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How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 18, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis ,  dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

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the abstract in a research paper

You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book or research proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

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Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services or use the paraphrasing tool .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Definition and Purpose of Abstracts

An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

  • an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
  • an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
  • and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.

It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.

If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.

The Contents of an Abstract

Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.

Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:

  • the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
  • the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
  • what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
  • the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
  • your research and/or analytical methods
  • your main findings , results , or arguments
  • the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.

Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.

When to Write Your Abstract

Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.

Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract

The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.

The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.

The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).

Sample Abstract 1

From the social sciences.

Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses

Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.

“The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the topic under study (the “economic resemblance of spouses”). This sentence also implies the question underlying this research study: what are the various causes—and the interrelationships among them—for this trend?] The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor—a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. [Annotation for the previous two sentences: These next two sentences explain what previous research has demonstrated. By pointing out the limitations in the methods that were used in previous studies, they also provide a rationale for new research.] We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The data, research and analytical methods used in this new study.] Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.” (p. 985) [Annotation for the previous two sentences: The major findings from and implications and significance of this study.]

Sample Abstract 2

From the humanities.

Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications

Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.

“From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a network of young urban migrant men created an underground pulp fiction publishing industry in the city of Dar es Salaam. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the context for this research and announces the topic under study.] As texts that were produced in the underground economy of a city whose trajectory was increasingly charted outside of formalized planning and investment, these novellas reveal more than their narrative content alone. These texts were active components in the urban social worlds of the young men who produced them. They reveal a mode of urbanism otherwise obscured by narratives of decolonization, in which urban belonging was constituted less by national citizenship than by the construction of social networks, economic connections, and the crafting of reputations. This article argues that pulp fiction novellas of socialist era Dar es Salaam are artifacts of emergent forms of male sociability and mobility. In printing fictional stories about urban life on pilfered paper and ink, and distributing their texts through informal channels, these writers not only described urban communities, reputations, and networks, but also actually created them.” (p. 210) [Annotation for the previous sentences: The remaining sentences in this abstract interweave other essential information for an abstract for this article. The implied research questions: What do these texts mean? What is their historical and cultural significance, produced at this time, in this location, by these authors? The argument and the significance of this analysis in microcosm: these texts “reveal a mode or urbanism otherwise obscured . . .”; and “This article argues that pulp fiction novellas. . . .” This section also implies what previous historical research has obscured. And through the details in its argumentative claims, this section of the abstract implies the kinds of methods the author has used to interpret the novellas and the concepts under study (e.g., male sociability and mobility, urban communities, reputations, network. . . ).]

Sample Abstract/Summary 3

From the sciences.

Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells

Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.

“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence announces the topic under study, summarizes what’s already known or been accomplished in previous research, and signals the rationale and goals are for the new research and the problem that the new research solves: How can researchers reprogram fibroblasts into iCPCs?] Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipo-tency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. [Annotation for the previous four sentences: The methods the researchers developed to achieve their goal and a description of the results.] Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354) [Annotation for the previous sentence: The significance or implications—for drug discovery, disease modeling, and therapy—of this reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs.]

Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract

Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study

Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.

Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.

“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.

METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.

RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.

CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)

Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:

the abstract in a research paper

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Abstract Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide With Tips & Examples

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

step-by-step-guide-to-abstract-writing

Introduction

Abstracts of research papers have always played an essential role in describing your research concisely and clearly to researchers and editors of journals, enticing them to continue reading. However, with the widespread availability of scientific databases, the need to write a convincing abstract is more crucial now than during the time of paper-bound manuscripts.

Abstracts serve to "sell" your research and can be compared with your "executive outline" of a resume or, rather, a formal summary of the critical aspects of your work. Also, it can be the "gist" of your study. Since most educational research is done online, it's a sign that you have a shorter time for impressing your readers, and have more competition from other abstracts that are available to be read.

The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) articulates 12 issues or points considered during the final approval process for conferences & journals and emphasises the importance of writing an abstract that checks all these boxes (12 points). Since it's the only opportunity you have to captivate your readers, you must invest time and effort in creating an abstract that accurately reflects the critical points of your research.

With that in mind, let’s head over to understand and discover the core concept and guidelines to create a substantial abstract. Also, learn how to organise the ideas or plots into an effective abstract that will be awe-inspiring to the readers you want to reach.

What is Abstract? Definition and Overview

The word "Abstract' is derived from Latin abstractus meaning "drawn off." This etymological meaning also applies to art movements as well as music, like abstract expressionism. In this context, it refers to the revealing of the artist's intention.

Based on this, you can determine the meaning of an abstract: A condensed research summary. It must be self-contained and independent of the body of the research. However, it should outline the subject, the strategies used to study the problem, and the methods implemented to attain the outcomes. The specific elements of the study differ based on the area of study; however, together, it must be a succinct summary of the entire research paper.

Abstracts are typically written at the end of the paper, even though it serves as a prologue. In general, the abstract must be in a position to:

  • Describe the paper.
  • Identify the problem or the issue at hand.
  • Explain to the reader the research process, the results you came up with, and what conclusion you've reached using these results.
  • Include keywords to guide your strategy and the content.

Furthermore, the abstract you submit should not reflect upon any of  the following elements:

  • Examine, analyse or defend the paper or your opinion.
  • What you want to study, achieve or discover.
  • Be redundant or irrelevant.

After reading an abstract, your audience should understand the reason - what the research was about in the first place, what the study has revealed and how it can be utilised or can be used to benefit others. You can understand the importance of abstract by knowing the fact that the abstract is the most frequently read portion of any research paper. In simpler terms, it should contain all the main points of the research paper.

purpose-of-abstract-writing

What is the Purpose of an Abstract?

Abstracts are typically an essential requirement for research papers; however, it's not an obligation to preserve traditional reasons without any purpose. Abstracts allow readers to scan the text to determine whether it is relevant to their research or studies. The abstract allows other researchers to decide if your research paper can provide them with some additional information. A good abstract paves the interest of the audience to pore through your entire paper to find the content or context they're searching for.

Abstract writing is essential for indexing, as well. The Digital Repository of academic papers makes use of abstracts to index the entire content of academic research papers. Like meta descriptions in the regular Google outcomes, abstracts must include keywords that help researchers locate what they seek.

Types of Abstract

Informative and Descriptive are two kinds of abstracts often used in scientific writing.

A descriptive abstract gives readers an outline of the author's main points in their study. The reader can determine if they want to stick to the research work, based on their interest in the topic. An abstract that is descriptive is similar to the contents table of books, however, the format of an abstract depicts complete sentences encapsulated in one paragraph. It is unfortunate that the abstract can't be used as a substitute for reading a piece of writing because it's just an overview, which omits readers from getting an entire view. Also, it cannot be a way to fill in the gaps the reader may have after reading this kind of abstract since it does not contain crucial information needed to evaluate the article.

To conclude, a descriptive abstract is:

  • A simple summary of the task, just summarises the work, but some researchers think it is much more of an outline
  • Typically, the length is approximately 100 words. It is too short when compared to an informative abstract.
  • A brief explanation but doesn't provide the reader with the complete information they need;
  • An overview that omits conclusions and results

An informative abstract is a comprehensive outline of the research. There are times when people rely on the abstract as an information source. And the reason is why it is crucial to provide entire data of particular research. A well-written, informative abstract could be a good substitute for the remainder of the paper on its own.

A well-written abstract typically follows a particular style. The author begins by providing the identifying information, backed by citations and other identifiers of the papers. Then, the major elements are summarised to make the reader aware of the study. It is followed by the methodology and all-important findings from the study. The conclusion then presents study results and ends the abstract with a comprehensive summary.

In a nutshell, an informative abstract:

  • Has a length that can vary, based on the subject, but is not longer than 300 words.
  • Contains all the content-like methods and intentions
  • Offers evidence and possible recommendations.

Informative Abstracts are more frequent than descriptive abstracts because of their extensive content and linkage to the topic specifically. You should select different types of abstracts to papers based on their length: informative abstracts for extended and more complex abstracts and descriptive ones for simpler and shorter research papers.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Abstract?

  • A good abstract clearly defines the goals and purposes of the study.
  • It should clearly describe the research methodology with a primary focus on data gathering, processing, and subsequent analysis.
  • A good abstract should provide specific research findings.
  • It presents the principal conclusions of the systematic study.
  • It should be concise, clear, and relevant to the field of study.
  • A well-designed abstract should be unifying and coherent.
  • It is easy to grasp and free of technical jargon.
  • It is written impartially and objectively.

the-various-sections-of-abstract-writing

What are the various sections of an ideal Abstract?

By now, you must have gained some concrete idea of the essential elements that your abstract needs to convey . Accordingly, the information is broken down into six key sections of the abstract, which include:

An Introduction or Background

Research methodology, objectives and goals, limitations.

Let's go over them in detail.

The introduction, also known as background, is the most concise part of your abstract. Ideally, it comprises a couple of sentences. Some researchers only write one sentence to introduce their abstract. The idea behind this is to guide readers through the key factors that led to your study.

It's understandable that this information might seem difficult to explain in a couple of sentences. For example, think about the following two questions like the background of your study:

  • What is currently available about the subject with respect to the paper being discussed?
  • What isn't understood about this issue? (This is the subject of your research)

While writing the abstract’s introduction, make sure that it is not lengthy. Because if it crosses the word limit, it may eat up the words meant to be used for providing other key information.

Research methodology is where you describe the theories and techniques you used in your research. It is recommended that you describe what you have done and the method you used to get your thorough investigation results. Certainly, it is the second-longest paragraph in the abstract.

In the research methodology section, it is essential to mention the kind of research you conducted; for instance, qualitative research or quantitative research (this will guide your research methodology too) . If you've conducted quantitative research, your abstract should contain information like the sample size, data collection method, sampling techniques, and duration of the study. Likewise, your abstract should reflect observational data, opinions, questionnaires (especially the non-numerical data) if you work on qualitative research.

The research objectives and goals speak about what you intend to accomplish with your research. The majority of research projects focus on the long-term effects of a project, and the goals focus on the immediate, short-term outcomes of the research. It is possible to summarise both in just multiple sentences.

In stating your objectives and goals, you give readers a picture of the scope of the study, its depth and the direction your research ultimately follows. Your readers can evaluate the results of your research against the goals and stated objectives to determine if you have achieved the goal of your research.

In the end, your readers are more attracted by the results you've obtained through your study. Therefore, you must take the time to explain each relevant result and explain how they impact your research. The results section exists as the longest in your abstract, and nothing should diminish its reach or quality.

One of the most important things you should adhere to is to spell out details and figures on the results of your research.

Instead of making a vague assertion such as, "We noticed that response rates varied greatly between respondents with high incomes and those with low incomes", Try these: "The response rate was higher for high-income respondents than those with lower incomes (59 30 percent vs. 30 percent in both cases; P<0.01)."

You're likely to encounter certain obstacles during your research. It could have been during data collection or even during conducting the sample . Whatever the issue, it's essential to inform your readers about them and their effects on the research.

Research limitations offer an opportunity to suggest further and deep research. If, for instance, you were forced to change for convenient sampling and snowball samples because of difficulties in reaching well-suited research participants, then you should mention this reason when you write your research abstract. In addition, a lack of prior studies on the subject could hinder your research.

Your conclusion should include the same number of sentences to wrap the abstract as the introduction. The majority of researchers offer an idea of the consequences of their research in this case.

Your conclusion should include three essential components:

  • A significant take-home message.
  • Corresponding important findings.
  • The Interpretation.

Even though the conclusion of your abstract needs to be brief, it can have an enormous influence on the way that readers view your research. Therefore, make use of this section to reinforce the central message from your research. Be sure that your statements reflect the actual results and the methods you used to conduct your research.

examples-of-good-abstract-writing

Good Abstract Examples

Abstract example #1.

Children’s consumption behavior in response to food product placements in movies.

The abstract:

"Almost all research into the effects of brand placements on children has focused on the brand's attitudes or behavior intentions. Based on the significant differences between attitudes and behavioral intentions on one hand and actual behavior on the other hand, this study examines the impact of placements by brands on children's eating habits. Children aged 6-14 years old were shown an excerpt from the popular film Alvin and the Chipmunks and were shown places for the item Cheese Balls. Three different versions were developed with no placements, one with moderately frequent placements and the third with the highest frequency of placement. The results revealed that exposure to high-frequency places had a profound effect on snack consumption, however, there was no impact on consumer attitudes towards brands or products. The effects were not dependent on the age of the children. These findings are of major importance to researchers studying consumer behavior as well as nutrition experts as well as policy regulators."

Abstract Example #2

Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. The abstract:

"The research conducted in this study investigated the effects of Facebook use on women's moods and body image if the effects are different from an internet-based fashion journal and if the appearance comparison tendencies moderate one or more of these effects. Participants who were female ( N = 112) were randomly allocated to spend 10 minutes exploring their Facebook account or a magazine's website or an appearance neutral control website prior to completing state assessments of body dissatisfaction, mood, and differences in appearance (weight-related and facial hair, face, and skin). Participants also completed a test of the tendency to compare appearances. The participants who used Facebook were reported to be more depressed than those who stayed on the control site. In addition, women who have the tendency to compare appearances reported more facial, hair and skin-related issues following Facebook exposure than when they were exposed to the control site. Due to its popularity it is imperative to conduct more research to understand the effect that Facebook affects the way people view themselves."

Abstract Example #3

The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students

"The cellphone is always present on campuses of colleges and is often utilised in situations in which learning takes place. The study examined the connection between the use of cell phones and the actual grades point average (GPA) after adjusting for predictors that are known to be a factor. In the end 536 students in the undergraduate program from 82 self-reported majors of an enormous, public institution were studied. Hierarchical analysis ( R 2 = .449) showed that use of mobile phones is significantly ( p < .001) and negative (b equal to -.164) connected to the actual college GPA, after taking into account factors such as demographics, self-efficacy in self-regulated learning, self-efficacy to improve academic performance, and the actual high school GPA that were all important predictors ( p < .05). Therefore, after adjusting for other known predictors increasing cell phone usage was associated with lower academic performance. While more research is required to determine the mechanisms behind these results, they suggest the need to educate teachers and students to the possible academic risks that are associated with high-frequency mobile phone usage."

quick-tips-on-writing-a-good-abstract

Quick tips on writing a good abstract

There exists a common dilemma among early age researchers whether to write the abstract at first or last? However, it's recommended to compose your abstract when you've completed the research since you'll have all the information to give to your readers. You can, however, write a draft at the beginning of your research and add in any gaps later.

If you find abstract writing a herculean task, here are the few tips to help you with it:

1. Always develop a framework to support your abstract

Before writing, ensure you create a clear outline for your abstract. Divide it into sections and draw the primary and supporting elements in each one. You can include keywords and a few sentences that convey the essence of your message.

2. Review Other Abstracts

Abstracts are among the most frequently used research documents, and thousands of them were written in the past. Therefore, prior to writing yours, take a look at some examples from other abstracts. There are plenty of examples of abstracts for dissertations in the dissertation and thesis databases.

3. Avoid Jargon To the Maximum

When you write your abstract, focus on simplicity over formality. You should  write in simple language, and avoid excessive filler words or ambiguous sentences. Keep in mind that your abstract must be readable to those who aren't acquainted with your subject.

4. Focus on Your Research

It's a given fact that the abstract you write should be about your research and the findings you've made. It is not the right time to mention secondary and primary data sources unless it's absolutely required.

Conclusion: How to Structure an Interesting Abstract?

Abstracts are a short outline of your essay. However, it's among the most important, if not the most important. The process of writing an abstract is not straightforward. A few early-age researchers tend to begin by writing it, thinking they are doing it to "tease" the next step (the document itself). However, it is better to treat it as a spoiler.

The simple, concise style of the abstract lends itself to a well-written and well-investigated study. If your research paper doesn't provide definitive results, or the goal of your research is questioned, so will the abstract. Thus, only write your abstract after witnessing your findings and put your findings in the context of a larger scenario.

The process of writing an abstract can be daunting, but with these guidelines, you will succeed. The most efficient method of writing an excellent abstract is to centre the primary points of your abstract, including the research question and goals methods, as well as key results.

Interested in learning more about dedicated research solutions? Go to the SciSpace product page to find out how our suite of products can help you simplify your research workflows so you can focus on advancing science.

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Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples

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Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract is a brief summary of a research pape r that describes the study’s purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions . It is often the first section of the paper that readers encounter, and its purpose is to provide a concise and accurate overview of the paper’s content. The typical length of an abstract is usually around 150-250 words, and it should be written in a concise and clear manner.

Research Paper Abstract Structure

The structure of a research paper abstract usually includes the following elements:

  • Background or Introduction: Briefly describe the problem or research question that the study addresses.
  • Methods : Explain the methodology used to conduct the study, including the participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Results : Summarize the main findings of the study, including statistical analyses and key outcomes.
  • Conclusions : Discuss the implications of the study’s findings and their significance for the field, as well as any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Keywords : List a few keywords that describe the main topics or themes of the research.

How to Write Research Paper Abstract

Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper abstract:

  • Start by reading your paper: Before you write an abstract, you should have a complete understanding of your paper. Read through the paper carefully, making sure you understand the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the key components : Identify the key components of your paper, such as the research question, methods used, results obtained, and conclusion reached.
  • Write a draft: Write a draft of your abstract, using concise and clear language. Make sure to include all the important information, but keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your abstract between 150-250 words.
  • Use clear and concise language : Use clear and concise language to explain the purpose of your study, the methods used, the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
  • Emphasize your findings: Emphasize your findings in the abstract, highlighting the key results and the significance of your study.
  • Revise and edit: Once you have a draft, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free from errors.
  • Check the formatting: Finally, check the formatting of your abstract to make sure it meets the requirements of the journal or conference where you plan to submit it.

Research Paper Abstract Examples

Research Paper Abstract Examples could be following:

Title : “The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety disorders. Through the analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials, we found that CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders, with large effect sizes across a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Our findings support the use of CBT as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and highlight the importance of further research to identify the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.

Title : “Exploring the Role of Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: A Qualitative Study”

Abstract : This qualitative study explores the role of parental involvement in children’s education. Through in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children in elementary school, we found that parental involvement takes many forms, including volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, and communicating with teachers. We also found that parental involvement is influenced by a range of factors, including parent and child characteristics, school culture, and socio-economic status. Our findings suggest that schools and educators should prioritize building strong partnerships with parents to support children’s academic success.

Title : “The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on the impact of exercise on cognitive function in older adults. Through the analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise is associated with significant improvements in cognitive function, particularly in the domains of executive function and attention. Our findings highlight the potential of exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to support cognitive health in older adults.

When to Write Research Paper Abstract

The abstract of a research paper should typically be written after you have completed the main body of the paper. This is because the abstract is intended to provide a brief summary of the key points and findings of the research, and you can’t do that until you have completed the research and written about it in detail.

Once you have completed your research paper, you can begin writing your abstract. It is important to remember that the abstract should be a concise summary of your research paper, and should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have expertise in your specific area of research.

