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An abstract is summarizes a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper),

usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less. The abstract concisely reports the aims and
outcomes of your research so that readers know exactly what the paper is about.

 The major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes:
 The overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated;
 The basic design of the study;
 Major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and,
 A brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.


Writing a good abstract is of utmost importance. Abstracts perform the function of

"selling" the work. Instead of merely convincing the reader to keep reading the rest of the
attached paper, an abstract must have the ability to convince the reader to leave the comfort of
an office and go hunt down a copy of the article from a library.
A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

 An abstract lets readers get essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide
whether to read the full paper;
 An abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and
arguments in your full paper;
 And, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.

Abstracts are very brief, but it must do almost as much work as the multi-page paper that
follows it. In a computer architecture paper, this means that it should in most cases include the
following sections. Each section is typically a single sentence, although there is room for
creativity. In particular, the parts may be merged or spread among a set of sentences.

The following can be used as a checklist for writing abstracts:


Why do we care about the problem and the results? If the problem isn't obviously
"interesting" it might be better to put motivation first; but if your work is incremental progress on
a problem that is widely recognized as important, then it is probably better to put the problem
statement first to indicate which piece of the larger problem you are breaking off to work on.
This section should include the importance of your work, the difficulty of the area, and the
impact it might have if successful.


What problem are you trying to solve? What is the scope of your work (a generalized

approach, or for a specific situation)? Be careful not to use too much jargon. In some cases it is
appropriate to put the problem statement before the motivation, but usually this only works if
most readers already understand why the problem is important.


How did you go about solving or making progress on the problem? Did you use
simulation, analytic models, prototype construction, or analysis of field data for an actual
product? What was the extent of your work (did you look at one application program or a
hundred programs in twenty different programming languages?) What important variables did
you control, ignore, or measure?


What's the answer? Specifically, most good computer architecture papers conclude that
something is so many percent faster, cheaper, smaller, or otherwise better than something else.
Put the result there, in numbers. Avoid vague, hand-waving results such as "very", "small", or
"significant." If you must be vague, you are only given license to do so when you can talk about
orders-of-magnitude improvement. There is a tension here in that you should not provide
numbers that can be easily misinterpreted, but on the other hand you don't have room for all the


What are the implications of your answer? Is it going to change the world (unlikely), be a

significant "win", be a nice hack, or simply serve as a road sign indicating that this path is a
waste of time (all of the previous results are useful). Are your results general, potentially
generalizeable, or specific to a particular case?

There are four general types of abstracts. These include:


A critical abstract provides main findings and information, a judgment or comment

about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper
and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally
400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of
abstracts are used infrequently.


A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no
judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does
incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope
of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being
summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary.
Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.
In many ways, the descriptive abstract is like a table of contents in paragraph form.
Unlike reading an informative abstract, reading a descriptive abstract cannot substitute for
reading the document because it does not capture the content of the piece. Nor does a
descriptive abstract fulfill the other main goals of abstracts as well as informative abstracts do.
For all these reasons, descriptive abstracts are less and less common.


The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a
work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the
work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the
important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information
that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the
results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length
varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in

An informative abstract provides detail about the substance of a piece of writing because
readers will sometimes rely on the abstract alone for information. Informative abstracts typically
follow this format:

 Identifying information (bibliographic citation or other identification of the document)

 Concise restatement of the main point, including the initial problem or other background
 Methodology (for experimental work) and key findings
 Major conclusions
Informative abstracts usually appear in indexes like Dissertation Abstracts International;
however, your instructor may ask you to write one as a cover sheet to a paper as well.


A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No
pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact,
incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight
abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and,
therefore, rarely used in academic writing.


The first thing is to write the paper. While the abstract will be at the beginning of your
paper, it should be the last section that you write. Once you have completed the final draft of
your psychology paper, use it as a guide for writing your abstract.
Begin your abstract on a new page and place your running head and page number 2 in
the top right-hand corner. You should also center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
Keep it short. According to the APA style manual, an abstract should be between 150 to
250 words. Word counts can vary from journal to journal. If you are writing your paper for a
psychology course, your professor may have specific word requirements, so be sure to ask. The
abstract should also be written as only one paragraph with no indentation.
Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper. Begin with a brief summary of
the Introduction, and then continue on with a summary of the Method, Results, and Discussion
sections of your paper.
Look at other abstracts in professional journals for examples of how to summarize your
paper. Notice the main points that the authors chose to mention in the abstract. Use these
examples as a guide when choosing the main ideas in your own paper.
Write a rough draft of your abstract. While you should aim for brevity, be careful not to
make your summary too short. Try to write one to two sentences summarizing each section of
your paper. Once you have a rough draft, you can edit for length and clarity.

This example calls this paragraph at the beginning of the article a “Summary,” rather than an
“Abstract.” This is a great example of an effective graphical abstract, a bulleted list of highlights
list at the beginning of the article, and a two-sentence “In Brief” summary.

Abstract writing efficiently is hard work, but it will be highly beneficial in tempting and
attracting people to read the paper, article or publication. Having a good abstract can be an eye
catching opening that will tempt the readers to know in detail about the writing. One should
make sure that all the components of a good abstract are included in the abstract so that it can
appeal to the people.