Sometimes writing the abstract of your paper is as difficult as writing the whole text. So I’ve separated 8 simple steps to teach you how to write a good abstract.
Table of contents:
- What is an abstract?
- Properties of an abstract
- How to write an abstract in 8 steps
- Extra tips for a perfect abstract
- Mettzer: connecting technology and science
Contrary to what many people think, it is not enough to abbreviate every sentence and every paragraph of the text to write an abstract.
After all, writing an abstract is not simply reducing the size of the text. It is a brief text (smaller and more objective) with the main ideas and central points of the paper.
There are some special techniques to write a good abstract and not get tired during the process.
So, if you’re wondering “How to write an abstract for my paper, anyway?” This article is for you 😉
What is an abstract?
Basically an abstract is a short and objective text that summarizes the content of your paper, usually containing about 150-250 words.
A good abstract should provide an overview of the entire paper, highlighting the main points of the research, such as problems, methods, and results.
Its main purpose is to present the most relevant and essential information from the research, allowing the reader to have a general understanding of the content without having to read the entire paper.
Reading a paper abstract is a good way to get an overview of the content before diving into the reading.
Properties of an abstract
The properties of an abstract generally involve the following aspects:
Cohesion and coherence
If you want to write a good abstract it should be short and objective, presenting only the essential information of the paper. The paper abstract should avoid excessive repetition and unnecessary detail. It should also be clear and understandable, using simple and direct language.
It contains the key ideas of the paper
An abstract should capture the essence of the paper, preserving the main ideas, arguments and conclusions. It should be an accurate reflection of the paper content and structure, without adding new information or distorting it.
Finally, your paper abstract should be able to summarize the information, that is, presenting an overview of the entire paper content in a few words. It should select the key points, the most relevant information and the main conclusions, leaving out less important details.
How to write an abstract in 8 steps
Nothing better than clear and objective steps to help you write an abstract, right?
So, here is our 8 steps guide for you. Following these steps will make the journey of writing your abstract much easier.
The beginning of your abstract
These are some steps that precede your abstract writing process:
Step 1: Read the paper with attention
Reading the paper carefully and calmly is the first step. It is important you understand what the text is about. To do so, you must pay attention to the details of the paper.
Step 2: Highlight the main ideas of the paper
After the first careful reading, it’s time to read the paper again. This time, however, the aim should be to highlight the main ideas of the text.
It’s important for this second reading to distinguish between the central aspects of the paper from the details.
Step 3: Highlight the keywords in a different color
This step will work like the previous one. You should read the highlighted parts again and underline the keywords of each part differently.
Keywords usually contain the general idea of an entire sentence. Emphasizing them is a good way to distinguish what is really important in the text.
Step 4: Organize the structure of the abstract
Structuring the text is essential to support the comprehension of its reader. It is also an important criterion for evaluating the quality of the abstract.
After all, the structure of the text helps you to present your ideas systematically.
But, remember, summarizing your paper to create its abstract is not the same as copy and pasting parts of the text.
The structure should connect the main ideas of the abstract. For this, cohesion and textual coherence are essential to make it clear and objective. An efficient way to organize your abstract structure is to write it with three parts: introduction, development, and conclusion.
Abstract writing process
Now that the structure of the abstract is organized, you can start writing it.
Step 5: Do not change the original content of the paper
Try to point out the keywords and present these research aspects: scientific method applied, objectives, justification, main arguments or results, and, finally, the conclusions.
Step 6: Work towards a good synthesis of ideas
Don’t forget that you should write clearly and cohesively, but also briefly and assertively.
Step 7: Connect the main ideas of the paper
To achieve this connection it is important to use transition words and connectives, such as: finally, therefore, for this reason, in this way. These terms help to create unity in the text.
Step 8: Make a final review
After writing the abstract don’t forget to have final reading to check whether it has fulfilled its function: presenting the main ideas of the paper in a concise and clear way.
Also, in this final review you must correct any typing or grammatical errors.
Extra tips for a perfect abstract
- Create mind maps
A mind map is a tool that can help you understand the text better.
- Do not use bibliographic citations and avoid abbreviations
The abstract is the section you will present the main ideas of the paper briefly. Therefore, you should avoid using direct or indirect quotes.
Also, avoid using abbreviations, simply because people may not understand what they refer to if they only read the summary.
- Use topics and lists for organization
You can use lists and topics to organize your abstract. This technique is called scannability and consists of making paragraphs more fluid and dynamic, to make them easier to read.
- Verbalize your notes
This tip is extremely valuable for your abstract, transforming it from a simple text with condensed information into something that facilitates understanding the research content.
With all your notes at hand, imagine that you need to teach a lesson on the paper subject to other people. That is, put yourself in the role of a teacher and think about how you would explain this newly learned content to someone.
You can make this explanation to someone else or even to yourself. By doing this, you will be able to identify points that are still unclear or that you have difficulty explaining.
Mettzer: connecting technology and science
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Doutoranda em Sociologia pela UFSC. Acredita no poder transformador das trocas e afetos que circulam no ambiente científico. Comprometida com a construção de uma ciência mais plural, humana e socialmente justa.