Purpose of Research Paper Abstract

The purpose of a research paper abstract is to provide a concise summary of the key points and findings of a research paper. It is typically a brief paragraph or two that appears at the beginning of the paper, before the introduction, and is intended to give readers a quick overview of the paper’s content.

The abstract should include a brief statement of the research problem, the methods used to investigate the problem, the key results and findings, and the main conclusions and implications of the research. It should be written in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and technical language, and should be understandable to a broad audience.

The abstract serves as a way to quickly and easily communicate the main points of a research paper to potential readers, such as academics, researchers, and students, who may be looking for information on a particular topic. It can also help researchers determine whether a paper is relevant to their own research interests and whether they should read the full paper.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 3. The Abstract
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
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  • Glossary of Research Terms
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  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
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  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
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  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
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  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
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  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
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  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
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  • Insiderness
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  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century . Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010;

Importance of a Good Abstract

Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.

How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.

Farkas, David K. “A Scheme for Understanding and Writing Summaries.” Technical Communication 67 (August 2020): 45-60;  How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types of Abstracts

To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.

Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.

II.  Writing Style

Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.

Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.

Composing Your Abstract

Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].

Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

  • A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
  • Lengthy background or contextual information,
  • Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
  • Acronyms or abbreviations,
  • References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
  • Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
  • Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
  • Citations to other works, and
  • Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.

Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in the Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Writing Tip

Never Cite Just the Abstract!

Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .

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  • How to Write an Abstract

Abstract

Expedite peer review, increase search-ability, and set the tone for your study

The abstract is your chance to let your readers know what they can expect from your article. Learn how to write a clear, and concise abstract that will keep your audience reading.

How your abstract impacts editorial evaluation and future readership

After the title , the abstract is the second-most-read part of your article. A good abstract can help to expedite peer review and, if your article is accepted for publication, it’s an important tool for readers to find and evaluate your work. Editors use your abstract when they first assess your article. Prospective reviewers see it when they decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once published, the abstract gets indexed in PubMed and Google Scholar , as well as library systems and other popular databases. Like the title, your abstract influences keyword search results. Readers will use it to decide whether to read the rest of your article. Other researchers will use it to evaluate your work for inclusion in systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It should be a concise standalone piece that accurately represents your research. 

the abstract in a research paper

What to include in an abstract

The main challenge you’ll face when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND fitting in all the information you need. Depending on your subject area the journal may require a structured abstract following specific headings. A structured abstract helps your readers understand your study more easily. If your journal doesn’t require a structured abstract it’s still a good idea to follow a similar format, just present the abstract as one paragraph without headings. 

Background or Introduction – What is currently known? Start with a brief, 2 or 3 sentence, introduction to the research area. 

Objectives or Aims – What is the study and why did you do it? Clearly state the research question you’re trying to answer.

Methods – What did you do? Explain what you did and how you did it. Include important information about your methods, but avoid the low-level specifics. Some disciplines have specific requirements for abstract methods. 

  • CONSORT for randomized trials.
  • STROBE for observational studies
  • PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Results – What did you find? Briefly give the key findings of your study. Include key numeric data (including confidence intervals or p values), where possible.

Conclusions – What did you conclude? Tell the reader why your findings matter, and what this could mean for the ‘bigger picture’ of this area of research. 

Writing tips

The main challenge you may find when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND convering all the information you need to.

the abstract in a research paper

  • Keep it concise and to the point. Most journals have a maximum word count, so check guidelines before you write the abstract to save time editing it later.
  • Write for your audience. Are they specialists in your specific field? Are they cross-disciplinary? Are they non-specialists? If you’re writing for a general audience, or your research could be of interest to the public keep your language as straightforward as possible. If you’re writing in English, do remember that not all of your readers will necessarily be native English speakers.
  • Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages.
  • Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary.
  • Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings.
  • Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.
  • Double and triple check your abstract for spelling and grammar errors. These kind of errors can give potential reviewers the impression that your research isn’t sound, and can make it easier to find reviewers who accept the invitation to review your manuscript. Your abstract should be a taste of what is to come in the rest of your article.

the abstract in a research paper

Don’t

  • Sensationalize your research.
  • Speculate about where this research might lead in the future.
  • Use abbreviations or acronyms (unless absolutely necessary or unless they’re widely known, eg. DNA).
  • Repeat yourself unnecessarily, eg. “Methods: We used X technique. Results: Using X technique, we found…”
  • Contradict anything in the rest of your manuscript.
  • Include content that isn’t also covered in the main manuscript.
  • Include citations or references.

Tip: How to edit your work

Editing is challenging, especially if you are acting as both a writer and an editor. Read our guidelines for advice on how to refine your work, including useful tips for setting your intentions, re-review, and consultation with colleagues.

  • How to Write a Great Title
  • How to Write Your Methods
  • How to Report Statistics
  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
  • How to Edit Your Work

The contents of the Peer Review Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.

Why write an abstract?

You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.

Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:

This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.

From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.

Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.

When do people write abstracts?

  • when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
  • when applying for research grants
  • when writing a book proposal
  • when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
  • when writing a proposal for a conference paper
  • when writing a proposal for a book chapter

Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.

Types of abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.

Descriptive abstracts

A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.

Informative abstracts

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.

Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:

The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.

Informative abstract:

Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.

Which type should I use?

Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.

How do I write an abstract?

The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:

  • Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
  • Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
  • Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
  • Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )

All abstracts include:

  • A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
  • The most important information first.
  • The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
  • Clear, concise, and powerful language.

Abstracts may include:

  • The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
  • Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
  • The same chronological structure as the original work.

How not to write an abstract:

  • Do not refer extensively to other works.
  • Do not add information not contained in the original work.
  • Do not define terms.

If you are abstracting your own writing

When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.

Reverse outlining:

This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .

For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.

Cut and paste:

To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.

If you are abstracting someone else’s writing

When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:

Identify key terms:

Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.

Highlight key phrases and sentences:

Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.

Don’t look back:

After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.

Revise, revise, revise

No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.

Example 1: Humanities abstract

Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998

This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.

What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.

How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.

What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.

Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation

Example 2: Science Abstract

Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998

The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.

Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.

What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.

Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .

Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write an Abstract (With Examples)

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how to write an abstract

Table of Contents

What is an abstract in a paper, how long should an abstract be, 5 steps for writing an abstract, examples of an abstract, how prowritingaid can help you write an abstract.

If you are writing a scientific research paper or a book proposal, you need to know how to write an abstract, which summarizes the contents of the paper or book.

When researchers are looking for peer-reviewed papers to use in their studies, the first place they will check is the abstract to see if it applies to their work. Therefore, your abstract is one of the most important parts of your entire paper.

In this article, we’ll explain what an abstract is, what it should include, and how to write one.

An abstract is a concise summary of the details within a report. Some abstracts give more details than others, but the main things you’ll be talking about are why you conducted the research, what you did, and what the results show.

When a reader is deciding whether to read your paper completely, they will first look at the abstract. You need to be concise in your abstract and give the reader the most important information so they can determine if they want to read the whole paper.

Remember that an abstract is the last thing you’ll want to write for the research paper because it directly references parts of the report. If you haven’t written the report, you won’t know what to include in your abstract.

If you are writing a paper for a journal or an assignment, the publication or academic institution might have specific formatting rules for how long your abstract should be. However, if they don’t, most abstracts are between 150 and 300 words long.

A short word count means your writing has to be precise and without filler words or phrases. Once you’ve written a first draft, you can always use an editing tool, such as ProWritingAid, to identify areas where you can reduce words and increase readability.

If your abstract is over the word limit, and you’ve edited it but still can’t figure out how to reduce it further, your abstract might include some things that aren’t needed. Here’s a list of three elements you can remove from your abstract:

Discussion : You don’t need to go into detail about the findings of your research because your reader will find your discussion within the paper.

Definition of terms : Your readers are interested the field you are writing about, so they are likely to understand the terms you are using. If not, they can always look them up. Your readers do not expect you to give a definition of terms in your abstract.

References and citations : You can mention there have been studies that support or have inspired your research, but you do not need to give details as the reader will find them in your bibliography.

the abstract in a research paper

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

If you’ve never written an abstract before, and you’re wondering how to write an abstract, we’ve got some steps for you to follow. It’s best to start with planning your abstract, so we’ve outlined the details you need to include in your plan before you write.

Remember to consider your audience when you’re planning and writing your abstract. They are likely to skim read your abstract, so you want to be sure your abstract delivers all the information they’re expecting to see at key points.

1. What Should an Abstract Include?

Abstracts have a lot of information to cover in a short number of words, so it’s important to know what to include. There are three elements that need to be present in your abstract:

Your context is the background for where your research sits within your field of study. You should briefly mention any previous scientific papers or experiments that have led to your hypothesis and how research develops in those studies.

Your hypothesis is your prediction of what your study will show. As you are writing your abstract after you have conducted your research, you should still include your hypothesis in your abstract because it shows the motivation for your paper.

Throughout your abstract, you also need to include keywords and phrases that will help researchers to find your article in the databases they’re searching. Make sure the keywords are specific to your field of study and the subject you’re reporting on, otherwise your article might not reach the relevant audience.

2. Can You Use First Person in an Abstract?

You might think that first person is too informal for a research paper, but it’s not. Historically, writers of academic reports avoided writing in first person to uphold the formality standards of the time. However, first person is more accepted in research papers in modern times.

If you’re still unsure whether to write in first person for your abstract, refer to any style guide rules imposed by the journal you’re writing for or your teachers if you are writing an assignment.

3. Abstract Structure

Some scientific journals have strict rules on how to structure an abstract, so it’s best to check those first. If you don’t have any style rules to follow, try using the IMRaD structure, which stands for Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion.

how to structure an abstract

Following the IMRaD structure, start with an introduction. The amount of background information you should include depends on your specific research area. Adding a broad overview gives you less room to include other details. Remember to include your hypothesis in this section.

The next part of your abstract should cover your methodology. Try to include the following details if they apply to your study:

What type of research was conducted?

How were the test subjects sampled?

What were the sample sizes?

What was done to each group?

How long was the experiment?

How was data recorded and interpreted?

Following the methodology, include a sentence or two about the results, which is where your reader will determine if your research supports or contradicts their own investigations.

The results are also where most people will want to find out what your outcomes were, even if they are just mildly interested in your research area. You should be specific about all the details but as concise as possible.

The last few sentences are your conclusion. It needs to explain how your findings affect the context and whether your hypothesis was correct. Include the primary take-home message, additional findings of importance, and perspective. Also explain whether there is scope for further research into the subject of your report.

Your conclusion should be honest and give the reader the ultimate message that your research shows. Readers trust the conclusion, so make sure you’re not fabricating the results of your research. Some readers won’t read your entire paper, but this section will tell them if it’s worth them referencing it in their own study.

4. How to Start an Abstract

The first line of your abstract should give your reader the context of your report by providing background information. You can use this sentence to imply the motivation for your research.

You don’t need to use a hook phrase or device in your first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Your reader will look to establish relevance quickly, so readability and clarity are more important than trying to persuade the reader to read on.

5. How to Format an Abstract

Most abstracts use the same formatting rules, which help the reader identify the abstract so they know where to look for it.

Here’s a list of formatting guidelines for writing an abstract:

Stick to one paragraph

Use block formatting with no indentation at the beginning

Put your abstract straight after the title and acknowledgements pages

Use present or past tense, not future tense

There are two primary types of abstract you could write for your paper—descriptive and informative.

An informative abstract is the most common, and they follow the structure mentioned previously. They are longer than descriptive abstracts because they cover more details.

Descriptive abstracts differ from informative abstracts, as they don’t include as much discussion or detail. The word count for a descriptive abstract is between 50 and 150 words.

Here is an example of an informative abstract:

A growing trend exists for authors to employ a more informal writing style that uses “we” in academic writing to acknowledge one’s stance and engagement. However, few studies have compared the ways in which the first-person pronoun “we” is used in the abstracts and conclusions of empirical papers. To address this lacuna in the literature, this study conducted a systematic corpus analysis of the use of “we” in the abstracts and conclusions of 400 articles collected from eight leading electrical and electronic (EE) engineering journals. The abstracts and conclusions were extracted to form two subcorpora, and an integrated framework was applied to analyze and seek to explain how we-clusters and we-collocations were employed. Results revealed whether authors’ use of first-person pronouns partially depends on a journal policy. The trend of using “we” showed that a yearly increase occurred in the frequency of “we” in EE journal papers, as well as the existence of three “we-use” types in the article conclusions and abstracts: exclusive, inclusive, and ambiguous. Other possible “we-use” alternatives such as “I” and other personal pronouns were used very rarely—if at all—in either section. These findings also suggest that the present tense was used more in article abstracts, but the present perfect tense was the most preferred tense in article conclusions. Both research and pedagogical implications are proffered and critically discussed.

Wang, S., Tseng, W.-T., & Johanson, R. (2021). To We or Not to We: Corpus-Based Research on First-Person Pronoun Use in Abstracts and Conclusions. SAGE Open, 11(2).

Here is an example of a descriptive abstract:

From the 1850s to the present, considerable criminological attention has focused on the development of theoretically-significant systems for classifying crime. This article reviews and attempts to evaluate a number of these efforts, and we conclude that further work on this basic task is needed. The latter part of the article explicates a conceptual foundation for a crime pattern classification system, and offers a preliminary taxonomy of crime.

Farr, K. A., & Gibbons, D. C. (1990). Observations on the Development of Crime Categories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 34(3), 223–237.

If you want to ensure your abstract is grammatically correct and easy to read, you can use ProWritingAid to edit it. The software integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and most web browsers, so you can make the most of it wherever you’re writing your paper.

academic document type

Before you edit with ProWritingAid, make sure the suggestions you are seeing are relevant for your document by changing the document type to “Abstract” within the Academic writing style section.

You can use the Readability report to check your abstract for places to improve the clarity of your writing. Some suggestions might show you where to remove words, which is great if you’re over your word count.

We hope the five steps and examples we’ve provided help you write a great abstract for your research paper.

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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper | Examples

the abstract in a research paper

What is a research paper abstract?

Research paper abstracts summarize your study quickly and succinctly to journal editors and researchers and prompt them to read further. But with the ubiquity of online publication databases, writing a compelling abstract is even more important today than it was in the days of bound paper manuscripts.

Abstracts exist to “sell”  your work, and they could thus be compared to the “executive summary” of a business resume: an official briefing on what is most important about your research. Or the “gist” of your research. With the majority of academic transactions being conducted online, this means that you have even less time to impress readers–and increased competition in terms of other abstracts out there to read.

The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) notes that there are  12 questions or “points” considered in the selection process  for journals and conferences and stresses the importance of having an abstract that ticks all of these boxes. Because it is often the ONLY chance you have to convince readers to keep reading, it is important that you spend time and energy crafting an abstract that faithfully represents the central parts of your study and captivates your audience.

With that in mind, follow these suggestions when structuring and writing your abstract, and learn how exactly to put these ideas into a solid abstract that will captivate your target readers.

Before Writing Your Abstract

How long should an abstract be.

All abstracts are written with the same essential objective: to give a summary of your study. But there are two basic styles of abstract: descriptive and informative . Here is a brief delineation of the two:

Of the two types of abstracts, informative abstracts are much more common, and they are widely used for submission to journals and conferences. Informative abstracts apply to lengthier and more technical research and are common in the sciences, engineering, and psychology, while descriptive abstracts are more likely used in humanities and social science papers. The best method of determining which abstract type you need to use is to follow the instructions for journal submissions and to read as many other published articles in those journals as possible.

Research Abstract Guidelines and Requirements

As any article about research writing will tell you, authors must always closely follow the specific guidelines and requirements indicated in the Guide for Authors section of their target journal’s website. The same kind of adherence to conventions should be applied to journal publications, for consideration at a conference, and even when completing a class assignment.

Each publisher has particular demands when it comes to formatting and structure. Here are some common questions addressed in the journal guidelines:

  • Is there a maximum or minimum word/character length?
  • What are the style and formatting requirements?
  • What is the appropriate abstract type?
  • Are there any specific content or organization rules that apply?

There are of course other rules to consider when composing a research paper abstract. But if you follow the stated rules the first time you submit your manuscript, you can avoid your work being thrown in the “circular file” right off the bat.

Identify Your Target Readership

The main purpose of your abstract is to lead researchers to the full text of your research paper. In scientific journals, abstracts let readers decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests or study. Abstracts also help readers understand your main argument quickly. Consider these questions as you write your abstract:

  • Are other academics in your field the main target of your study?
  • Will your study perhaps be useful to members of the general public?
  • Do your study results include the wider implications presented in the abstract?

Outlining and Writing Your Abstract

What to include in an abstract.

Just as your  research paper title  should cover as much ground as possible in a few short words, your abstract must cover  all  parts of your study in order to fully explain your paper and research. Because it must accomplish this task in the space of only a few hundred words, it is important not to include ambiguous references or phrases that will confuse the reader or mislead them about the content and objectives of your research. Follow these  dos  and  don’ts  when it comes to what kind of writing to include:

  • Avoid acronyms or abbreviations since these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader, which takes up valuable abstract space. Instead, explain these terms in the Introduction section of the main text.
  • Only use references to people or other works if they are well-known. Otherwise, avoid referencing anything outside of your study in the abstract.
  • Never include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract; you will have plenty of time to present and refer to these in the body of your paper.

Use keywords in your abstract to focus your topic

A vital search tool is the research paper keywords section, which lists the most relevant terms directly underneath the abstract. Think of these keywords as the “tubes” that readers will seek and enter—via queries on databases and search engines—to ultimately land at their destination, which is your paper. Your abstract keywords should thus be words that are commonly used in searches but should also be highly relevant to your work and found in the text of your abstract. Include 5 to 10 important words or short phrases central to your research in both the abstract and the keywords section.

For example, if you are writing a paper on the prevalence of obesity among lower classes that crosses international boundaries, you should include terms like “obesity,” “prevalence,” “international,” “lower classes,” and “cross-cultural.” These are terms that should net a wide array of people interested in your topic of study. Look at our nine rules for choosing keywords for your research paper if you need more input on this.

Research Paper Abstract Structure

As mentioned above, the abstract (especially the informative abstract) acts as a surrogate or synopsis of your research paper, doing almost as much work as the thousands of words that follow it in the body of the main text. In the hard sciences and most social sciences, the abstract includes the following sections and organizational schema.

Each section is quite compact—only a single sentence or two, although there is room for expansion if one element or statement is particularly interesting or compelling. As the abstract is almost always one long paragraph, the individual sections should naturally merge into one another to create a holistic effect. Use the following as a checklist to ensure that you have included all of the necessary content in your abstract.

how to structure an abstract list

1) Identify your purpose and motivation

So your research is about rabies in Brazilian squirrels. Why is this important? You should start your abstract by explaining why people should care about this study—why is it significant to your field and perhaps to the wider world? And what is the exact purpose of your study; what are you trying to achieve? Start by answering the following questions:

  • What made you decide to do this study or project?
  • Why is this study important to your field or to the lay reader?
  • Why should someone read your entire article?

In summary, the first section of your abstract should include the importance of the research and its impact on related research fields or on the wider scientific domain.

2) Explain the research problem you are addressing

Stating the research problem that your study addresses is the corollary to why your specific study is important and necessary. For instance, even if the issue of “rabies in Brazilian squirrels” is important, what is the problem—the “missing piece of the puzzle”—that your study helps resolve?

