How to Write an Abstract: Content

Today we are going to talk about the content you need to include when writing an abstract. Most abstracts contain four sections: problem and purpose, methods, results and conclusions and implications.

An abstract is a summary of a paper. A paper tells a story as will the abstract. There was a problem, you set out to learn something or do something about it, this is what I did, this is what I found, this is what that means.

Let’s break each of these sections down a bit more.

Problem and Purpose:
The opening sentences of your abstract need to catch your reader’s attention. You will need to clearly state the problem and your purpose. Do not be afraid to start the purpose sentence with “The purpose of this study is to…”

Remember, abstracts area summary of a larger body of work so there is no need to go into great detail about your methodology. Choose the most significant details of your methodology, what do readers need to know to understand your results and conclusion?

What are the most significant results discussed in your paper? Focus on the results that relate most strongly to your problem, purpose, conclusions, and implications.

Conclusions and Implications:
This section of your abstract should refer directly back to your problem and purpose. What do your results mean in relation to the problem?

The details of the content will change but the layout will stay relatively the same.