So, you are almost done with your dissertation, thesis, or paper. Well done! Time to rattle off a quick abstract, right? Wrong! The abstract is the very first thing people will read (and often the only part). If you want to convince people to read your paper then you need to include all the relevant information in your abstract and nothing more. So what information should be included? Read on to find out!
What is an Abstract?
An abstract is a brief summary of a paper that explains to the reader the main subject of the work. You need to grab the reader so make it concise and snappy.
What Should an Abstract Contain?
It should include the question you set out to research, the methodology used, the main findings and any recommendations. You should not include any extracts from the actual paper and you should not think of it as an introduction. In effect, it functions as a ‘blurb’.
The Importance of Keywords
You must remember that, if your paper is published, it will probably be included on an electronic database. Because of this, you need to make sure that it is easily searchable. The more keywords you put in your abstract, the more chance people will have of finding, and citing, your work!
What Tone Should I Use?
As an abstract has to be easily readable, you should try to use the active voice as far as possible. However the passive voice can be more useful if you wish to pack a lot of information into a few lines. You should always avoid the use of ‘I’, in order to maintain a professional tone.
When you have finished writing your abstract, why not upload it as a free sample to the professionals at Proofread My Document? This will give you an idea of whether you might want to have them proofread your paper as well.