You can combine the problem with the motivation section, but from a perspective of organization and clarity, it is best to separate the two. Here are some precise questions to address:

  • What is your research trying to better understand or what problem is it trying to solve?
  • What is the scope of your study—does it try to explain something general or specific?
  • What is your central claim or argument?

3) Discuss your research approach

Your specific study approach is detailed in the Methods and Materials section .  You have already established the importance of the research, your motivation for studying this issue, and the specific problem your paper addresses. Now you need to discuss  how  you solved or made progress on this problem—how you conducted your research. If your study includes your own work or that of your team, describe that here. If in your paper you reviewed the work of others, explain this here. Did you use analytic models? A simulation? A double-blind study? A case study? You are basically showing the reader the internal engine of your research machine and how it functioned in the study. Be sure to:

  • Detail your research—include methods/type of the study, your variables, and the extent of the work
  • Briefly present evidence to support your claim
  • Highlight your most important sources

4) Briefly summarize your results

Here you will give an overview of the outcome of your study. Avoid using too many vague qualitative terms (e.g, “very,” “small,” or “tremendous”) and try to use at least some quantitative terms (i.e., percentages, figures, numbers). Save your qualitative language for the conclusion statement. Answer questions like these:

  • What did your study yield in concrete terms (e.g., trends, figures, correlation between phenomena)?
  • How did your results compare to your hypothesis? Was the study successful?
  • Where there any highly unexpected outcomes or were they all largely predicted?

5) State your conclusion

In the last section of your abstract, you will give a statement about the implications and  limitations of the study . Be sure to connect this statement closely to your results and not the area of study in general. Are the results of this study going to shake up the scientific world? Will they impact how people see “Brazilian squirrels”? Or are the implications minor? Try not to boast about your study or present its impact as  too  far-reaching, as researchers and journals will tend to be skeptical of bold claims in scientific papers. Answer one of these questions:

  • What are the exact effects of these results on my field? On the wider world?
  • What other kind of study would yield further solutions to problems?
  • What other information is needed to expand knowledge in this area?

After Completing the First Draft of Your Abstract

Revise your abstract.

The abstract, like any piece of academic writing, should be revised before being considered complete. Check it for  grammatical and spelling errors  and make sure it is formatted properly.

Get feedback from a peer

Getting a fresh set of eyes to review your abstract is a great way to find out whether you’ve summarized your research well. Find a reader who understands research papers but is not an expert in this field or is not affiliated with your study. Ask your reader to summarize what your study is about (including all key points of each section). This should tell you if you have communicated your key points clearly.

In addition to research peers, consider consulting with a professor or even a specialist or generalist writing center consultant about your abstract. Use any resource that helps you see your work from another perspective.

Consider getting professional editing and proofreading

While peer feedback is quite important to ensure the effectiveness of your abstract content, it may be a good idea to find an academic editor  to fix mistakes in grammar, spelling, mechanics, style, or formatting. The presence of basic errors in the abstract may not affect your content, but it might dissuade someone from reading your entire study. Wordvice provides English editing services that both correct objective errors and enhance the readability and impact of your work.

Additional Abstract Rules and Guidelines

Write your abstract after completing your paper.

Although the abstract goes at the beginning of your manuscript, it does not merely introduce your research topic (that is the job of the title), but rather summarizes your entire paper. Writing the abstract last will ensure that it is complete and consistent with the findings and statements in your paper.

Keep your content in the correct order

Both questions and answers should be organized in a standard and familiar way to make the content easier for readers to absorb. Ideally, it should mimic the overall format of your essay and the classic “introduction,” “body,” and “conclusion” form, even if the parts are not neatly divided as such.

Write the abstract from scratch

Because the abstract is a self-contained piece of writing viewed separately from the body of the paper, you should write it separately as well. Never copy and paste direct quotes from the paper and avoid paraphrasing sentences in the paper. Using new vocabulary and phrases will keep your abstract interesting and free of redundancies while conserving space.

Don’t include too many details in the abstract

Again, the density of your abstract makes it incompatible with including specific points other than possibly names or locations. You can make references to terms, but do not explain or define them in the abstract. Try to strike a balance between being specific to your study and presenting a relatively broad overview of your work.

Wordvice Resources

If you think your abstract is fine now but you need input on abstract writing or require English editing services (including paper editing ), then head over to the Wordvice academic resources page, where you will find many more articles, for example on writing the Results , Methods , and Discussion sections of your manuscript, on choosing a title for your paper , or on how to finalize your journal submission with a strong cover letter .    

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Writing Guides  /  15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

abstract examples

Demystifying Abstract Writing

An abstract represents a concise, well-articulated summary of an academic piece or research. But writing an abstract goes beyond merely creating a summary. In this piece, we’ll delve into examples of abstracts to illuminate what they truly are, along with the necessary tone, style, and word counts.

You’ll also see how diverse abstract writing can be, tailored according to the subject area. For instance, an abstract for empirical research in the sciences contrasts greatly from that of a humanities article.

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The Importance of Abstracts: Why Do We Write Them?

Every abstract you encounter, including our abstract writing example, has a few core characteristics. The primary role of an abstract is to encapsulate the essential points of a research article, much like a book’s back cover. The back jacket often influences whether you buy the book or not.

Similarly, academic papers are often behind paywalls, and the abstract assists readers in deciding if they should purchase the article. If you’re a student or researcher, the abstract helps you gauge whether the article is worth your time.

Furthermore, abstracts promote ongoing research in your field by incorporating keywords that allow others to locate your work. Knowing how to write a good abstract contributes to your professionalism, especially crucial for graduate-level studies. This skill might be vital when submitting your research to peer-reviewed journals or soliciting grant funding.

Breaking Down an Abstract: What’s Inside?

The contents of an abstract heavily rely on the type of study, research design, and subject area. An abstract may contain a succinct background statement highlighting the research’s significance, a problem statement, the methodologies used, a synopsis of the results, and the conclusions drawn.

When it comes to writing an abstract for a research paper, striking a balance between consciousness and informative detail is essential. Our examples of abstracts will help you grasp this balance better.

Moreover, you’ll learn how to format abstracts variably, matching the requirements of your degree program or publication guidelines.

Key Elements to Include in Your Abstract

  • Brief Background: Introduce the importance of the research from your point of view.
  • Problem Statement: Define the issue your research addresses, commonly referred to as the thesis statement.
  • Methodology: Describe the research methods you employed.
  • Synopsis: This should include a summary of your results and conclusions.
  • Keywords: Implement terms that others will use to find your article.

Types of Abstracts

  • Descriptive Abstracts: These give an overview of the source material without delving into results and conclusions.
  • Informative Abstracts: These offer a more detailed look into your research, including the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Always write your abstract in the present tense.
  • Keep track of word counts to maintain brevity.
  • The original text should guide your abstract.
  • Always provide a good synopsis in your abstract.
  • If needed, use your abstract to draft a compelling query letter.
  • Consider providing a literature review abstract if your research involves an extensive review of existing literature.

Types of Abstract

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab resource, there are two different types of abstract: informational and descriptive.

Although informative and descriptive abstracts seem similar, they are different in a few key ways.

An informative abstract contains all the information related to the research, including the results and the conclusion.

A descriptive abstract is typically much shorter, and does not provide as much information. Rather, the descriptive abstract just tells the reader what the research or the article is about and not much more.

The descriptive abstract is more of a tagline or a teaser, whereas the informative abstract is more like a summary.

You will find both types of abstracts in the examples below.

Abstract Examples

Informative abstract example 1.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been correlated with leadership effectiveness in organizations. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study assesses the importance of emotional intelligence on academic performance at the high school level.

The Emotional Intelligence rating scale was used, as well as semi-structured interviews with teachers. Participant grades were collected. Emotional intelligence was found to correlate positively with academic success. Implications for pedagogical practice are discussed.

Explanation

This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social sciences research. Most informative abstracts proceed in a logical fashion to reflect the organization of the main paper: with sections on the background, methods, results, and conclusions.

Informative Abstract Example 2

Social learning takes place through observations of others within a community. In diverse urban landscapes and through digital media, social learning may be qualitatively different from the social learning that takes place within families and tightly-knit social circles.

This study examines the differences between social learning that takes place in the home versus social learning that takes place from watching celebrities and other role models online. Results show that social learning takes place with equal efficacy. These results show that social learning does not just take place within known social circles, and that observations of others can lead to multiple types of learning.

This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social science research. After the background statement, the author discusses the problem statement or research question, followed by the results and the conclusions.

Informative Abstract Example 3

Few studies have examined the connection between visual imagery and emotional reactions to news media consumption. This study addresses the gap in the literature via the use of content analysis. Content analysis methods were used to analyze five news media television sites over the course of six months.

Using the Yolanda Metrics method, the researchers ascertained ten main words that were used throughout each of the news media sites. Implications and suggestions for future research are included.

This abstract provides an informative synopsis of a quantitative study on content analysis. The author provides the background information, addresses the methods, and also outlines the conclusions of the research.

Informative Abstract Example 4

This study explores the relationship between nurse educator theoretical viewpoints and nursing outcomes. Using a qualitative descriptive study, the researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with nursing students and nurse educators. The results show that nurse educator theoretical viewpoints had a direct bearing on nurse self-concept. Nurse educators should be cognizant of their biases and theoretical viewpoints when instructing students.

This example showcases how to write an abstract for a qualitative study. Qualitative studies also have clearly defined research methods. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind the general principles of informative abstract writing. Always begin with the research question or problem statement, and proceed to offer a one-sentence description of study methods and results.

Informative Abstract Example 5

Aboriginal people have poorer health outcomes versus their counterparts from other ethnic groups. In this study, public health researchers conducted an epidemiological data analysis using results from the Transcultural Health Report. Using a chi-square test, the researchers found that there is a direct correlation between ethnicity and health status. Policymakers should consider introducing methods for reducing health disparities among minority groups.

This informative abstract details the methods used in the report. As with other informative abstracts, it is written in the past tense. The abstract provides the reader with a summary of the research that has already been conducted.

Informative Abstract Example 6

We examine the contradictions of decolonization as official state policy. Using themes related to decolonization from the literature, we discuss how oppressed people develop cogent policies that create new systems of power. Intersectionality is also discussed.

Through a historical analysis, it was found that decolonization and political identity construction take place not as reactionary pathways but as deliberate means of regaining access to power and privilege. The cultivation of new political and social identities promotes social cohesion in formerly colonized nation-states, paving the way for future means of identity construction.

This abstract is informative but because it does not involve a unique empirical research design, it is written in a different manner from other informative abstracts. The researchers use tone, style, and diction that parallels that which takes place within the body of the text. The main themes are elucidated.

Informative Abstract Example 7

The implementation of a nationwide mandatory vaccination program against influenza in the country of Maconda was designed to lower rates of preventable illnesses. This study was designed to measure the cost-effectiveness of the mandatory vaccination program.

This is a cohort study designed to assess the rates of new influenza cases among both children (age > 8 years) and adults (age > 18 years). Using the National Reference Data Report of Maconda, the researchers compiled new case data (n = 2034) from 2014 to 2018.

A total of 45 new cases were reported during the years of 2014 and 2015, and after that, the number of new cases dropped by 74%.

The significant decrease in new influenza cases can be attributed to the introduction of mandatory vaccination.

Interpretation

The mandatory vaccination program proves cost-effective given its efficacy in controlling the disease.

This method of writing an informative abstract divides the content into respective subject headers. This style makes the abstract easier for some readers to scan quickly.

Informative Abstract Example 8

Mindfulness-based meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have been shown to reduce burnout and improve employee engagement. Using a pretest/posttest design, the researchers randomly assigned nurses (n = 136) to the control and experimental groups. The Kabat-Zinn mindfulness-based stress reduction technique was used as the primary intervention for the experimental group.

Quantitative findings revealed significant improvements on self-report scales for depression and anxiety. Nurse leaders and administrators should consider implementing a mindfulness-based stress reduction program to reduce burnout and improve overall nurse performance.

This abstract contains all the necessary information you would need to make an assessment of whether the research was pertinent to your study. When you are writing an informative abstract, consider taking one sentence from each of the sections in your research (introduction/background, methods, results, and conclusion).

Descriptive Abstract Example 1

What inspires individuals to become members of a new religious movement, or a “cult”? This review of the literature offers some suggestions as to the psychological and sociological motivations for joining a new religious movement, offering suggestions for future research.

Unlike informative abstracts, descriptive abstracts simply alert the reader of the main gist of the article. Reading this abstract does not tell you exactly what the researchers found out about their subject, but it does let the reader know what the overall subject matter was and the methods used to conduct the research.

Descriptive Abstract Example 2

With few remaining survivors of the Holocaust, it becomes critical for historians to gather as much data that can contribute to an overall understanding of the ways trauma has been incorporated into identity. Interviews with five Holocaust survivors reveal new information about the role that art and music played in self-healing and community healing.

This descriptive abstract does not give too much information away, simply telling the reader that the researcher used interviews and a case study research design. Although it is a brief description of the study, the researchers succinctly summarize the contents and results.

Descriptive Abstract Example 3

Absurdist theater and literature have had a strong influence on playwrights in France and England. This analysis of absurdist theater addresses the primary symbols being used in absurdist literature and traces the evolution of those symbols as they parallel historical events.

As with most descriptive abstracts, this example is short. You can use descriptive abstracts to provide the reader with a summary of non-empirical research such as literary criticism.

Descriptive Abstract Example 4

The architecture of Oscar Niemeyer reflects socialist sensibilities in the urban planning of Brasilia. This research explores the philosophical underpinnings of Niemeyer’s design through an analysis of several of the main elements of the National Congress of Brazil. Implications and influences of Niemeyer’s work are also discussed.

Note how with the descriptive abstract, you are writing about the research in a more abstract and detached way than when you write an informative abstract.

Descriptive Abstract Example 5

Jacques Derrida has written extensively on the symbolism and the metonymy of September 11. In this research, we critique Derrida’s position, on the grounds that terrorism is better understood from within a neo-realist framework. Derrida’s analysis lacks coherence, is pompous and verbose, and is unnecessarily abstract when considering the need for a cogent counterterrorism strategy.

Like most descriptive abstracts, this encapsulates the main idea of the research but does not necessarily follow the same format as you might use in an informative abstract. Whereas an informative abstract follows the chronological format used in the paper you present, with introduction, methods, findings, and conclusion, a descriptive abstract only focuses on the main idea.

Descriptive Abstract Example 6

The Five Factor model of personality has been well established in the literature and is one of the most reliable and valid methods of assessing success. In this study, we use the Five Factor model to show when the qualities of neuroticism and introversion, which have been typically linked with low rates of success, are actually correlated with achievement in certain job sectors. Implications and suggestions for clinicians are discussed.

This descriptive abstract does not discuss the methodology used in the research, which is what differentiates it from an informative abstract. However, the description does include the basic elements contained in the report.

Descriptive Abstract Example 7

This is a case study of a medium-sized company, analyzing the competencies required for entering into the Indian retail market. Focusing on Mumbai and Bangalore, the expansion into these markets reveals potential challenges for European firms. A comparison case with a failed expansion into Wuhan, China is given, offering an explanation for how there are no global cross-cultural competencies that can be applied in all cases.

While this descriptive abstract shows the reader what the paper addresses, the methods and results are omitted. A descriptive abstract is shorter than an informative abstract.

Which Type of Abstract Should I Use?

Check with your professors or academic advisors, or with the editor of the peer-reviewed journal before determining which type of abstract is right for you.

If you have conducted original empirical research in the social sciences, you will most likely want to use an informative abstract.

However, when you are writing about the arts or humanities, a descriptive abstract might work best.

What Information Should I Include in An Abstract?

The information you include in the abstract will depend on the substantive content of your report.

Consider breaking down your abstract into five separate components, corresponding roughly with the structure of your original research.

You can write one or two sentences on each of these sections:

For Original Empirical Research

1. Background/Introductory Sentence

If you have conducted, or are going to conduct, an original research, then consider the following elements for your abstract:

What was your hypothesis?

What has the previous literature said about your subject?

What was the gap in the literature you are filling with your research?

What are the research questions?

What problem are you trying to solve?

What theoretical viewpoint or approach did you take?

What was your research design (qualitative, quantitative, multi-factorial, mixed-methods)?

What was the setting? Did you conduct a clinical analysis? Or did you conduct a systematic review of literature or a meta-analysis of data?

How many subjects were there?

How did you collect data?

How did you analyze the data?

What methodological weaknesses need to be mentioned?

III. Results

If this was a qualitative study, what were the major findings?

If this was a quantitative study, what were the major findings? Was there an alpha coefficient? What was the standard deviation?

Were the results statistically significant?

1. Discussion

Did the results prove or disprove the hypothesis ?

Were the results significant enough to inform future research?

How do your results link up with previous research? Does your research confirm or go beyond prior literature?

1. Conclusions/Recommendations

What do your results say about the research question or problem statement?

If you had to make a policy recommendation or offer suggestions to other scholars, what would you say?

Are there any concluding thoughts or overarching impressions?

Writing Abstracts for Literary Criticism and Humanities Research

Writing abstracts for research that is not empirical in nature does not involve the same steps as you might use when composing an abstract for the sciences or social sciences.

When writing an abstract for the arts and humanities, consider the following outline, writing one or two sentences for each section:

1. Background/Introduction

What other scholars have said before.

Why you agree or disagree.

Why this is important to study.

1. Your methods or approach

How did you conduct your research?

Did you analyze a specific text, case study, or work of art?

Are you comparing and contrasting?

What philosophical or theoretical model did you use?

III. Findings

What did you discover in the course of your research?

1. Discussion/Conclusion

How are your findings meaningful?

What new discoveries have you made?

How does your work contribute to the discourse?

General Tips for Writing Abstracts

The best way to improve your abstract writing skills is to read more abstracts. When you read other abstracts, you will understand more about what is expected, and what you should include or leave out from the abstract.

Reading abstracts helps you become more familiar with the tone and style, as well as the structure of abstracts.

Write your abstract after you have completed your research.

Many successful abstracts actually take the first sentence from each section of your research, such as the introduction/background, review of literature, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Although it is a good idea to write the results of your original research, avoid giving too much detail. Instead, focus on what really matters.

A good abstract is like an elevator pitch.

While there is no absolute rule for how long an abstract should be, a general rule of thumb is around 100-150 words. However, some descriptive abstracts may be shorter than that, and some informative abstracts could be longer.

How to Write a Synopsis

Writing a synopsis involves summarizing a work’s key elements, including the narrative arc, major plot points, character development, rising action, and plot twists. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a compelling synopsis.

  • Outline the Narrative Arc: Start by defining your story’s beginning, middle, and end. This includes the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Identify Major Plot Points: Major plot points are crucial events that propel your story forward. Identify these critical moments and explain how they contribute to the narrative arc.
  • Discuss Character Development: Characters are the backbone of your story. Describe your characters at the start of the story and demonstrate how they evolve by the end.
  • Illustrate Rising Action: The rising action is a series of events that lead to the climax of your story. Ensure to discuss these events and how they build suspense and momentum.
  • Include Plot Twists: If your story has unexpected turns or surprises, highlight these plot twists in your synopsis. However, ensure these twists aren’t revealed too abruptly.

