How to write an Abstract?

LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST!  Just when you thought you are done and dusted with your dissertation, you are reminded of yet another horror story of your dissertation. It’s without any doubt the point when you have to write an abstract for your research.

Abstract writing can be as easy as squeezing a lemon IF ONLY, you have learned about all the techniques.

What is an abstract?

“An abstract is clear and concise knowledge about the broad and huge dissertation or reports”

The given abstract definition depicts that abstract is all about breaking down the bigger knowledge that gives the overview of your dissertation. In a nutshell, to write an abstract is, to sum up, the detailing of your research.

There are mainly two kinds of abstract; Informative abstract & Descriptive abstract.

kinds of Abstract

The kind of abstract you want to write, solely depends on the nature of your dissertation. So, before even starting to write an abstract, know about the specifics of your dissertation.

What is the ultimate importance to write an abstract?

“To acknowledge the reader about the relevancy of your research for their own research”

One of the main purposes to write the abstract is to save the time of the reader because the abstract is the nectar of your whole research. By reading an abstract, a reader can know about the objectives and results of the research which helps him to decide if it is worthy of reading or not. It saves the time of the reader, and it also helps you in capturing the right readers for your research. You can call every piece of writing, an abstract that is giving you a sneak peek of what you are about to read.

When you are writing an abstract it could be written for many purposes, you could write;

  • Abstract for a dissertation or a research paper,
  • Abstract for a lab report or reports in general,
  • Abstract for academic assignments.

When to write an abstract?

The abstract is written when you are done with your research. BUT it comes after the title page and acknowledgements, and before the table of contents of your research. You can say that the abstract is the first impression of your whole research. It is rather the uniqueness of an abstract that you write it in the end but it comes in the beginning. The word limit an abstract may varies, depending on the requirement of your university, but the standard limit ranges from 150 to 300.

Contents to consider while writing an abstract

Writing an abstract has its delicacies that demand to be taken care of. Students must know about the following contents of an abstract if they aim to master the art of abstract writing.
A well-written abstract must include the following aspects or contents of the research.

content of the search

Aims & Objectives 

The essential thing to discuss in your abstract is the aims and objectives of your research. In the first paragraph of your abstract, make sure you state the problems of your research and how your research aims to respond to those problems.

Example: You are conducting research on the topic “Difference of rate of employment in graduate and undergraduate students” So, in your abstract, you will discuss the objectives of your research that is to study the rate of employment among graduate and undergraduate students and your aim would probably to find out about the reasons that explain that difference.

You may use words like investigating, search, analyze, and test, etc. Because these are the alternative words that tell about the directions your research is headed to.

The speech must be in past or present tenses, and not at all in future tenses as you have conducted the research.


This section where you give information about the methods used in your research is supposed to be the shortest. After discussing the aims and objectives, you will now discuss the approach and methods you have used to justify your arguments or to find the solutions of your research problems.

Try to discuss the methods in less than five lines, make it as uncomplicated as you could. Make sure the tenses you used to explain the methodology of your research are in the past form, only as you have applied those methods in your research, already.

Example: The methods used in our research to find the reasons behind the difference in the rate of employment among graduates and undergraduates, are qualitative for which we have conducted surveys and interviews with 50 students, least.


To be honest, this is my favorite content in the abstract. In this section, you will discuss the response of your audience or what reasons you have found behind your problem statement. You may only discuss the main result that supports your conclusion the best. You can skip sharing about the whole results of your research BECAUSE by sharing about the whole results, you will overflow information in your abstract. You should only discuss the key results or arguments of your research.
The speech used, to discuss the results of your research can be in past and present tenses, and not at all in future tenses as you have conducted research that had to lead you to your desired results.
You may use the words like outcomes, effects, causes or analyzed, and figured, etc.
For example; this research has analyzed that one of the main reason undergraduate still manage to find employment is that they have mastered a skill that they cash out.


At long last, you will share the answers to your questions or solutions to your problems.
You will conclude the whole research for your reader in a way that they get familiar with the purpose of your whole research. Conclusions can be written in the present future tenses. It is the case of a rarity if you write your conclusion in past tenses.

Example: We concluded that sometimes a degree alone is not enough to get employment, you have to have some soft skills along with it.
If the purpose of your research was to find the solutions to certain problems or issues, you can use the future tenses to recommend some actions. By doing so, you will earn the trust of your reader.

That was really all the basic things to consider when writing an abstract.

BUT wait, there is more to it.

Bonus tips to write an abstract!

Other than the above contents of an abstract, there are some more tips as well that can help you in writing a quality abstract.

Inspire from other abstracts

Just like we learn from other’s mistakes, we can learn a lot from other successes as well. Read the other abstracts available online that may or may not relate to your research topic. The ultimate purpose to do this is to acknowledge yourself with all the edges of an abstract.

Quality of words over quantity of words

An abstract should be clear and concise. The selection of sentences must be qualitative and not quantitative. Be as straightforward as you could. Ignore double contextual sentences as much as you can.

Take care of the formatting

The formatting is the tricky part when writing an abstract. Therefore, make sure you format your abstract correctly. Otherwise, your reader would lose its interest in your research in a blink.

Citations for the abstract is not required

The abstract is 100% original work. It is self-maintained, thus it does not need any citation.

Let’s Look At The Proper Example Of An Abstract!

Topic: The reasons why Nigeria ranks amongst the countries with highest infant mortality rate

One of the most terrifying things parents could ever experience is leaving their sleeping infant on the bed and return a few hours later to find him not breathing.
State the problem first
Sadly, this happens with many parents in Nigeria. Infant mortality rate means the number of infant deaths in a single year out of every 1,000 live births, which is one of the most notable indicators of social development in any country. As Nigeria is one of the most perilous countries for newborns.Give the background pertaining to your problem statement.
This research helps to determine and quantify the reasons which leads our country towards high infant mortality rate with the purpose to increase knowledge and awareness among people about the identification of reasons behind infants mortality and to increase the lowest life expectancy ratio of Nigeria as it is the dejected significant national issue which needs to receive serious attention.
Objective of the research: Stating the aims and objectives of your research
The methodology of our research includes both primary and secondary data. The secondary data was collected by consultation of literature in the libraries, already made researches, Internet and also from the report or material printed by UNICEF. For gathering primary data our research method was quantitative which includes close-ended questionnaire as a main methodological approach which we made online the samples were not highly specified as we aimed to spread awareness between people and check their responses so we asked people from every profession to show their opinions by agreeing or disagreeing the statements which we had mentioned in our questionnaire and mostly the responders were doctors specifically gynecologist and child specialist. We also had interviewed some midwives and birth attendants to know about the health status of mothers who came to them for their assistance.
Methodology: Discuss about the methodology of your research in such a way that it explains about all the data gathering tools as well.
Our research questions include; what are the socioeconomic reasons for infant mortality in Nigeria? What are the significance and importance of each reason? How many people are aware of the infant mortality rate?
The quantitative data collected from the questionnaire indicates the findings that to reduce infant mortality, urgent measures should be taken in the country. There is an ignorance of birth spacing and related vaccinations linked with delivery. The scarcity of trained health workers should be fulfilled. And education on maternal precautions should be given to mothers.
Results and conclusion

DO’s And Don’ts!!


The be-all and end-all!

You have reached the end of this guideline! Hope it fulfills the purpose of learning to you. And remember one thing;

Research is your cup of tea, you can have it the way you want it!

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