All the tips and tricks you need to write a proper abstract!

Created by: Jodi Palmer, Christina Burke, Idali Aviles, Bryanna West

What is an Abstract?

Dictionary.com defines an abstract as:

1. a summary of a text, scientific article, document, speech, etc.;epitome

2. something that concentrates in itself the essential qualities of anything more extensive or more general, or of several things

The purpose of an abstract is to give the reader a preview and overall idea of what the lab or research will be like. It should interest and inform the audience about the subject without any bias or opinion. Like any scientific writing, there should never be any personal opinion or emotion present in an abstract. There are a few ways to write a proper and effective abstract.

Key Things to Remember about Abstracts:

-The abstract is a summary of the entire lab report

-Make the abstract concise, cut out unnecessary words

-Should include intro, body (motivation, problem statement, approach, results), conclusion

-Choose a title that clearly indicates the topic and is no more than one line long

-State the problem or research question raised by prior work, with specific reference to relevant prior research

-State the main point or argument

-Cite enough data and explain how it supports the main point or argument

-The abstract should not be more than 250 words.

-Do not include details about the methods used in an experiment, unless the experiment is about testing methods.

-An abstract should always be written in 3rd person and past tense.

Components & Steps

These are the components an effective abstract should contain:

Introduction, reason for investigation, problem trying to be solved, approach/experiment conducted, results/answer to the problem, further meaning of results, and conclusion (including errors, limitations, or restrictions placed on the experiment or results)

Here are suggested steps to writing an abstract:


Here are a few videos on formatting and writing an abstract:

How to Write an Abstract in APA
How to Write an Abstract: Research Paper-Communications 600

Works Cited

"Abstract | Define Abstract at Dictionary.com." Dictionary.com - Free Online English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/abstract?s=t>.

"Examples of Research Abstracts." UW–Madison Writing Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/presen

"How to Write an Abstract." Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University - . N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://www.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html>.

"How to Write an Abstract in APA - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8ia-ambBXk>.

"How to Write an Abstract: Research Paper-Communications 600 - YouTube."YouTube. N.p., 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C7YhazRhtA>.

"Purdue OWL: Technical Reports & Report Abstracts ." Welcome to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/65

Tischler, Marc E. "Scientific Writing Booklet." Arizona.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <cbc.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/marc/Sci-Writing.pdf>.