Remember, a synopsis should provide a complete overview of your story. It’s different from a teaser or back cover blurb — your objective isn’t to create suspense, but to succinctly present the whole narrative.

How Long Should a Summary Be

The length of a summary varies based on the complexity and length of the original work. However, as a rule of thumb, a summary should ideally be no more than 10-15% of the original text’s word count. This ensures you cover the significant plot points, character development, narrative arc, rising action, and plot twists without going into excessive detail.

For instance, if you’re summarizing a 300-page novel, your summary may be about 30 pages. If you’re summarizing a short 5-page article, a half-page to one-page summary should suffice.

Remember, the goal of a summary is to condense the source material, maintaining the core ideas and crucial information while trimming unnecessary details. Always aim for brevity and clarity in your summaries.

Abstracts are even shorter versions of executive summaries. Although abstracts are brief and seem relatively easy, they can be challenging to write. If you are struggling to write your abstract, just consider the main ideas of your original research paper and pretend that you are summarizing that research for a friend.

If you would like more examples of strong abstracts in your field of research, or need help composing your abstract or conducting research, call a writing tutor.

“Abstracts,” (n.d.). The Writing Center. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/abstracts/

Koopman, P. (1997). How to write an abstract. https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html

University of Massachusetts, Amherst (n.d.). Writing an abstract.

“Writing Report Abstracts,” (n.d.). Purdue Online Writing Lab. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/

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  • How to Write An Abstract For Research Papers: Tips & Examples

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In many ways, an abstract is like a trailer of a movie or the synopsis of your favorite book. Its job is to whet the reader’s appetite by sharing important information about your work. After reading a well-written abstract, one should have enough interest to explore the full research thesis. 

So how do you write an interesting abstract that captures the core of your study? First, you need to understand your research objectives and match them with the key results of your study. In this article, we will share some tips for writing an effective abstract, plus samples you can learn from. 

What is an Abstract in Research Writing?

In simple terms, an abstract is a concise write-up that gives an overview of your systematic investigation. According to Grammarly, it is a self-contained summary of a larger work, and it serves as a preview of the bigger document. 

It usually appears at the beginning of your thesis or research paper and helps the reader to have an overview of your work without going into great detail. This means that when someone reads your abstract, it should give them a clear idea of the purpose of your systematic investigation, your problem statement, key results, and any gaps requiring further investigation. 

So how long should your abstract be to capture all of these details? The reality is you don’t need a lot of words to capture key pieces of information in your abstract. Typically, 6–7 sentences made up of 150–250 words should be just right. 

Read: Writing Research Proposals: Tips, Examples & Mistakes

What are the Characteristics of a Good Abstract? 

  • A good abstract clearly states the aims and objectives of the research.
  • It outlines the research methodology for data gathering , processing and analysis. 
  • A good abstract summarizes specific research results.
  • It states the key conclusions of the systematic investigation.
  • It is brief yet straight to the point. 
  • A good abstract is unified and coherent. 
  • It is easy to understand and devoid of technical jargon. 
  • It is written in an unbiased and objective manner. 

What is the Purpose of an Abstract? 

Every abstract has two major purposes. First, it communicates the relevance of your systematic investigation to readers. After reading your abstract, people can determine how relevant your study is to their primary or secondary research purpose. 

The second purpose of an abstract is to communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper. Research papers typically run into tens of pages so it takes time to read and digest them. To help readers grasp the core ideas in a systematic investigation, it pays to have a well-written abstract that outlines important information concerning your study. 

In all, your abstract should accurately outline the most important information in your research. Many times, it determines whether people would go ahead to read your dissertation. Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your thesis easily findable.

Learn About: How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research

What are the Sections of an Abstract?

You already know the key pieces of information that your abstract should communicate. These details are broken into six important sections of the abstract which are: 

  • The Introduction or Background
  • Research Methodology
  • Aims and Objectives 
  • Limitations

Let’s discuss them in detail. 

  • The Introduction or Background 

The introduction or background is the shortest part of your abstract and usually consists of 2–3 sentences. In fact, some researchers write a single sentence as the introduction of their abstract. The whole idea here is to take the reader through the important events leading to your research. 

Understandably, this information may appear difficult to convey in a few sentences. To help out, consider answering these two questions in the background to your study : 

  • What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question? 
  • What is not known about the subject (this is the focus of your study)? 

As much as possible, ensure that your abstract’s introduction doesn’t eat into the word count for the other key information. 

  • Research Methodology 

This is the section where you spell out any theories and methods adopted for your study. Ideally, you should cover what has been done and how you went about it to achieve the results of your systematic investigation. It is usually the second-longest section in the abstract. 

In the research methodology section, you should also state the type of research you embarked on; that is, qualitative research or quantitative research —this will inform your research methods too. If you’ve conducted quantitative research, your abstract should contain information like the sample size, data collection methods , sampling technique, and duration of your experiment. 

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In the end, readers are most interested in the results you’ve achieved with your study. This means you should take time to outline every relevant outcome and show how they affect your research population . Typically, the results section should be the longest one in your abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality. 

An important thing you should do here is spelled out facts and figures about research outcomes. Instead of a vague statement like, “we noticed that response rates differed greatly between high-income and low-income respondents”, try this: “The response rate was higher in high-income respondents than in their low-income counterparts (59% vs 30%, respectively; P

  • Conclusion 

Like the introduction, your conclusion should contain a few sentences that wrap up your abstract. Most researchers express a theoretical opinion about the implications of their study, here. 

Your conclusion should contain three important elements: 

  • The primary take-home message
  • The additional findings of importance
  • The perspective 

Although the conclusion of your abstract should be short, it has a great impact on how readers perceive your study. So, take advantage of this section to reiterate the core message in your systematic investigation. Also, make sure any statements here reflect the true outcomes and methods of your research. 

  • Limitations 

Chances are you must have faced certain challenges in the course of your research—it could be at the data collection phase or during sampling . Whatever these challenges are, it pays to let your readers know about them, and the impact they had on your study. 

For example, if you had to switch to convenience sampling or snowball sampling due to difficulties in contacting well-suited research participants, you should include this in your abstract. Also, a lack of previous studies in the research area could pose a limitation on your study. Research limitations provide an opportunity to make suggestions for further research. 

Research aims and objectives speak to what you want to achieve with your study. Typically, research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes while the objectives focus on the immediate, short-term outcome of the investigation. You may summarize both using a single paragraph comprising a few sentences.

Stating your aims and objectives will give readers a clear idea of the scope, depth, and direction that your research will ultimately take. Readers would measure your research outcomes against stated aims and objectives to know if you achieved the purpose of your study. 

Use For Free: Research Form Templates

Abstract Writing Styles and General Guidelines 

Now that you know the different sections plus information that your abstract should contain, let’s look at how to write an abstract for your research paper.

A common question that comes up is, should I write my abstract first or last? It’s best to write your abstract after you’ve finished working on the research because you have full information to present to your readers. However, you can always create a draft at the beginning of your systematic investigation and fill in the gaps later.  

Does writing an abstract seem like a herculean task? Here are a few tips to help out. 

1. Always create a framework for your abstract 

Before you start writing, take time to develop a detailed outline for your abstract. Break it into sections and sketch the main and supporting points for each section. You can list keywords plus 1–2 sentences that capture your core messaging. 

2. Read Other Abstracts 

Abstracts are one of the most common research documents, and thousands of them have been written in time past. So, before writing yours, try to study a couple of samples from others. You can find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases.

3. Steer Clear of Jargon As Much As Possible 

While writing your abstract, emphasize clarity over style. This means you should communicate in simple terms and avoid unnecessary filler words and ambiguous sentences. Remember, your abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic. 

4. Focus on Your Research

It goes without saying that your abstract should be solely focused on your research and what you’ve discovered. It’s not the time to cite primary and secondary data sources unless this is absolutely necessary. 

This doesn’t mean you should ignore the scholarly background of your work. You might include a sentence or two summarizing the scholarly background to show the relevance of your work to a broader debate, but there’s no need to mention specific publications. 

Going further, here are some abstract writing guidelines from the University of Bergen: 

  • An abstract briefly explains the salient aspects of the content. 
  • Abstracts should be accurate and succinct, self-contained, and readable.  
  • The abstract should paraphrase and summarise rather than quote from the paper.
  • Abstracts should relate only to the paper to be presented/assessed.

Types of Abstracts with Examples 

According to the University of Adelaide, there are two major types of abstracts written for research purposes. First, we have informative abstracts and descriptive abstracts. 

1. Informative Abstract  

An informative abstract is the more common type of abstract written for academic research. It highlights the most important aspects of your systematic investigation without going into unnecessary or irrelevant details that the reader might not find useful. 

The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of longer work, it may be much less.

In any informative abstract, you’d touch on information like the purpose, method, scope, results, and conclusion of your study. By now, you’re thinking, “this is the type of abstract we’ve been discussing all along”, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. 

Advantages of Informative Abstracts

  • These abstracts save time for both the researcher and the readers. 
  • It’s easy to refer to these abstracts as secondary research sources. 

Disadvantages of Informative Abstracts

  • These types of abstracts lack personality.

Example of an Informative Abstract

  • Sample Informative Abstract Based on Experimental Work From Colorado State University
  • Sample Informative Abstract Based on Non-experimental Work From Colorado State University

2. Descriptive Abstract 

A descriptive abstract reads like a synopsis and focuses on enticing the reader with interesting information. They don’t care as much for data and details, and instead read more like overviews that don’t give too much away. 

You’d find descriptive abstracts in artistic criticism pieces and entertainment research as opposed to scientific investigations. This type of abstract makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. They are usually written in 100 words or less. 

Advantages of Descriptive Abstracts

  • It gives a very brief overview of the research paper. 
  • It is easier to write descriptive abstracts compared to informational abstracts. 

Disadvantages of Descriptive Abstracts

  • They are suitable for scientific research. 
  • Descriptive abstracts might omit relevant information that deepens your knowledge of the systematic investigation.

Example of Descriptive Abstracts 

  • Sample Descriptive Abstract From Colorado State University

FAQs About Writing Abstracts in Research Papers

1. How Long Should an Abstract Be?

A typical abstract should be about six sentences long or less than 150 words. Most universities have specific word count requirements that fall within 150–300 words. 

2. How Do You Start an Abstract Sentence?

There are several ways to start your abstract. Consider the following methods: 

  • State a problem or uncertainty
  • Make a general statement with the present research action.
  • State the purpose or objective of your research
  • State a real-world phenomena or a standard practice.

3. Should you cite in an abstract?

While you can refer to information from specific research papers, there’s no need to cite sources in your abstract. Your abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others. 

4. What should not be included in an abstract?

An abstract shouldn’t have numeric references, bibliographies, sections, or even footnotes. 

5. Which tense is used in writing an abstract?

An abstract should be written in the third-person present tense. Use the simple past tense when describing your methodology and specific findings from your study. 

Writing an abstract might appear challenging but with these steps, you should get it right. The easiest approach to writing a good abstract is centering it on key information including your research problem and objectives, methodology, and key results.

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Writing an Abstract for a Research Paper: Guidelines, Examples, and Templates

There are six steps to writing a standard abstract. (1) Begin with a broad statement about your topic. Then, (2) state the problem or knowledge gap related to this topic that your study explores. After that, (3) describe what specific aspect of this problem you investigated, and (4) briefly explain how you went about doing this. After that, (5) describe the most meaningful outcome(s) of your study. Finally, (6) close your abstract by explaining the broad implication(s) of your findings.

In this article, I present step-by-step guidelines for writing an abstract for an academic paper. These guidelines are fo llowed by an example of a full abstract that follows these guidelines and a few fill-in-the-blank templates that you can use to write your own abstract.

Guidelines for Writing an Abstract

The basic structure of an abstract is illustrated below.

the abstract in a research paper

A standard abstract starts with a very general statement and becomes more specific with each sentence that follows until once again making a broad statement about the study’s implications at the end. Altogether, a standard abstract has six functions, which are described in detail below.

Start by making a broad statement about your topic.

The first sentence of your abstract should briefly describe a problem that is of interest to your readers. When writing this first sentence, you should think about who comprises your target audience and use terms that will appeal to this audience. If your opening sentence is too broad, it might lose the attention of potential readers because they will not know if your study is relevant to them.

Too broad : Maintaining an ideal workplace environment has a positive effect on employees.

The sentence above is so broad that it will not grab the reader’s attention. While it gives the reader some idea of the area of study, it doesn’t provide any details about the author’s topic within their research area. This can be fixed by inserting some keywords related to the topic (these are underlined in the revised example below).

Improved : Keeping the workplace environment at an ideal temperature positively affects the overall health of employees.

The revised sentence is much better, as it expresses two points about the research topic—namely, (i) what aspect of workplace environment was studied, (ii) what aspect of employees was observed. The mention of these aspects of the research will draw the attention of readers who are interested in them.

Describe the general problem that your paper addresses.

After describing your topic in the first sentence, you can then explain what aspect of this topic has motivated your research. Often, authors use this part of the abstract to describe the research gap that they identified and aimed to fill. These types of sentences are often characterized by the use of words such as “however,” “although,” “despite,” and so on.

However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking.

The above example is typical of a sentence describing the problem that a study intends to tackle. The author has noticed that there is a gap in the research, and they briefly explain this gap here.

Although it has been established that quantity and quality of sleep can affect different types of task performance and personal health, the interactions between sleep habits and workplace behaviors have received very little attention.

The example above illustrates a case in which the author has accomplished two tasks with one sentence. The first part of the sentence (up until the comma) mentions the general topic that the research fits into, while the second part (after the comma) describes the general problem that the research addresses.

Express the specific problem investigated in your paper.

After describing the general problem that motivated your research, the next sentence should express the specific aspect of the problem that you investigated. Sentences of this type are often indicated by the use of phrases like “the purpose of this research is to,” “this paper is intended to,” or “this work aims to.”

Uninformative : However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking. The present article aimed to provide new insights into the relationship between workplace bullying and absenteeism .

The second sentence in the above example is a mere rewording of the first sentence. As such, it adds nothing to the abstract. The second sentence should be more specific than the preceding one.

Improved : However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking. The present article aimed to define various subtypes of workplace bullying and determine which subtypes tend to lead to absenteeism .

The second sentence of this passage is much more informative than in the previous example. This sentence lets the reader know exactly what they can expect from the full research article.

Explain how you attempted to resolve your study’s specific problem.

In this part of your abstract, you should attempt to describe your study’s methodology in one or two sentences. As such, you must be sure to include only the most important information about your method. At the same time, you must also be careful not to be too vague.

Too vague : We conducted multiple tests to examine changes in various factors related to well-being.

This description of the methodology is too vague. Instead of merely mentioning “tests” and “factors,” the author should note which specific tests were run and which factors were assessed.

Improved : Using data from BHIP completers, we conducted multiple one-way multivariate analyses of variance and follow-up univariate t-tests to examine changes in physical and mental health, stress, energy levels, social satisfaction, self-efficacy, and quality of life.

This sentence is very well-written. It packs a lot of specific information about the method into a single sentence. Also, it does not describe more details than are needed for an abstract.

Briefly tell the reader what you found by carrying out your study.

This is the most important part of the abstract—the other sentences in the abstract are there to explain why this one is relevant. When writing this sentence, imagine that someone has asked you, “What did you find in your research?” and that you need to answer them in one or two sentences.

Too vague : Consistently poor sleepers had more health risks and medical conditions than consistently optimal sleepers.

This sentence is okay, but it would be helpful to let the reader know which health risks and medical conditions were related to poor sleeping habits.

Improved : Consistently poor sleepers were more likely than consistently optimal sleepers to suffer from chronic abdominal pain, and they were at a higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.

This sentence is better, as the specific health conditions are named.

Finally, describe the major implication(s) of your study.

Most abstracts end with a short sentence that explains the main takeaway(s) that you want your audience to gain from reading your paper. Often, this sentence is addressed to people in power (e.g., employers, policymakers), and it recommends a course of action that such people should take based on the results.

Too broad : Employers may wish to make use of strategies that increase employee health.

This sentence is too broad to be useful. It does not give employers a starting point to implement a change.

Improved : Employers may wish to incorporate sleep education initiatives as part of their overall health and wellness strategies.

This sentence is better than the original, as it provides employers with a starting point—specifically, it invites employers to look up information on sleep education programs.

Abstract Example

The abstract produced here is from a paper published in Electronic Commerce Research and Applications . I have made slight alterations to the abstract so that this example fits the guidelines given in this article.

(1) Gamification can strengthen enjoyment and productivity in the workplace. (2) Despite this, research on gamification in the work context is still limited. (3) In this study, we investigated the effect of gamification on the workplace enjoyment and productivity of employees by comparing employees with leadership responsibilities to those without leadership responsibilities. (4) Work-related tasks were gamified using the habit-tracking game Habitica, and data from 114 employees were gathered using an online survey. (5) The results illustrated that employees without leadership responsibilities used work gamification as a trigger for self-motivation, whereas employees with leadership responsibilities used it to improve their health. (6) Work gamification positively affected work enjoyment for both types of employees and positively affected productivity for employees with leadership responsibilities. (7) Our results underline the importance of taking work-related variables into account when researching work gamification.

In Sentence (1), the author makes a broad statement about their topic. Notice how the nouns used (“gamification,” “enjoyment,” “productivity”) are quite general while still indicating the focus of the paper. The author uses Sentence (2) to very briefly state the problem that the research will address.

In Sentence (3), the author explains what specific aspects of the problem mentioned in Sentence (2) will be explored in the present work. Notice that the mention of leadership responsibilities makes Sentence (3) more specific than Sentence (2). Sentence (4) gets even more specific, naming the specific tools used to gather data and the number of participants.

Sentences (5) and (6) are similar, with each sentence describing one of the study’s main findings. Then, suddenly, the scope of the abstract becomes quite broad again in Sentence (7), which mentions “work-related variables” instead of a specific variable and “researching” instead of a specific kind of research.

Abstract Templates

Copy and paste any of the paragraphs below into a word processor. Then insert the appropriate information to produce an abstract for your research paper.

Template #1

Researchers have established that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . However, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The goal of this paper is to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . The achieve this goal, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . We found that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

Template #2

It is well-understood that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . Despite this, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The current research aims to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . To accomplish this, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . It was discovered that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

Template #3

Extensive research indicates that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . Nevertheless, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The present work is intended to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . To this end, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . The results revealed that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

  • How to Write an Abstract

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Role of an Abstract in Research Paper With Examples

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Why does one write an abstract? What is so intriguing about writing an abstract in research paper after writing a full length research paper? How do research paper abstracts or summaries help a researcher during research publishing? These are the most common and frequently pondered upon questions that early career researchers search answers for over the internet!

Table of Contents

What does Abstract mean in Research?

In Research, abstract is “a well-developed single paragraph which is approximately 250 words in length”. Furthermore, it is single-spaced single spaced. Abstract outlines all the parts of the paper briefly. Although the abstract is placed in the beginning of the research paper immediately after research title , the abstract is the last thing a researcher writes.

