
Descriptive abstract focuses on the objective, goal and method used in the research and is usually about 200 words. Results are not declared here.
Informative abstract is suitable for extremely lengthy technical research papers, which is a condensed version of the paper itself. Background, methodology and results are discussed as separate sections in such an abstract. For a general social science paper which is not that complex, a descriptive abstract suits best.
- Follow the guidelines of your publication house. There can be specific format, word limit, style or language specifications given for the journal you are intending to send your paper to. Go to their website, study their rules and guidelines for abstract submission and compose your abstract accordingly.
- Compose your abstract in three parts like an essay. Introduction, body and conclusion. Introduction should have one or two sentences on the overview of the subject and the objective of study; body will involve an idea and description of the method used and conclusion will be a sum-up statement in one sentence or two, to bring everything together.
- Use keywords from the research to write your abstract; words which can be easily browsed in the internet, so that when your work is published, people can find it easily and read it. Keywords or prominent phrases from the research also help the reader know appropriately about your research. This will interest them further.
- Proof read and revise the abstract properly to avoid basic errors.
A well-written abstract is followed by a list of appropriate keywords, which is as vital to the research as the abstract itself. Keywords are words and phrases which describe your entire work, and these help people find your work easily while they are looking for these words.
Understand your target audience; ask yourself who you are writing for, that will help you assess what they might be looking for.
Identify your niche; which field of study your research belongs. Look up the google for relevant words and phrases that are trending. Use Google Adwords and similar tools to find it. If your keywords are right, the SEO Ranking factor works well with Google and your work appears in the search. Even long-tail keywords, which are a combination of three or more words work well in bringing traffic to your content, though they are less likely to be searched. After choosing the keywords, do a market analysis to compare with what your fellow researchers are doing. Read the statistical results; find out if anything new has popped up in trend.
After everything, keywords that you use should define the subject and content of your research. A well-composed abstract should pair with significant and appropriate keywords to give a proper impact to your readers.