Writing a research abstract is an important part of writing a research paper. The abstract works akin to a synopsis. It allows the reader of your paper to understand what the purpose of the research is, what methods you’ve used, the major findings of your study and what conclusions you have come to through interpreting the data you have found. It is particularly important if you are presenting your research to either a university or a company. Either will read your abstract first to see what the contents of your research is and whether they are interested in it. Your abstract is a means of selling your research as legitimate and explaining how you have come to the conclusions presented in your paper. Through your abstract you will be able to convince the reader that you are a serious researcher and that you can back up any assertions made in the body of your research with evidence found during the process of inquiry.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to understand how to write an abstract. You may find it hard to sum up all the research that you’ve conducted in a logical a precise way. The process of writing an abstract can be time consuming if you don’t know how to do it and as it is such a vital part of your overall research, it is something that should not be ignored or disregarded. That is why this article is designed to help anyone who needs to write an abstract and doesn’t know how to. By breaking it down this article will make sure that you can write any abstract that you like.
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First, let’s look at the different type of abstracts. As there is more than one way to write an abstract and more than one type of abstract, it is important to be precise and make sure that you know which one is appropriate for your research paper and which one isn’t or else it could cause your paper to be seen as unprofessional and thus mean your research is not used. Let’s break down the different types of abstracts to see which is the one you should use.
Once you have decided which type of abstract you want to use, it is time to decide how best to write your abstract. The style in which you write it is important because if you fail to use an appropriate tone to the type of abstract you have chosen then you will not get the desired effect that you want.
When writing an abstract, it is important to remember that the style of your abstract should reflect the abstract you have decided to use. For instance, if you want to use a Highlight Abstract as a means of advertising your research rather than circulating it to other academics, your style should be persuasive. It should also be unambiguous – you are trying to highlight something rather than subtly imply it so that, though your language should be intended to convince the reader of the merits of the research it should not try to shy away from the fact that you want them to look at something very particular in regards to the research and understand it clearly. This means that a certain amount of bluntness is needed to be sure to get your message across.
The other types of abstracts should be written differently. Whilst they are all different in some way, they all should have an academic style to them. Whilst the Highlight Abstract could still be considered academic because it cannot be separated from the research that it accompanies and only highlights one aspect of the research it cannot be considered completely academic and thus you can use a more colloquial style. The other abstracts, however, are certainly more academic and require a stronger academic influence on how they are written.
For instance, whilst a Critical Abstract draws links and contrasts between other papers and its own research, it still needs to do this in an academic way; it cannot compare them in an insulting and slighting way but simply as a means of drawing attention to any failures of one type of research as opposed to another. This means that this type of abstract must be professional, as must other abstracts. A Descriptive Abstract can describe the methods used in the research and not make any direct assessment of them, but it should not do so in a simplistic way – it has to fully explain the methodology used and the extent to which the methods are effective in gathering data. These types of abstract must be utterly thorough and clinical in their assessment of the research they are describing.
Similarly, when writing an Informative Abstract, it is important to make sure that your style is academic as you are assessing all parts of the research and making clear why it is important. Through your use of style you’ll be able to convey as much as you will with the content of your abstract; if your style is at odds with the research you are presenting and seem unprofessional then your entire abstract will be let down and it will be likely that your client or whoever is reviewing the work will see it as unprofessional and lacking in depth. You must make sure that your abstract has a style that is consistent with academic standards of excellence – unless you are writing a Highlight Abstract which is more open to the use of colloquial language and a more direct means of drawing your reader’s attention to one particular area of the research.
Now that you have reviewed what style of abstract you feel is necessary for your particular research paper and thus decided upon which type of abstract you feel is needed for your paper, it is time to discuss how to write a good abstract. Writing a good abstract isn’t just about the use of the correct type of style for that abstract or making sure that you include the conventions of an abstract in it, it is also about how you write it. You must consider the right tone to use and the correct way to address the issues and reasons for your research in a way that does not stray into an outright explanation, as that is the job of the paper itself, but to include enough information to ensure that the reader has a clear grasp of what you are saying but also understands the implications of your research for the wider field and how it may be useful in the future.
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