Why Is an Abstract Necessary in Research Paper?

Abstract is a concise academic text that –

  • Helps the potential reader get the relevance of your research study for their own research
  • Communicates your key findings for those who have time constraints in reading your paper
  • And helps rank the article on search engines based on the keywords on academic databases.

Purpose of Writing an Abstract in Research

Abstracts are required for –

  • Submission of articles to journals
  • Application for research grants
  • Completion and submission of thesis
  • Submission of proposals for conference papers.

Aspects Included in an Abstract

The format of your abstract depends on the field of research, in which you are working. However, all abstracts broadly cover the following sections:

Reason for Writing

One can start with the importance of conducting their research study. Furthermore, you could start with a broader research question and address why would the reader be interested in that particular research question.

Research Problem

You could mention what problem the research study chooses to address. Moreover, you could elaborate about the scope of the project, the main argument, brief about thesis objective or what the study claims.

  • Methodology

Furthermore, you could mention a line or two about what approach and specific models the research study uses in the scientific work. Some research studies may discuss the evidences in throughout the paper, so instead of writing about methodologies you could mention the types of evidence used in the research.

The scientific research aims to get the specific data that indicates the results of the project. Therefore, you could mention the results and discuss the findings in a broader and general way.

Finally, you could discuss how the research work contributes to the scientific society and adds knowledge on the topic. Also, you could specify if your findings or inferences could help future research and researchers.

Types of Abstracts

Based on the abstract content —, 1. descriptive.

This abstract in research paper is usually short (50-100 words). These abstracts have common sections, such as –

  • Focus of research
  • Overview of the study.

This type of research does not include detailed presentation of results and only mention results through a phrase without contributing numerical or statistical data . Descriptive abstracts guide readers on the nature of contents of the article.

2. Informative

This abstract gives the essence of what the report is about and it is usually about 200 words. These abstracts have common sections, such as –

  • Aim or purpose

This abstract provides an accurate data on the contents of the work, especially on the results section.

Based on the writing format —

1. structured.

This type of abstract has a paragraph for each section: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Also, structured abstracts are often required for informative abstracts.

2. Semi-structured

A semi-structured abstract is written in only one paragraph, wherein each sentence corresponds to a section. Furthermore, all the sections mentioned in the structured abstract are present in the semi-structured abstract.

3. Non-structured

In a non-structured abstract there are no divisions between each section. The sentences are included in a single paragraph. This type of presentation is ideal for descriptive abstracts.

Examples of Abstracts

Abstract example 1: clinical research.

Neutralization of Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 SARS-CoV-2 by 3 doses of BNT162b2 vaccine

Abstract: The newly emerged Omicron SARS-CoV-2 has several distinct sublineages including BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. BA.1 accounts for the initial surge and is being replaced by BA.2, whereas BA.3 is at a low prevalence at this time. Here we report the neutralization of BNT162b2-vaccinated sera (collected 1 month after dose 3) against the three Omicron sublineages. To facilitate the neutralization testing, we have engineered the complete BA.1, BA.2, or BA.3 spike into an mNeonGreen USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2. All BNT162b2-vaccinated sera neutralize USA-WA1/2020, BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s with titers of >20; the neutralization geometric mean titers (GMTs) against the four viruses are 1211, 336, 300, and 190, respectively. Thus, the BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s are 3.6-, 4.0-, and 6.4-fold less efficiently neutralized than the USA-WA1/2020, respectively. Our data have implications in vaccine strategy and understanding the biology of Omicron sublineages.

Type of Abstract: Informative and non-structured

Abstract Example 2: Material Science and Chemistry

Breaking the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via rotatable surface ligands

Abstract: Achieving versatile dispersion of nanoparticles in a broad range of solvents (e.g., water, oil, and biofluids) without repeatedly recourse to chemical modifications are desirable in optoelectronic devices, self-assembly, sensing, and biomedical fields. However, such a target is limited by the strategies used to decorate nanoparticle’s surface properties, leading to a narrow range of solvents for existing nanoparticles. Here we report a concept to break the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via electrochemically anchoring surface ligands capable of sensing the surrounding liquid medium and rotating to adapt to it, immediately forming stable dispersions in a wide range of solvents (polar and nonpolar, biofluids, etc.). Moreover, the smart nanoparticles can be continuously electrodeposited in the electrolyte, overcoming the electrode surface-confined low throughput limitation of conventional electrodeposition methods. The anomalous dispersive property of the smart Ag nanoparticles enables them to resist bacteria secreted species-induced aggregation and the structural similarity of the surface ligands to that of the bacterial membrane assists them to enter the bacteria, leading to high antibacterial activity. The simple but massive fabrication process and the enhanced dispersion properties offer great application opportunities to the smart nanoparticles in diverse fields.

Type of Abstract: Descriptive and non-structured

Abstract Example 3: Clinical Toxicology

Evaluation of dexmedetomidine therapy for sedation in patients with toxicological events at an academic medical center

Introduction: Although clinical use of dexmedetomidine (DEX), an alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist, has increased, its role in patients admitted to intensive care units secondary to toxicological sequelae has not been well established.

Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to describe clinical and adverse effects observed in poisoned patients receiving DEX for sedation.

Methods: This was an observational case series with retrospective chart review of poisoned patients who received DEX for sedation at an academic medical center. The primary endpoint was incidence of adverse effects of DEX therapy including bradycardia, hypotension, seizures, and arrhythmias. For comparison, vital signs were collected hourly for the 5 h preceding the DEX therapy and every hour during DEX therapy until the therapy ended. Additional endpoints included therapy duration; time within target Richmond Agitation Sedation Score (RASS); and concomitant sedation, analgesia, and vasopressor requirements.

Results: Twenty-two patients were included. Median initial and median DEX infusion rates were similar to the commonly used rates for sedation. Median heart rate was lower during the therapy (82 vs. 93 beats/minute, p < 0.05). Median systolic blood pressure before and during therapy was similar (111 vs. 109 mmHg, p = 0.745). Five patients experienced an adverse effect per study definitions during therapy. No additional adverse effects were noted. Median time within target RASS and duration of therapy was 6.5 and 44.5 h, respectively. Seventeen patients (77%) had concomitant use of other sedation and/or analgesia with four (23%) of these patients requiring additional agents after DEX initiation. Seven patients (32%) had concomitant vasopressor support with four (57%) of these patients requiring vasopressor support after DEX initiation.

Conclusion: Common adverse effects of DEX were noted in this study. The requirement for vasopressor support during therapy warrants further investigation into the safety of DEX in poisoned patients. Larger, comparative studies need to be performed before the use of DEX can be routinely recommended in poisoned patients.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist; Overdose; Safety.

Type of Abstract: Informative and structured .

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How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the UK during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

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You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyse,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

Next, summarise the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalisability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarise the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 8 April 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/abstract/

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  • v.13(Suppl 1); 2019 Apr

Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key

Milind s. tullu.

Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

This article deals with formulating a suitable title and an appropriate abstract for an original research paper. The “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” of a research article, and hence they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, and meticulously. Often both of these are drafted after the full manuscript is ready. Most readers read only the title and the abstract of a research paper and very few will go on to read the full paper. The title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper and should be pleasant to read. The “title” should be descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise, unique, and should not be misleading. The “abstract” needs to be simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a revision is made to the paper and should include the key message prominently. It is very important to include the most important words and terms (the “keywords”) in the title and the abstract for appropriate indexing purpose and for retrieval from the search engines and scientific databases. Such keywords should be listed after the abstract. One must adhere to the instructions laid down by the target journal with regard to the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.

Introduction

This article deals with drafting a suitable “title” and an appropriate “abstract” for an original research paper. Because the “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” or the “face” of a research article, they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, meticulously, and consume time and energy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ] Often, these are drafted after the complete manuscript draft is ready.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] Most readers will read only the title and the abstract of a published research paper, and very few “interested ones” (especially, if the paper is of use to them) will go on to read the full paper.[ 1 , 2 ] One must remember to adhere to the instructions laid down by the “target journal” (the journal for which the author is writing) regarding the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.[ 2 , 4 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 12 ] Both the title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper – for editors (to decide whether to process the paper for further review), for reviewers (to get an initial impression of the paper), and for the readers (as these may be the only parts of the paper available freely and hence, read widely).[ 4 , 8 , 12 ] It may be worth for the novice author to browse through titles and abstracts of several prominent journals (and their target journal as well) to learn more about the wording and styles of the titles and abstracts, as well as the aims and scope of the particular journal.[ 5 , 7 , 9 , 13 ]

The details of the title are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.

Importance of the title

When a reader browses through the table of contents of a journal issue (hard copy or on website), the title is the “ first detail” or “face” of the paper that is read.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 13 ] Hence, it needs to be simple, direct, accurate, appropriate, specific, functional, interesting, attractive/appealing, concise/brief, precise/focused, unambiguous, memorable, captivating, informative (enough to encourage the reader to read further), unique, catchy, and it should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] It should have “just enough details” to arouse the interest and curiosity of the reader so that the reader then goes ahead with studying the abstract and then (if still interested) the full paper.[ 1 , 2 , 4 , 13 ] Journal websites, electronic databases, and search engines use the words in the title and abstract (the “keywords”) to retrieve a particular paper during a search; hence, the importance of these words in accessing the paper by the readers has been emphasized.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 , 14 ] Such important words (or keywords) should be arranged in appropriate order of importance as per the context of the paper and should be placed at the beginning of the title (rather than the later part of the title, as some search engines like Google may just display only the first six to seven words of the title).[ 3 , 5 , 12 ] Whimsical, amusing, or clever titles, though initially appealing, may be missed or misread by the busy reader and very short titles may miss the essential scientific words (the “keywords”) used by the indexing agencies to catch and categorize the paper.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 9 ] Also, amusing or hilarious titles may be taken less seriously by the readers and may be cited less often.[ 4 , 15 ] An excessively long or complicated title may put off the readers.[ 3 , 9 ] It may be a good idea to draft the title after the main body of the text and the abstract are drafted.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ]

Types of titles

Titles can be descriptive, declarative, or interrogative. They can also be classified as nominal, compound, or full-sentence titles.

Descriptive or neutral title

This has the essential elements of the research theme, that is, the patients/subjects, design, interventions, comparisons/control, and outcome, but does not reveal the main result or the conclusion.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ] Such a title allows the reader to interpret the findings of the research paper in an impartial manner and with an open mind.[ 3 ] These titles also give complete information about the contents of the article, have several keywords (thus increasing the visibility of the article in search engines), and have increased chances of being read and (then) being cited as well.[ 4 ] Hence, such descriptive titles giving a glimpse of the paper are generally preferred.[ 4 , 16 ]

Declarative title

This title states the main finding of the study in the title itself; it reduces the curiosity of the reader, may point toward a bias on the part of the author, and hence is best avoided.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ]

Interrogative title

This is the one which has a query or the research question in the title.[ 3 , 4 , 16 ] Though a query in the title has the ability to sensationalize the topic, and has more downloads (but less citations), it can be distracting to the reader and is again best avoided for a research article (but can, at times, be used for a review article).[ 3 , 6 , 16 , 17 ]

From a sentence construct point of view, titles may be nominal (capturing only the main theme of the study), compound (with subtitles to provide additional relevant information such as context, design, location/country, temporal aspect, sample size, importance, and a provocative or a literary; for example, see the title of this review), or full-sentence titles (which are longer and indicate an added degree of certainty of the results).[ 4 , 6 , 9 , 16 ] Any of these constructs may be used depending on the type of article, the key message, and the author's preference or judgement.[ 4 ]

Drafting a suitable title

A stepwise process can be followed to draft the appropriate title. The author should describe the paper in about three sentences, avoiding the results and ensuring that these sentences contain important scientific words/keywords that describe the main contents and subject of the paper.[ 1 , 4 , 6 , 12 ] Then the author should join the sentences to form a single sentence, shorten the length (by removing redundant words or adjectives or phrases), and finally edit the title (thus drafted) to make it more accurate, concise (about 10–15 words), and precise.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 ] Some journals require that the study design be included in the title, and this may be placed (using a colon) after the primary title.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 14 ] The title should try to incorporate the Patients, Interventions, Comparisons and Outcome (PICO).[ 3 ] The place of the study may be included in the title (if absolutely necessary), that is, if the patient characteristics (such as study population, socioeconomic conditions, or cultural practices) are expected to vary as per the country (or the place of the study) and have a bearing on the possible outcomes.[ 3 , 6 ] Lengthy titles can be boring and appear unfocused, whereas very short titles may not be representative of the contents of the article; hence, optimum length is required to ensure that the title explains the main theme and content of the manuscript.[ 4 , 5 , 9 ] Abbreviations (except the standard or commonly interpreted ones such as HIV, AIDS, DNA, RNA, CDC, FDA, ECG, and EEG) or acronyms should be avoided in the title, as a reader not familiar with them may skip such an article and nonstandard abbreviations may create problems in indexing the article.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] Also, too much of technical jargon or chemical formulas in the title may confuse the readers and the article may be skipped by them.[ 4 , 9 ] Numerical values of various parameters (stating study period or sample size) should also be avoided in the titles (unless deemed extremely essential).[ 4 ] It may be worthwhile to take an opinion from a impartial colleague before finalizing the title.[ 4 , 5 , 6 ] Thus, multiple factors (which are, at times, a bit conflicting or contrasting) need to be considered while formulating a title, and hence this should not be done in a hurry.[ 4 , 6 ] Many journals ask the authors to draft a “short title” or “running head” or “running title” for printing in the header or footer of the printed paper.[ 3 , 12 ] This is an abridged version of the main title of up to 40–50 characters, may have standard abbreviations, and helps the reader to navigate through the paper.[ 3 , 12 , 14 ]

Checklist for a good title

Table 1 gives a checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 ] Table 2 presents some of the titles used by the author of this article in his earlier research papers, and the appropriateness of the titles has been commented upon. As an individual exercise, the reader may try to improvise upon the titles (further) after reading the corresponding abstract and full paper.

Checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper

Some titles used by author of this article in his earlier publications and remark/comment on their appropriateness

The Abstract

The details of the abstract are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.

Importance of the abstract

The abstract is a summary or synopsis of the full research paper and also needs to have similar characteristics like the title. It needs to be simple, direct, specific, functional, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, self-sufficient, complete, comprehensive, scholarly, balanced, and should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 ] Writing an abstract is to extract and summarize (AB – absolutely, STR – straightforward, ACT – actual data presentation and interpretation).[ 17 ] The title and abstracts are the only sections of the research paper that are often freely available to the readers on the journal websites, search engines, and in many abstracting agencies/databases, whereas the full paper may attract a payment per view or a fee for downloading the pdf copy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 14 ] The abstract is an independent and stand-alone (that is, well understood without reading the full paper) section of the manuscript and is used by the editor to decide the fate of the article and to choose appropriate reviewers.[ 2 , 7 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] Even the reviewers are initially supplied only with the title and the abstract before they agree to review the full manuscript.[ 7 , 13 ] This is the second most commonly read part of the manuscript, and therefore it should reflect the contents of the main text of the paper accurately and thus act as a “real trailer” of the full article.[ 2 , 7 , 11 ] The readers will go through the full paper only if they find the abstract interesting and relevant to their practice; else they may skip the paper if the abstract is unimpressive.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] The abstract needs to highlight the selling point of the manuscript and succeed in luring the reader to read the complete paper.[ 3 , 7 ] The title and the abstract should be constructed using keywords (key terms/important words) from all the sections of the main text.[ 12 ] Abstracts are also used for submitting research papers to a conference for consideration for presentation (as oral paper or poster).[ 9 , 13 , 17 ] Grammatical and typographic errors reflect poorly on the quality of the abstract, may indicate carelessness/casual attitude on part of the author, and hence should be avoided at all times.[ 9 ]

Types of abstracts

The abstracts can be structured or unstructured. They can also be classified as descriptive or informative abstracts.

Structured and unstructured abstracts

Structured abstracts are followed by most journals, are more informative, and include specific subheadings/subsections under which the abstract needs to be composed.[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] These subheadings usually include context/background, objectives, design, setting, participants, interventions, main outcome measures, results, and conclusions.[ 1 ] Some journals stick to the standard IMRAD format for the structure of the abstracts, and the subheadings would include Introduction/Background, Methods, Results, And (instead of Discussion) the Conclusion/s.[ 1 , 2 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] Structured abstracts are more elaborate, informative, easy to read, recall, and peer-review, and hence are preferred; however, they consume more space and can have same limitations as an unstructured abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 18 ] The structured abstracts are (possibly) better understood by the reviewers and readers. Anyway, the choice of the type of the abstract and the subheadings of a structured abstract depend on the particular journal style and is not left to the author's wish.[ 7 , 10 , 12 ] Separate subheadings may be necessary for reporting meta-analysis, educational research, quality improvement work, review, or case study.[ 1 ] Clinical trial abstracts need to include the essential items mentioned in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials) guidelines.[ 7 , 9 , 14 , 19 ] Similar guidelines exist for various other types of studies, including observational studies and for studies of diagnostic accuracy.[ 20 , 21 ] A useful resource for the above guidelines is available at www.equator-network.org (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research). Unstructured (or non-structured) abstracts are free-flowing, do not have predefined subheadings, and are commonly used for papers that (usually) do not describe original research.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 10 ]

The four-point structured abstract: This has the following elements which need to be properly balanced with regard to the content/matter under each subheading:[ 9 ]

Background and/or Objectives: This states why the work was undertaken and is usually written in just a couple of sentences.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] The hypothesis/study question and the major objectives are also stated under this subheading.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ]

Methods: This subsection is the longest, states what was done, and gives essential details of the study design, setting, participants, blinding, sample size, sampling method, intervention/s, duration and follow-up, research instruments, main outcome measures, parameters evaluated, and how the outcomes were assessed or analyzed.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

Results/Observations/Findings: This subheading states what was found, is longer, is difficult to draft, and needs to mention important details including the number of study participants, results of analysis (of primary and secondary objectives), and include actual data (numbers, mean, median, standard deviation, “P” values, 95% confidence intervals, effect sizes, relative risks, odds ratio, etc.).[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

Conclusions: The take-home message (the “so what” of the paper) and other significant/important findings should be stated here, considering the interpretation of the research question/hypothesis and results put together (without overinterpreting the findings) and may also include the author's views on the implications of the study.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

The eight-point structured abstract: This has the following eight subheadings – Objectives, Study Design, Study Setting, Participants/Patients, Methods/Intervention, Outcome Measures, Results, and Conclusions.[ 3 , 9 , 18 ] The instructions to authors given by the particular journal state whether they use the four- or eight-point abstract or variants thereof.[ 3 , 14 ]

Descriptive and Informative abstracts

Descriptive abstracts are short (75–150 words), only portray what the paper contains without providing any more details; the reader has to read the full paper to know about its contents and are rarely used for original research papers.[ 7 , 10 ] These are used for case reports, reviews, opinions, and so on.[ 7 , 10 ] Informative abstracts (which may be structured or unstructured as described above) give a complete detailed summary of the article contents and truly reflect the actual research done.[ 7 , 10 ]

Drafting a suitable abstract

It is important to religiously stick to the instructions to authors (format, word limit, font size/style, and subheadings) provided by the journal for which the abstract and the paper are being written.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] Most journals allow 200–300 words for formulating the abstract and it is wise to restrict oneself to this word limit.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 22 ] Though some authors prefer to draft the abstract initially, followed by the main text of the paper, it is recommended to draft the abstract in the end to maintain accuracy and conformity with the main text of the paper (thus maintaining an easy linkage/alignment with title, on one hand, and the introduction section of the main text, on the other hand).[ 2 , 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] The authors should check the subheadings (of the structured abstract) permitted by the target journal, use phrases rather than sentences to draft the content of the abstract, and avoid passive voice.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 12 ] Next, the authors need to get rid of redundant words and edit the abstract (extensively) to the correct word count permitted (every word in the abstract “counts”!).[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] It is important to ensure that the key message, focus, and novelty of the paper are not compromised; the rationale of the study and the basis of the conclusions are clear; and that the abstract is consistent with the main text of the paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 9 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ] This is especially important while submitting a revision of the paper (modified after addressing the reviewer's comments), as the changes made in the main (revised) text of the paper need to be reflected in the (revised) abstract as well.[ 2 , 10 , 12 , 14 , 22 ] Abbreviations should be avoided in an abstract, unless they are conventionally accepted or standard; references, tables, or figures should not be cited in the abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 ] It may be worthwhile not to rush with the abstract and to get an opinion by an impartial colleague on the content of the abstract; and if possible, the full paper (an “informal” peer-review).[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 11 , 17 ] Appropriate “Keywords” (three to ten words or phrases) should follow the abstract and should be preferably chosen from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of the U.S. National Library of Medicine ( https://meshb.nlm.nih.gov/search ) and are used for indexing purposes.[ 2 , 3 , 11 , 12 ] These keywords need to be different from the words in the main title (the title words are automatically used for indexing the article) and can be variants of the terms/phrases used in the title, or words from the abstract and the main text.[ 3 , 12 ] The ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors; http://www.icmje.org/ ) also recommends publishing the clinical trial registration number at the end of the abstract.[ 7 , 14 ]

Checklist for a good abstract

Table 3 gives a checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ]

Checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper

Concluding Remarks

This review article has given a detailed account of the importance and types of titles and abstracts. It has also attempted to give useful hints for drafting an appropriate title and a complete abstract for a research paper. It is hoped that this review will help the authors in their career in medical writing.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Acknowledgement

The author thanks Dr. Hemant Deshmukh - Dean, Seth G.S. Medical College & KEM Hospital, for granting permission to publish this manuscript.

Book cover

How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries? pp 179–184 Cite as

How to Write an Abstract?

  • Samiran Nundy 4 ,
  • Atul Kakar 5 &
  • Zulfiqar A. Bhutta 6  
  • Open Access
  • First Online: 24 October 2021

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An abstract is a crisp, short, powerful, and self-contained summary of a research manuscript used to help the reader swiftly determine the paper’s purpose. Although the abstract is the first paragraph of the manuscript it should be written last when all the other sections have been addressed.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. — Zora Neale Hurston, American Author, Anthropologist and Filmmaker (1891–1960)

You have full access to this open access chapter,  Download chapter PDF

1 What is an Abstract?

An abstract is usually a standalone document that informs the reader about the details of the manuscript to follow. It is like a trailer to a movie, if the trailer is good, it stimulates the audience to watch the movie. The abstract should be written from scratch and not ‘cut –and-pasted’ [ 1 ].

2 What is the History of the Abstract?

An abstract, in the form of a single paragraph, was first published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1960 with the idea that the readers may not have enough time to go through the whole paper, and the first abstract with a defined structure was published in 1991 [ 2 ]. The idea sold and now most original articles and reviews are required to have a structured abstract. The abstract attracts the reader to read the full manuscript [ 3 ].

3 What are the Qualities of a Good Abstract?

The quality of information in an abstract can be summarized by four ‘C’s. It should be:

C: Condensed

C: Critical

4 What are the Types of Abstract?

Before writing the abstract, you need to check with the journal website about which type of abstract it requires, with its length and style in the ‘Instructions to Authors’ section.

The abstract types can be divided into:

Descriptive: Usually written for psychology, social science, and humanities papers. It is about 50–100 words long. No conclusions can be drawn from this abstract as it describes the major points in the paper.

Informative: The majority of abstracts for science-related manuscripts are informative and are surrogates for the research done. They are single paragraphs that provide the reader an overview of the research paper and are about 100–150 words in length. Conclusions can be drawn from the abstracts and in the recommendations written in the last line.

Critical: This type of abstract is lengthy and about 400–500 words. In this, the authors’ own research is discussed for reliability, judgement, and validation. A comparison is also made with similar studies done earlier.

Highlighting: This is rarely used in scientific writing. The style of the abstract is to attract more readers. It is not a balanced or complete overview of the article with which it is published.

Structured: A structured abstract contains information under subheadings like background, aims, material and methods, results, conclusion, and recommendations (Fig. 15.1 ). Most leading journals now carry these.

figure 1

Example of a structured abstract (with permission editor CMRP)

5 What is the Purpose of an Abstract?

An abstract is written to educate the reader about the study that follows and provide an overview of the science behind it. If written well it also attracts more readers to the article. It also helps the article getting indexed. The fate of a paper both before and after publication often depends upon its abstract. Most readers decide if a paper is worth reading on the basis of the abstract. Additionally, the selection of papers in systematic reviews is often dependent upon the abstract.

6 What are the Steps of Writing an Abstract?

An abstract should be written last after all the other sections of an article have been addressed. A poor abstract may turn off the reader and they may cause indexing errors as well. The abstract should state the purpose of the study, the methodology used, and summarize the results and important conclusions. It is usually written in the IMRAD format and is called a structured abstract [ 4 , 5 ].

I: The introduction in the opening line should state the problem you are addressing.

M: Methodology—what method was chosen to finish the experiment?

R: Results—state the important findings of your study.

D: Discussion—discuss why your study is important.

Mention the following information:

Important results with the statistical information ( p values, confidence intervals, standard/mean deviation).

Arrange all information in a chronological order.

Do not repeat any information.

The last line should state the recommendations from your study.

The abstract should be written in the past tense.

7 What are the Things to Be Avoided While Writing an Abstract?

Cut and paste information from the main text

Hold back important information

Use abbreviations

Tables or Figures

Generalized statements

Arguments about the study

figure a

8 What are Key Words?

These are important words that are repeated throughout the manuscript and which help in the indexing of a paper. Depending upon the journal 3–10 key words may be required which are indexed with the help of MESH (Medical Subject Heading).

9 How is an Abstract Written for a Conference Different from a Journal Paper?

The basic concept for writing abstracts is the same. However, in a conference abstract occasionally a table or figure is allowed. A word limit is important in both of them. Many of the abstracts which are presented in conferences are never published in fact one study found that only 27% of the abstracts presented in conferences were published in the next five years [ 6 ].

Table 15.1 gives a template for writing an abstract.

10 What are the Important Recommendations of the International Committees of Medical Journal of Editors?

The recommendations are [ 7 ]:

An abstract is required for original articles, metanalysis, and systematic reviews.

A structured abstract is preferred.

The abstract should mention the purpose of the scientific study, how the procedure was carried out, the analysis used, and principal conclusion.

Clinical trials should be reported according to the CONSORT guidelines.

The trials should also mention the funding and the trial number.

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Nundy, S., Kakar, A., Bhutta, Z.A. (2022). How to Write an Abstract?. In: How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries?. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5248-6_15

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Screenshots of the smartphone cognitive tasks developed by Datacubed Health and included in the ALLFTD Mobile App. Details about the task design and instructions are included in the eMethods in Supplement 1. A, Flanker (Ducks in a Pond) is a task of cognitive control requiring participants to select the direction of the center duck. B, Go/no-go (Go Sushi Go!) requires participants to quickly tap on pieces of sushi (go) but not to tap when they see a fish skeleton (no-go). C, Card sort (Card Shuffle) is a task of cognitive flexibility requiring participants to learn rules that change during the task. D, The adaptative, associative memory task (Humi’s Bistro) requires participants to learn the food orders of several restaurant tables. E, Stroop (Color Clash) is a cognitive inhibition paradigm requiring participants to inhibit their tendency to read words and instead respond based on the color of the word. F, The 2-back task (Animal Parade) requires participants to determine whether animals on a parade float match the animals they saw 2 stimuli previously. G, Participants are asked to complete 3 testing sessions over 2 weeks. Shown in dark blue, they have 3 days to complete each testing session with a washout day between sessions on which no tests are available. Session 2 always begins on day 5 and session 3 on day 9. Screenshots are provided with permission from Datacubed Health.

Forest plots present internal consistency and test-retest reliability results in the discovery and validation cohorts, as well as an estimate in a combined sample of discovery and validation participants. ICC indicates interclass correlation coefficient.

A and B, Correlation matrices display associations of in-clinic criterion standard measures and ALLFTD mobile App (mApp) test scores in discovery and validation cohorts. Below the horizontal dashed lines, the associations among app tests and between app tests and demographic characteristics convergent clinical measures, divergent cognitive tests, and neuroimaging regions of interest can be viewed. Most app tests show strong correlations with each other and with age, convergent clinical measures, and brain volume. The measures show weaker correlations with divergent measures of visuospatial (Benson Figure Copy) and language (Multilingual Naming Test [MINT]) abilities. The strength of convergent correlations between app measures and outcomes is similar to the correlations between criterion standard neuropsychological scores and these outcomes, which can be viewed by looking across the rows above the horizontal black line. C and D, In the discovery and validation cohorts, receiver operating characteristics curves were calculated to determine how well a composite of app tests, the Uniform Data Set, version 3.0, Executive Functioning Composite (UDS3-EF), and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) discriminate individuals without symptoms (Clinical Dementia Rating Scale plus National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center FTLD module sum of boxes [CDR plus NACC-FTLD-SB] score = 0) from individuals with the mildest symptoms of FTLD (CDR plus NACC-FTLD-SB score = 0.5). AUC indicates area under the curve; CVLT, California Verbal Learning Test.

eMethods. Instruments and Statistical Analysis

eResults. Participants

eTable 1. Participant Characteristics and Test Scores in Original and Validation Cohorts

eTable 2. Comparison of Diagnostic Accuracy for ALLFTD Mobile App Composite Score Across Cohorts

eTable 3. Number of Distractions Reported During the Remote Smartphone Testing Sessions

eTable 4. Qualitative Description of the Distractions Reported During Remote Testing Sessions

eFigure 1. Scatterplots of Test-Retest Reliability in a Mixed Sample of Adults Without Functional Impairment and Participants With FTLD

eFigure 2. Comparison of Test-Retest Reliability Estimates by Endorsement of Distractions

eFigure 3. Comparison of Test-Retest Reliability Estimates by Operating System

eFigure 4. Correlation Matrix in the Combined Cohort

eFigure 5. Neural Correlates of Smartphone Cognitive Test Performance

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Staffaroni AM , Clark AL , Taylor JC, et al. Reliability and Validity of Smartphone Cognitive Testing for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(4):e244266. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.4266

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Reliability and Validity of Smartphone Cognitive Testing for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

  • 1 Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2 Department of Neurology, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • 3 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • 4 Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • 5 Department of Neurology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 6 Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla
  • 7 Department of Radiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • 8 Department of Neurology, Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • 9 Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 10 Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 11 Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • 12 Department of Neurology, Institute for Precision Health, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 13 Department of Neurology, Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • 14 Department of Psychiatry, Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • 15 Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
  • 16 Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 17 Division of Neurology, University of British Columbia, Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Traditional Territory, Vancouver, Canada
  • 18 Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla
  • 19 Department of Neurology, Nantz National Alzheimer Center, Houston Methodist and Weill Cornell Medicine, Houston Methodist, Houston, Texas
  • 20 Department of Neurology, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • 21 Department of Neurology, University of Colorado, Aurora
  • 22 Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
  • 23 Department of Neurology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • 24 Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Division of Neurology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 25 Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 26 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 27 Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri

Question   Can remote cognitive testing via smartphones yield reliable and valid data for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)?

Findings   In this cohort study of 360 patients, remotely deployed smartphone cognitive tests showed moderate to excellent reliability comparedwith criterion standard measures (in-person disease severity assessments and neuropsychological tests) and brain volumes. Smartphone tests accurately detected dementia and were more sensitive to the earliest stages of familial FTLD than standard neuropsychological tests.

Meaning   These findings suggest that remotely deployed smartphone-based assessments may be reliable and valid tools for evaluating FTLD and may enhance early detection, supporting the inclusion of digital assessments in clinical trials for neurodegeneration.

Importance   Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is relatively rare, behavioral and motor symptoms increase travel burden, and standard neuropsychological tests are not sensitive to early-stage disease. Remote smartphone-based cognitive assessments could mitigate these barriers to trial recruitment and success, but no such tools are validated for FTLD.

Objective   To evaluate the reliability and validity of smartphone-based cognitive measures for remote FTLD evaluations.

Design, Setting, and Participants   In this cohort study conducted from January 10, 2019, to July 31, 2023, controls and participants with FTLD performed smartphone application (app)–based executive functioning tasks and an associative memory task 3 times over 2 weeks. Observational research participants were enrolled through 18 centers of a North American FTLD research consortium (ALLFTD) and were asked to complete the tests remotely using their own smartphones. Of 1163 eligible individuals (enrolled in parent studies), 360 were enrolled in the present study; 364 refused and 439 were excluded. Participants were divided into discovery (n = 258) and validation (n = 102) cohorts. Among 329 participants with data available on disease stage, 195 were asymptomatic or had preclinical FTLD (59.3%), 66 had prodromal FTLD (20.1%), and 68 had symptomatic FTLD (20.7%) with a range of clinical syndromes.

Exposure   Participants completed standard in-clinic measures and remotely administered ALLFTD mobile app (app) smartphone tests.

Main Outcomes and Measures   Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, association of smartphone tests with criterion standard clinical measures, and diagnostic accuracy.

Results   In the 360 participants (mean [SD] age, 54.0 [15.4] years; 209 [58.1%] women), smartphone tests showed moderate-to-excellent reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients, 0.77-0.95). Validity was supported by association of smartphones tests with disease severity ( r range, 0.38-0.59), criterion-standard neuropsychological tests ( r range, 0.40-0.66), and brain volume (standardized β range, 0.34-0.50). Smartphone tests accurately differentiated individuals with dementia from controls (area under the curve [AUC], 0.93 [95% CI, 0.90-0.96]) and were more sensitive to early symptoms (AUC, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.76-0.88]) than the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (AUC, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.59-0.78]) ( z of comparison, −2.49 [95% CI, −0.19 to −0.02]; P  = .01). Reliability and validity findings were highly similar in the discovery and validation cohorts. Preclinical participants who carried pathogenic variants performed significantly worse than noncarrier family controls on 3 app tasks (eg, 2-back β = −0.49 [95% CI, −0.72 to −0.25]; P  < .001) but not a composite of traditional neuropsychological measures (β = −0.14 [95% CI, −0.42 to 0.14]; P  = .32).

Conclusions and Relevance   The findings of this cohort study suggest that smartphones could offer a feasible, reliable, valid, and scalable solution for remote evaluations of FTLD and may improve early detection. Smartphone assessments should be considered as a complementary approach to traditional in-person trial designs. Future research should validate these results in diverse populations and evaluate the utility of these tests for longitudinal monitoring.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a neurodegenerative pathology causing early-onset dementia syndromes with impaired behavior, cognition, language, and/or motor functioning. 1 Although over 30 FTLD trials are planned or in progress, there are several barriers to conducting FTLD trials. Clinical trials for neurodegenerative disease are expensive, 2 and frequent in-person trial visits are burdensome for patients, caregivers, and clinicians, 3 a concern magnified in FTLD by behavioral and motor impairments. Given the rarity and geographical dispersion of eligible participants, FTLD trials require global recruitment, 4 particularly for those that are far from expert FTLD clinical trial centers. Furthermore, criterion standard neuropsychological tests are not adequately sensitive until symptoms are already noticeable to families, limiting their usefulness as outcomes in early-stage FTLD treatment trials. 4

Reliable, valid, and scalable remote data collection methods may help surmount these barriers to FTLD clinical trials. Smartphones are garnering interest across neurological conditions as a method for administering remote cognitive and motor evaluations. Preliminary evidence supports the feasibility, reliability, and/or validity of unsupervised smartphone cognitive and motor testing in older adults at risk for Alzheimer disease, 5 - 8 Parkinson disease, 9 and Huntington disease. 10 The clinical heterogeneity of FTLD necessitates a uniquely comprehensive smartphone battery. In the ALLFTD Consortium (Advancing Research and Treatment in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration [ARTFLD] and Longitudinal Evaluation of Familial Frontotemporal Dementia Subjects [LEFFTDS]), the ALLFTD mobile Application (ALLFTD-mApp) was designed to remotely monitor cognitive, behavioral, language, and motor functioning in FTLD research. Taylor et al 11 recently reported that unsupervised ALLFTD-mApp data collection through a multicenter North American FTLD research network was feasible and acceptable to participants. Herein, we extend that work by investigating the reliability and validity of unsupervised remote smartphone tests of executive functioning and memory in a cohort with FTLD that has undergone extensive phenotyping.

Participants were enrolled from ongoing FTLD studies requiring in-person assessment, including participants from 18 centers from the ALLFTD study study 12 and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) FTLD studies. To study the app in older individuals, a small group of older adults without functional impairment was recruited from the UCSF Brain Aging Network for Cognitive Health. All study procedures were approved by the UCSF or Johns Hopkins Central Institutional Review Board. All participants or legally authorized representatives provided written informed consent. The study followed the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology ( STROBE ) reporting guideline.

Inclusion criteria were age 18 years or older, having access to a smartphone, and reporting English as the primary language. Race and ethnicity were self reported by participants using options consistent with the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) Uniform Data Set (UDS) and were collected to contextualize the generalizability of these results. Participants were asked to complete tests on their own smartphones. Informants were encouraged for all participants and required for those with symptomatic FTLD (Clinical Dementia Rating Scale plus NACC FTLD module [CDR plus NACC-FTLD] global score ≥1). Recruitment targeted individuals with CDR plus NACC-FTLD global scores less than 2, but sites had discretion to enroll more severely impaired participants. Exclusion criteria were consistent with the parent ALLFTD study. 12

Participants were enrolled in the ALLFTD-mApp study within 90 days of annual ALLFTD study visits (including neuropsychological and neuroimaging data collection). Site research coordinators (including J.C.T., A.B.W., S.D., and M.M.) assisted participants with app download, setup, and orientation and observed participants completing the first questionnaire. All cognitive tasks were self-administered without supervision (except pilot participants, discussed below) in a predefined order with minor adjustments throughout the study. Study partners of participants with symptomatic FTLD were asked to remain nearby during participation to help navigate the ALLFTD-mApp but were asked not to assist with testing.

The baseline participation window was divided into three 25- to 35-minute assessment sessions occurring over 11 days. All cognitive tests were repeated in every session to enhance task reliability 6 , 13 and enable assessment of test-retest reliability, except for card sort, which was administered once every 6 months due to expected practice effects. Adherence was defined as the percentage of all available tasks that were completed. Participants were asked to complete the triplicate of sessions every 6 months for the duration of the app study. Only the baseline triplicate was analyzed in this study.

Replicability was tested by dividing the sample into a discovery cohort (n = 258) comprising all participants enrolled until the initial data freeze (October 1, 2022) and a validation cohort (n = 102) comprising participants enrolled after October 1, 2022, and 18 pilot participants 11 who completed the first session in person with an examiner present during cognitive pretesting. Sensitivity analyses excluded this small pilot cohort.

ALLFTD investigators partnered with Datacubed Health 14 to develop the ALLFTD-mApp on Datacubed Health’s Linkt platform. The app includes cognitive, motor, and speech tasks. This study focuses on 6 cognitive tests developed by Datacubed Health 11 comprising an adaptive associative memory task (Humi’s Bistro) and gamified versions of classic executive functioning paradigms: flanker (Ducks in a Pond), Stroop (Color Clash), 2-back (Animal Parade), go/no-go (Go Sushi Go!), and card sort (Card Shuffle) ( Figure 1 and eMethods in Supplement 1 ). Most participants with symptomatic FTLD (49 [72.1%]) were not administered Stroop or 2-back, as pilot studies identified these as too difficult. 11 The app test results were summarized as a composite score (eMethods in Supplement 1 ). Participants completed surveys to assess technological familiarity (daily or less than daily use of a smartphone) and distractions (present or absent).

Criterion standard clinical data were collected during parent project visits. Syndromic diagnoses were made according to published criteria 15 - 19 based on multidisciplinary conferences that considered neurological history, neurological examination results, and collateral interview. 20

The CDR plus NACC-FTLD module is an 8-domain rating scale based on informant and participant report. 21 A global score was calculated to categorize disease severity as asymptomatic or preclinical if a pathogenic variant carrier (0), prodromal (0.5), or symptomatic (1.0-3.0). 22 A sum of the 8 domain box scores (CDR plus NACC-FTLD sum of boxes) was also calculated. 22

Participants completed the UDS Neuropsychological Battery, version 3.0 23 (eMethods in Supplement 1 ), which includes traditional neuropsychological measures and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), a global cognitive screen. Executive functioning and processing speed measures were summarized into a composite score (UDS3-EF). 24 Participants also completed a 9-item list-learning memory test (California Verbal Learning Test, 2nd edition, Short Form). 25 Most (339 [94.2%]) neuropsychological evaluations were conducted in person. In a subsample (n = 270), motor speed and dexterity were assessed using the Movement Disorder Society Uniform Parkinson Disease Rating Scale 26 Finger Tapping subscale (0 indicates no deficits [n = 240]).

We acquired T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging for 199 participants. Details of image acquisition, harmonization, preprocessing, and processing are provided in eMethods in Supplement 1 and prior publications. 27 Briefly, SPM12 (Statistical Parametric Mapping) was used for segmentation 28 and Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping for generating group templates. 29 Gray matter volumes were calculated in template space by integrating voxels and dividing by total intracranial volume in 2 regions of interest (ROIs) 30 : a frontoparietal and subcortical ROI and a hippocampal ROI. Voxel-based morphometry was used to test unbiased voxel-wise associations of volume with smartphone tests (eMethods in Supplement 1 ). 31 , 32

Participants in the ALLFTD study underwent genetic testing 33 at the University of California, Los Angeles. DNA samples were screened using targeted sequencing of a custom panel of genes previously implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, including GRN ( 138945 ) and MAPT ( 157140 ). Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in C9orf72 ( 614260 ) were detected using both fluorescent and repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction analysis. 34

Statistical analyses were conducted using Stata, version 17.0 (StataCorp LLC), and R, version 4.4.2 (R Project for Statistical Computing). All tests were 2 sided, with a statistical significance threshold of P < .05.

Psychometric properties of the smartphone tests were explored using descriptive statistics. Comparisons between CDR plus NACC-FTLD groups (ie, asymptomatic or preclinical, prodromal, and symptomatic) for continuous variables, including demographic characteristics and cognitive task scores (first exposure to each measure), were analyzed by fitting linear regressions. We used χ 2 difference tests for frequency data (eg, sex and race and ethnicity).

Internal consistency, which measures reliability within a task, was estimated for participants’ first exposure to each test using Cronbach α (details in eMethods in Supplement 1 ). Test-retest reliability was estimated using intraclass correlation coefficients for participants who completed a task at least twice; all exposures were included. Reliability estimates are described as poor (<0.500), moderate (0.500-0.749), good (0.750-0.890), and excellent (≥0.900) 35 ; these are reporting rules of thumb, and clinical interpretation should consider raw estimates. We calculated 95% CIs via bootstrapping with 1000 samples.

Validity analyses used participants’ first exposure to each test. Linear regressions were fitted in participants without symptoms with age, sex, and educational level as independent variables to understand the unique contribution of each demographic factor to cognitive test scores. Correlations and linear regression between the app-based tasks and disease severity (CDR plus NACC-FTLD sum of boxes score), neuropsychological test scores, and gray matter ROIs were used to investigate construct validity in the full sample. Demographic characteristics were not entered as covariates because the primary goal was to assess associations between app-based measures and criterion standards, rather than understand the incremental predictive value of app measures. To address potential motor confounds, associations with disease severity were evaluated in a subsample without finger dexterity deficits on motor examination (using the Movement Disorder Society Uniform Parkinson Disease Rating Scale Finger Tapping subscale). To complement ROI-based neuroimaging analysis based on a priori hypotheses, we conducted voxel-based morphometry (eMethods in Supplement 1 ) to uncover other potential neural correlates of test performance. 31 , 32 Finally, we evaluated the association of the number of distractions and operating system with reliability and validity, controlling for age and disease severity, which are predictive factors associated with test performance in correlation analyses.

To evaluate the app’s ability to select participants with prodromal or symptomatic FTLD for trial enrollment, we tested discrimination of participants without symptoms from those with prodromal and symptomatic FTLD. To understand the app’s utility for screening early cognitive impairment, we fit receiver operating characteristics curves testing the predictive value of the app composite, UDS3-EF, and MoCA for differentiating participants without symptoms and those with preclinical FTLD from those with prodromal FTLD; areas under the curves (AUC) for the app and MoCA were compared using the DeLong test in participants with results for both predictive factors.

We compared app performance in preclinical participants who carried pathogenic variants with that in noncarrier controls using linear regression adjusted for age (a predictive factor in earlier models). For this analysis, we excluded those younger than 45 years to remove participants likely to be years from symptom onset based on natural history studies. 4 We analyzed memory performance in participants who carried MAPT pathogenic variants, as early executive deficits may be less prominent. 34 , 36

Of 1163 eligible participants, 360 were enrolled, 439 were excluded, and 364 refused to participate (additional details are provided in the eResults in Supplement 1 ). Participant characteristics are reported in Table 1 for the full sample. The discovery and validation cohorts did not significantly differ in terms of demographic characteristics, disease severity, or cognition (eTable 1 in Supplement 1 ). In the full sample, there were 209 women (58.1%) and 151 men (41.9%), and the mean (SD) age was 54.0 (15.4) years (range, 18-89 years). The mean (SD) educational level was 16.5 (2.3) years (range, 12-20 years). Among the 358 participants with racial and ethnic data available, 340 (95.0%) identified as White. For the 18 participants self-identifying as being of other race or ethnicity, the specific group was not provided to protect participant anonymity. Among the 329 participants with available CDR plus NACC-FTLD scores ( Table 1 ), 195 (59.3%) were asymptomatic or preclinical (Global Score, 0), 66 (20.1%) were prodromal (Global score, 0.5), and 68 (20.7%) were symptomatic (global score, 1.0 or 2.0). Of those with available genetic testing results (n = 222), 100 (45.0%) carried a pathogenic familial FTLD pathogenic variant, including 63 of 120 participants without symptoms and with available results. On average, participants completed 78% of available smartphone measures over a mean (SD) of 2.6 (0.6) sessions.

Descriptive statistics for each task are presented in Table 2 . Ceiling effects were not observed for any tests. A small percentage of participants were at the floor for flanker (19 [5.3%]), go/no-go (13 [4.0%]), and card sort (9 [3.3%]) scores. Floor effects were only observed in participants with prodromal or symptomatic FTLD.

Except for go/no-go, internal consistency estimates ranged from good to excellent (Cronbach α range, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.81-0.87] to 0.99 [95% CI, 0.99-0.99]), and test-retest reliabilities were moderate to excellent (interclass correlation coefficient [ICC] range, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.69-0.83] to 0.95 [95% CI, 0.93-0.96]), with slightly higher estimates in participants with prodromal or symptomatic FTLD ( Table 2 , Figure 2 , and eFigure 1 in Supplement 1 ). Go/no-go reliability was particularly poor in participants without symptoms (ICC, 0.10 [95% CI, −0.37 to 0.48]) and was removed from subsequent validation analyses except the correlation matrix ( Figure 3 A and B). The 95% CIs for reliability estimates overlapped in the discovery and validation cohorts ( Figure 2 ). Reliability estimates showed overlapping 95% CIs regardless of distractions (eFigure 2 in Supplement 1 ) or operating systems (eFigure 3 in Supplement 1 ), with a pattern of slightly lower reliability estimates when distractions were endorsed for all comparisons except Stroop (Cronbach α).

In 57 participants without symptoms who did not carry pathogenic variants, older age was associated with worse performance on all measures (β range,  − 0.40 [95 CI, −0.68 to −0.13] to −0.78 [95 CI, −0.89 to −0.52]; P ≤ .03), except card sort (β = −0.22 [95% CI, −0.54 to 0.09]; P  = .16) and go-no/go (β = −0.15 [95% CI, −0.44 to 0.14]; P  = .31), though associations were in the expected direction. Associations with sex and educational level were not statistically significant.

Cognitive tests administered using the app showed evidence of convergent and divergent validity (eFigure 4 in Supplement 1 ), with very similar findings in discovery ( Figure 3 A) and validation cohorts ( Figure 3 B). App–based measures of executive functioning were generally correlated with criterion standard in-person measures of these domains and less with measures of other cognitive domains ( r range, 0.40-0.66). For example, the flanker task was associated with the UDS3-EF composite (β = 0.58 [95% CI, 0.48-0.68]; P  < .001) and measures of visuoconstruction (β for Benson Figure Copy, 0.43 [95% CI, 0.32-0.54]; P  = .01) and naming (β for Multilingual Naming Test, 0.25 [95% CI, 0.14-0.37]; P  < .001). The app memory test was associated with criterion standard memory and executive functioning tests.

Worse performance on all app measures was associated with greater disease severity on CDR plus NACC-FTLD ( r range, 0.38-0.59) ( Table 1 , Figure 3 , and eFigure 4 in Supplement 1 ). The same pattern of results was observed after excluding those with finger dexterity issues. Except for go/no-go, performance of participants with prodromal FTLD was statistically significantly worse than that of participants without symptoms on all measures ( P  < .001).

The AUC for the app composite to distinguish participants without symptoms from those with dementia was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.90-0.96). The app also accurately differentiated participants without symptoms from those with prodromal or symptomatic FTLD (AUC, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.84-0.92]). Compared with the MoCA (AUC, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.59-0.78), app composite performance (AUC, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.76-0.88]) more accurately differentiated participants without symptoms and with prodromal FTLD ( z of comparison, −2.49 [95% CI, −0.19 to −0.02]; P  = .01), with similar accuracy to the UDS3-EF (AUC, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.73-0.88]); highly similar results (eTable 2 in Supplement 1 ) were observed in the discovery ( Figure 3 C) and validation ( Figure 3 D) cohorts.

In 56 participants without symptoms who were older than 45 years, those carrying GRN , C9orf72 , or another rare pathogenic variants performed significantly worse on 3 of 4 executive tests compared with noncarrier controls, including flanker (β = −0.26 [95% CI, −0.46 to −0.05]; P  = .02), card sort (β = −0.28 [95% CI, −0.54 to −0.30]; P  = .03), and 2-back (β = −0.49 [95% CI, −0.72 to −0.25]; P  < .001). The estimated scores of participants who carried pathogenic variants were on average lower than those of carriers on a composite of criterion standard in-person tests, but the difference was not statistically significant (UDS3-EF β = −0.14 [95% CI, −0.42 to 0.14]; P  = .32). Participants who carried preclinical MAPT pathogenic variants scored higher than noncarriers on the app Memory test, though the difference was not statistically significant (β = 0.21 [95% CI, −0.50 to 0.58]; P  = .19).

In prespecified ROI analyses, worse app executive functioning scores were associated with lower frontoparietal and/or subcortical volume ( Figures 3 A and B) (β range, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.22-0.46] to 0.50 [95 CI, 0.40-0.60]; P < .001 for all) and worse memory scores with smaller hippocampal volume (β = 0.45 [95% CI, 0.34-0.56]; P  < .001). Voxel-based morphometry (eFigure 5 in Supplement 1 ) suggested worse app performance was associated with widespread atrophy, particularly in frontotemporal cortices.

Only for card sort were distractions (eTables 3 and 4 in Supplement 1 ) associated with task performance; those experiencing distractions unexpectedly performed better (β = 0.16 [95% CI, 0.05-0.28]; P  = .005). The iPhone operating system was associated with better performance on 2 speeded tasks: flanker (β = 0.16 [95% CI, 0.07-0.24]; P  < .001) and go/no-go (β = 0.16 [95% CI, 0.06-0.26]; P  = .002). In a sensitivity analysis, associations of all app tests with disease severity, UDS3-EF, and regional brain volumes remained after covarying for distractions and operating system, as did the models differentiating participants who carried preclinical pathogenic variants and noncarrier controls.

There is an urgent need to identify reliable and valid digital tools for remote neurobehavioral measurement in neurodegenerative diseases, including FTLD. Prior studies provided preliminary evidence that smartphones collect reliable and valid cognitive data in a variety of age-related and neurodegenerative illnesses. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to provide analogous support for the reliability and validity of remote cognitive testing via smartphones in FTLD and preliminary evidence that this approach improves early detection relative to traditional in-person measures.

Reliability, a prerequisite for a valid clinical trial end point, indicates measurements are consistent. In 2 cohorts, we found smartphone cognitive tests were reliable within a single administration (ie, internally consistent) and across repeated assessments (ie, test-retest reliability) with no apparent differences by operating system. For all measures except go/no-go, reliability estimates were moderate to excellent and on par with other remote digital assessments 5 , 6 , 10 , 37 , 38 and in-clinic criterion standards. 39 - 41 Go/no-go showed similar within- and between-person variability in participants without symptoms (ie, poor reliability), and participant feedback suggested instructions were confusing and the stimuli disappeared too quickly. Those endorsing distractions tended to have lower reliability, though 95% CIs largely overlapped; future research detailing the effect of the home environment on test performance is warranted.

Construct validity was supported by strong associations of smartphone tests with demographics, disease severity, neuroimaging, and criterion standard neuropsychological measures that replicated in a validation sample. These associations were similar to those observed among the criterion standard measures and similar to associations reported in other validation studies of smartphone cognitive tests. 5 , 6 , 10 Associations with disease severity were not explained by motor impairments. The iPhone operating system was associated with better performance on 2 time-based measures, consistent with prior findings. 6

A composite of brief smartphone tests was accurate in distinguishing dementia from cognitively unimpaired participants, screening out participants without symptoms, and detecting prodromal FTLD with greater sensitivity than the MoCA. Moreover, carriers of preclinical C9orf72 and GRN pathogenic variants performed significantly worse than noncarrier controls on 3 tests, whereas they did not significantly differ on criterion standard measures. These findings are consistent with previous studies showing digital executive functioning paradigms may be more sensitive to early FTLD than traditional measures. 42 , 43

This study has some limitations. Validation analyses focused on participants’ initial task exposure. Future studies will explore whether repeated measurements and more sophisticated approaches to composite building (current composite assumes equal weighting of tests) improve reliability and sensitivity, and a normative sample is being collected to better adjust for demographic effects on testing. 24 Longitudinal analyses will explore whether the floor effects in participants with symptomatic FTLD will affect the utility for monitoring. The generalizability of the findings is limited by the study cohort, which comprised participants who were college educated on average, mostly White, and primarily English speakers who owned smartphones and participated in the referring in-person research study. Equity in access to research is a priority in FTLD research 44 , 45 ; translations of the ALLFTD-mApp are in progress, cultural adaptations are being considered, and devices have been purchased for provisioning to improve the diversity of our sample.

The findings of this cohort study, coupled with prior reports indicating that smartphone testing is feasible and acceptable to patients with FTLD, 11 suggest that smartphones may complement traditional in-person research paradigms. More broadly, the scalability, ease of use, reliability, and validity of the ALLFTD-mApp suggest the feasibility and utility of remote digital assessments in dementia clinical trials. Future research should validate these results in diverse populations and evaluate the utility of these tests for longitudinal monitoring.

Accepted for Publication: February 2, 2024.

Published: April 1, 2024. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.4266

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License . © 2024 Staffaroni AM et al. JAMA Network Open .

Corresponding Author: Adam M. Staffaroni, PhD, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Ln, Ste 190, San Francisco, CA 94158 ( [email protected] ).

Author Contributions: Dr Staffaroni had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Staffaroni, A. Clark, Taylor, Heuer, Wise, Forsberg, Miller, Hassenstab, Rosen, Boxer.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Staffaroni, A. Clark, Taylor, Heuer, Sanderson-Cimino, Wise, Dhanam, Cobigo, Wolf, Manoochehri, Mester, Rankin, Appleby, Bayram, Bozoki, D. Clark, Darby, Domoto-Reilly, Fields, Galasko, Geschwind, Ghoshal, Graff-Radford, Hsiung, Huey, Jones, Lapid, Litvan, Masdeu, Massimo, Mendez, Miyagawa, Pascual, Pressman, Ramanan, Ramos, Rascovsky, Roberson, Tartaglia, Wong, Kornak, Kremers, Kramer, Boeve, Boxer.

Drafting of the manuscript: Staffaroni, A. Clark, Taylor, Heuer, Wolf, Lapid.

Critical review of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Staffaroni, Taylor, Heuer, Sanderson-Cimino, Wise, Dhanam, Cobigo, Manoochehri, Forsberg, Mester, Rankin, Appleby, Bayram, Bozoki, D. Clark, Darby, Domoto-Reilly, Fields, Galasko, Geschwind, Ghoshal, Graff-Radford, Hsiung, Huey, Jones, Lapid, Litvan, Masdeu, Massimo, Mendez, Miyagawa, Pascual, Pressman, Ramanan, Ramos, Rascovsky, Roberson, Tartaglia, Wong, Miller, Kornak, Kremers, Hassenstab, Kramer, Boeve, Rosen, Boxer.

Statistical analysis: Staffaroni, A. Clark, Taylor, Heuer, Sanderson-Cimino, Cobigo, Kornak, Kremers.

Obtained funding: Staffaroni, Rosen, Boxer.

Administrative, technical, or material support: A. Clark, Taylor, Heuer, Wise, Dhanam, Wolf, Manoochehri, Forsberg, Darby, Domoto-Reilly, Ghoshal, Hsiung, Huey, Jones, Litvan, Massimo, Mendez, Miyagawa, Pascual, Pressman, Ramanan, Kramer, Boeve, Boxer.

Supervision: Geschwind, Miyagawa, Roberson, Kramer, Boxer.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Staffaroni reported being a coinventor of 4 ALLFTD mobile application tasks (not analyzed in the present study) and receiving licensing fees from Datacubed Health; receiving research support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bluefield Project to Cure FTD, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation; and consulting for Alector Inc, Eli Lilly and Company/Prevail Therapeutics, Passage Bio Inc, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. Dr Forsberg reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Rankin reported receiving research support from the NIH and the National Science Foundation and serving on the medical advisory board for Eli Lilly and Company. Dr Appleby reported receiving research support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NIH, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc, Alector Inc, and the CJD Foundation and consulting for Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc, and Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. Dr Bayram reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Domoto-Reilly reported receiving research support from NIH and serving as an investigator for a clinical trial sponsored by Lawson Health Research Institute. Dr Bozoki reported receiving research funding from the NIH, Alector Inc, Cognition Therapeutics Inc, EIP Pharma, and Transposon Therapeutics Inc; consulting for Eisai and Creative Bio-Peptides Inc; and serving on the data safety monitoring board for AviadoBio. Dr Fields reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Galasko reported receiving research funding from the NIH; clinical trial funding from Alector Inc and Esai; consulting for Esai, General Electric Health Care, and Fujirebio; and serving on the data safety monitoring board of Cyclo Therapeutics Inc. Dr Geschwind reported consulting for Biogen Inc and receiving research support from Roche and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company for work in dementia. Dr Ghoshal reported participating in clinical trials of antidementia drugs sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company/Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Janssen Immunotherapy, Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, SNIFF (The Study of Nasal Insulin to Fight Forgetfulness) study, and A4 (The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease) trial; receiving research support from Tau Consortium and the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia; and receiving funding from the NIH. Dr Graff-Radford reported receiving royalties from UpToDate; reported participating in multicenter therapy studies by sponsored by Biogen Inc, TauRx Therapeutics Ltd, AbbVie Inc, Novartis AG, and Eli Lilly and Company; and receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Grossman reported receiving grant support from the NIH, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, and Piramal Pharma Ltd; participating in clinical trials sponsored by Biogen Inc, TauRx Therapeutics Ltd, and Alector Inc; consulting for Bracco and UCB; and serving on the editorial board of Neurology . Dr Hsiung reported receiving grant support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NIH, and the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia; participating in clinical trials sponsored by Anavax Life Sciences Corp, Biogen Inc, Cassava Sciences, Eli Lilly and Company, and Roche; and consulting for Biogen Inc, Novo Nordisk A/S, and Roche. Dr Huey reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Jones reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Litvan reported receiving research support from the NIH, the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Parkinson Foundation, the Lewy Body Association, CurePSP, Roche, AbbVie Inc, H Lundbeck A/S, Novartis AG, Transposon Therapeutics Inc, and UCB; serving as a member of the scientific advisory board for the Rossy PSP Program at the University of Toronto and for Amydis; and serving as chief editor of Frontiers in Neurology . Dr Masdeu reported consulting for and receiving research funding from Eli Lilly and Company; receiving personal fees from GE Healthcare; receiving grant funding and personal fees from Eli Lilly and Company; and receiving grant funding from Acadia Pharmaceutical Inc, Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc, Biogen Inc, Eisai, Janssen Global Services LLC, the NIH, and Novartis AG outside the submitted work. Dr Mendez reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Miyagawa reported receiving research support from the Zander Family Foundation. Dr Pascual reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Pressman reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Ramos reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Roberson reported receiving research support from the NIA of the NIH, the Bluefield Project, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation; serving on a data monitoring committee for Eli Lilly and Company; receiving licensing fees from Genentech Inc; and consulting for Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. Dr Tartaglia reported serving as an investigator for clinical trials sponsored by Biogen Inc, Avanex Corp, Green Valley, Roche/Genentech Inc, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company/Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, and Janssen Global Services LLC and receiving research support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Dr Wong reported receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Kornak reported providing expert witness testimony for Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, Apotex Inc, and Puma Biotechnology and receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Kremers reported receiving research funding from NIH. Dr Kramer reported receiving research support from the NIH and royalties from Pearson Inc. Dr Boeve reported serving as an investigator for clinical trials sponsored by Alector Inc, Biogen Inc, and Transposon Therapeutics Inc; receiving royalties from Cambridge Medicine; serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tau Consortium; and receiving research support from NIH, the Mayo Clinic Dorothy and Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Lewy Body Dementia Program, and the Little Family Foundation. Dr Rosen reported receiving research support from Biogen Inc, consulting for Wave Neuroscience and Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and receiving research support from the NIH. Dr Boxer reported being a coinventor of 4 of the ALLFTD mobile application tasks (not the focus of the present study) and previously receiving licensing fees; receiving research support from the NIH, the Tau Research Consortium, the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia, Corticobasal Degeneration Solutions, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association; consulting for Aeovian Pharmaceuticals Inc, Applied Genetic Technologies Corp, Alector Inc, Arkuda Therapeutics, Arvinas Inc, AviadoBio, Boehringer Ingelheim, Denali Therapeutics Inc, GSK, Life Edit Therapeutics Inc, Humana Inc, Oligomerix, Oscotec Inc, Roche, Transposon Therapeutics Inc, TrueBinding Inc, and Wave Life Sciences; and receiving research support from Biogen Inc, Eisai, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. No other disclosures were reported.

Funding/Support: This work was supported by grants AG063911, AG077557, AG62677, AG045390, NS092089, AG032306, AG016976, AG058233, AG038791, AG02350, AG019724, AG062422, NS050915, AG032289-11, AG077557, K23AG061253, and K24AG045333 from the NIH; the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration; the Bluefield Project to Cure FTD; the Rainwater Charitable Foundation; and grant 2014-A-004-NET from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation. Samples from the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, which receives government support under cooperative agreement grant U24 AG21886 from the NIA, were used in this study.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Group Information: A complete list of the members of the ALLFTD Consortium appears in Supplement 2 .

Data Sharing Statement: See Supplement 3 .

Additional Contributions: We thank the participants and study partners for dedicating their time and effort, and for providing invaluable feedback as we learn how to incorporate digital technologies into FTLD research.

Additional Information: Dr Grossman passed away on April 4, 2023. We want to acknowledge his many contributions to this study, including data acquisition, and design and conduct of the study. He was an ALLFTD site principal investigator and contributed during the development of the ALLFTD mobile app.

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PhD Trainee

4 Results of the Phase III Randomized Iskia Trial: Isatuximab-Carfilzomib-Lenalidomide-Dexamethasone Vs Carfilzomib-Lenalidomide-Dexamethasone As Pre-Transplant Induction and Post-Transplant Consolidation in Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma Patients

Francesca Gay, MD, PhD 1,2 , Wilfried Roeloffzen, MD, PhD 3 * , Meletios A. Dimopoulos, MD, PhD 4 , Laura Rosiñol, MD, PhD 5 * , Marjolein van der Klift, MD, PhD 6 * , Roberto Mina, MD 1,2 * , Albert Oriol Rocafiguera, MD 7 * , Eirini Katodritou, MD 8 * , Ka Lung Wu, MD, PhD 9 , Paula Rodriguez Otero, MD, PhD 10 * , Roman Hajek, MD 11,12 , Elisabetta Antonioli, MD 13 * , Mark van Duin, PhD 14 * , Mattia D'Agostino, MD 1,2 * , Joaquin Martinez-Lopez, MD, PhD 15 * , Elena M. van Leeuwen-Segarceanu, MD, PhD 16 * , Paola Tacchetti, MD, PhD 17 * , Niels W.C.J. van de Donk, MD, PhD 18 , Katja Weisel, MD 19 , Luděk Pour, MD 20 * , Jakub Radocha, MD, PhD 21 , Angelo Belotti, MD 22 * , Fredrik Schjesvold, MD, PhD 23,24 , Joan Bladé, MD, PhD 25 * , Hermann Einsele, MD, PhD 26 * , Pieter Sonneveld, MD, PhD 14 , Mario Boccadoro, MD 27 and Annemiek Broijl, MD, PhD 28

1 Division of Hematology, Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy 2 Division of Hematology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Torino, Torino, Italy 3 University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 4 Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Clinical Therapeutics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece 5 Amyloidosis and Myeloma Unit, Department of Hematology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain 6 Department of Internal Medicine, Amphia Hospital, Breda, Netherlands 7 Institut Català d'Oncologia and Institut Josep Carreras, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Barcelona, Spain 8 Department of Hematology, Theagenion Cancer Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece 9 ZNA Stuivenberg, Antwerp, Belgium 10 Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain 11 Department of Haematooncology, University Hospital Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic 12 Faculty of Medicine, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic 13 Hematology Unit, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy 14 Department of Hematology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands 15 Hematology Department, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Medicine Department Complutense University, CNIO, Madrid, Spain 16 Department of Hematology, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, Netherlands 17 IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Bologna, Italy 18 Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Hematology, Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands 19 Department of Oncology, Hematology and BMT, University Medical Center of Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany 20 Department of Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic 21 4th Department of Internal Medicine-Hematology, University Hospital Hradec Kralove, Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic 22 Department of Hematology, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy 23 Oslo Myeloma Center, Department of Hematology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway 24 KG Jebsen Center for B cell malignancies, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway 25 Hematology Department, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain 26 Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany 27 European Myeloma Network, EMN, Italy 28 Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Methods . TE NDMM pts aged <70 years were enrolled and randomized. IsaKRd pts received 4 28-day cycles of Isa: 10 mg/kg IV days 1, 8, 15, 22 cycle 1, followed by 10 mg/kg days 1, 15 cycles 2–4; K: 20 mg/m 2 IV day 1 cycle 1, followed by 56 mg/m 2 IV days 8, 15 cycle 1 and days 1, 8, 15 cycles 2–4; R: 25 mg PO daily days 1–21; d: 40 mg PO days 1, 8, 15, 22; MEL200-ASCT and 4 consolidation cycles with IsaKRd at the same schedule. KRd pts received 4 KRd induction cycles; MEL200-ASCT and 4 KRd consolidation cycles (K, R and d at the same schedule as in the IsaKRd arm). The primary endpoint was the rate of minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity by next-generation sequencing (NGS; 10 -5 ) after consolidation in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. MRD was tested in all pts who achieved at least a very good partial response (≥VGPR). Key secondary endpoints were the rate of NGS MRD negativity (10 -5 ) after induction and PFS. MRD rates were evaluated in an ITT analysis (pts with missing MRD data or who achieved ≤PR were considered as MRD positive). The data cut-off for the analysis was May 22, 2023.

Results . 302 pts were enrolled and randomized (151 in both the IsaKRd and KRd arms). Pt characteristics were well balanced between the two arms: median age was 61 vs 60 years, respectively; 18% vs 19% of pts had high-risk (HiR) cytogenetic abnormalities (CA) [del(17p) and/or t(4;14) and/or t(14;16)]; 9% vs 8% had ≥2 HiR CA [double hit; including del(17p), t(4;14), t(14;16) and gain/amp(1q)]. In ITT analysis, the rates of MRD negativity at the 10 -5 cut-off after consolidation (primary endpoint) were 77% vs 67% (OR 1.67; p=0.049) with IsaKRd vs KRd; the respective rates of MRD negativity at the 10 -6 cut-off were 67% vs 48% (OR 2.29; p<0.001); consistent MRD results were detected by next-generation flow. ≥VGPR after consolidation was 94% in both arms; ≥CR 74% vs 72% and sCR 64% vs 67% in the IsaKRd vs KRd arms. The MRD negativity advantage, both at 10 -5 and 10 -6 , was retained in all subgroups analyzed ( Figure ), with similar benefit in pts with standard-risk (SR) and HiR features. In particular, the 10 -5 MRD negativity rates with IsaKRd were 76% in HiR and 77% in double-hit pts, comparable to the one in SR pts (79%). In the KRd arm, the 10 -5 MRD negativity rates were 58% in HiR and 53% in double-hit pts, inferior to the one in SR pts (70%). The 10 -6 MRD negativity rates with IsaKRd were 72% in HiR, 77% in double-hit pts and 67% in SR pts. The MRD negativity rate after induction (first key secondary endpoint) was also significantly higher with IsaKRd vs KRd (10 -5 : 45% vs 26%, OR 2.34, p<0.001; 10 -6 : 27% vs 14%, OR 2.36, p=0.004), with a consistent benefit in all subgroups. After induction, the MRD negativity rates in HiR and double-hit pts treated with IsaKRd were: 10 -5 , HiR 60%, double-hit 54%; 10 -6 , HiR 40%, double-hit 31%. The MRD negativity rates after ASCT were also significantly better with IsaKRd vs KRd (10 -5 : 64% vs 49%, OR 1.93, p=0.006; 10 -6 : 52% vs 27%, OR 3.01, p<0.001), with a consistent advantage in all subgroups. At the current follow-up (median, 20 months, IQR 18–23), there was no difference in PFS (95% at 1 year in both arms). 55% of pts had ≥1 hematologic adverse events (AEs) with IsaKRd vs 43% with KRd; main grade 3–4 hematologic AEs in IsaKRd vs KRd were neutropenia (37% vs 22%) and thrombocytopenia (15% vs 17%). 41% of pts had ≥1 non-hematologic AEs with IsaKRd vs 37% with KRd, including infections (16% vs 12%), gastrointestinal (7% vs 5%), vascular (2% vs 7%) and cardiac events (1% vs 4%). Discontinuation for toxicity was 6% in IsaKRd vs 5% in KRd arms; treatment-related deaths were 4 with IsaKRd (2 COVID, 1 pneumonia, 1 pulmonary embolism) and 1 with KRd (septic shock).

the abstract in a research paper

Disclosures: Gay: AbbVie: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Bristol Myers Squibb/Celgene: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Sanofi: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Roche: Other: Advisory board ; GlaxoSmithKline: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Pfizer: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Oncopeptides: Other: Advisory board ; Takeda: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Janssen: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board ; Amgen: Honoraria , Other: Advisory board . Roeloffzen: AbbVie: Consultancy , Other: Travel grants, honoraria or advisory board (not personal) , Speakers Bureau ; Sanofi: Other: Travel grants, honoraria or advisory board (not personal) ; Amgen: Other: Travel grants, honoraria or advisory board (not personal) ; Genzyme: Consultancy , Other: Travel , Speakers Bureau ; Bristol Myers Squibb: Other: Travel grants, honoraria or advisory board (not personal) ; Janssen: Consultancy , Other: Travel grants, honoraria or advisory board (not personal) , Speakers Bureau . Dimopoulos: AbbVie: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Amgen: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Bristol Myers Squibb: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; BeiGene Inc: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; GlaxoSmithKline: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Janssen: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Menarini: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Regeneron: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Sanofi: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Takeda: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees . Rosiñol: Sanofi: Other: Honoraria for lectures ; Bristol Myers Squibb/Celgene: Other: Honoraria for lectures ; Janssen: Other: Honoraria for lectures ; Amgen: Other: Honoraria for lectures ; Takeda: Other: Honoraria for lectures ; GlaxoSmithKline: Other: Honoraria for lectures . Mina: Janssen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Pfizer: Honoraria ; Celgene: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Bristol Myers Squibb: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Amgen: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Takeda: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Sanofi: Consultancy . Rocafiguera: Oncopeptides: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; GSK: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Sanofi: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Pfizer: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; BMS: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Menarini: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Janssen: Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees . Katodritou: Janssen Cilag, Amgen, Abbvie, Pfizer, GSK, Takeda, Sanofi, Karyopharm: Honoraria , Research Funding . 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Hajek: Novartis: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; Takeda: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Other: Support for attending meetings and/or travel , Research Funding ; Bristol Myers Squibb: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; Sanofi: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; Oncopeptides: Consultancy , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; GlaxoSmithKline: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; AbbVie: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; PharmaMar: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Research Funding ; Celgene: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Other: Support for attending meetings and/or travel , Research Funding ; Amgen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Other: Support for attending meetings and/or travel , Research Funding ; Janssen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees , Other: Support for attending meetings and/or travel , Research Funding . 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Weisel: Amgen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; Adaptive Biotech: Consultancy , Honoraria ; Pfizer: Consultancy , Honoraria ; AbbVie: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; Janssen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; GlaxoSmithKline: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; AstraZeneca: Honoraria ; Bristol Myers Squibb/Celgene: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; Takeda: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant ; Sanofi: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Research grant to institution ; Stemline: Honoraria ; Oncopeptides: Consultancy , Honoraria ; Novartis: Honoraria ; Roche Pharma: Consultancy , Honoraria ; Karyopharm: Consultancy , Honoraria ; Menarini: Consultancy , Honoraria ; BeiGene: Consultancy , Honoraria . Radocha: Sanofi: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Travel expenses ; Janssen: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Travel expenses ; Amgen: Consultancy , Honoraria ; GlaxoSmithKline: Consultancy , Honoraria ; Bristol Myers Squibb: Consultancy , Honoraria , Other: Travel expenses . Belotti: Amgen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Pfizer: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; GlaxoSmithKline: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees ; Takeda: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees . 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Aggregate Implications of Changing Industrial Trends in Japan

April 8, 2024 Toyoichiro Shirota *1 Satoshi Tsuchida *2

  • Full Text [PDF 2,653KB]

This study examines the extent to which the long-term declining trend in Japan's GDP growth rate is attributable to factors common to all the industries or those specific to individual industries. By applying Japan's 1958-2019 data to a multi-industry network model, we obtained the following results. First, common factors explain approximately 60% of the variation in Japan's long-term GDP growth rate. This result contrasts to that in the US: common factors explain only about 30% of the secular trend in US GDP growth. Second, however, the impact of industry-specific factors is non-negligible. In particular, machinery-industry-specific factors explain much of the low growth in the past 20 years. Finally, the spillover effects from individual industries to the aggregate GDP depend on the role of each industry in the production network, and in Japan, the influence of investment-related industries such as the machinery industries and construction is substantial.

The authors thank Kosuke Aoki, Ichiro Fukunaga, Yoshihiko Hogen, Ryo Jinnai, Takashi Nagahata, Jouchi Nakajima, Yoichi Ueno for comments and discussions. Shirota is grateful for financial support from JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research(C) No. 21K01396. Any remaining errors are the authors' own. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the authors' affiliations, including the Bank of Japan.

Papers in the Bank of Japan Working Paper Series are circulated to stimulate discussion and comment. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank. If you have any comments or questions on a paper in the Working Paper Series, please contact the authors. When making a copy or reproduction of the content for commercial purposes, please contact the Public Relations Department ([email protected]) at the Bank in advance to request permission. When making a copy or reproduction, the Bank of Japan Working Paper Series should explicitly be credited as the source.

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