How to Write a Scientific Abstract

      A scientific abstract summarizes your research paper in a way that helps other researchers determine whether your paper is relevant to their own work. Researchers often use abstracts to decide which papers to acquire, particularly when they are looking for research in an online database that only displays abstracts. While most abstracts are written by the main researcher, you can also use a professional service to write your abstract for you.
  1. State the purpose of the research very clearly in the first sentence. Think of the research paper as having investigated a particular scientific question. Nothing will be as useful to researchers as knowing exactly what that question was.
  2. Describe the methodology in the second sentence. The methodology is the way the researchers went about answering the question in sentence one. Methodologies can include experiments or surveys, laboratory or field work, tests on animals or human beings.
  3. Report the major findings of the research in the third sentence. The researchers would not have written the paper unless they were able to answer the question stated in the first sentence, even if the answer wasn't the one they were expecting or hoping to get.
  4. Give your interpretation of the impact of the research in the fourth sentence. Tell the reader whether the research will or should produce a change in scientific thinking or practice. In particular, what gap in knowledge has the research filled?
  5. Count your words. An effective abstract should be between 200 and 300 words long. If it's too short, you can go back and elaborate. However, you still should try to use concise language so the abstract can be easily understood.
  6. Use past tense sentences, and don't be afraid to use passive voice if necessary. Don't include references to other papers, abbreviations readers may not be familiar with, or any kind of illustration.
  7. Read the abstract as if you were another researcher deciding whether to read your paper. Do you find that the abstract has the right information to help you make that determination? If not, rewrite it.
  1. Remember that the abstract will be used to index research papers in an online databases, so include key words that will help researchers find the paper using a search box.
  2. Abstracts are written last, since they summarize the research paper. It may help to pull out key sentences from each section as you write them and place them in the same order as they appear in the paper. Then all you have to do is edit these sentences to create the abstract.
Abstracts should have a structured format
This serves several purposes:
  • it helps authors summarize the different aspects of their work; 
  • it makes the abstract more immediately clear; 
  • it helps peer reviewers and readers assess the contents of the manuscript. 
The abstract structure varies between journals and between types of article.

The abstracts of manuscripts should be structured as follows:

Background: This should place the study into the context of the current knowledge in its field and list the purpose of the work; in other words, the authors should summarize why they carried out their research;
Methods: Section should summarize how the study was performed and mention the different techniques employed. It should also include details of any statistical tests employed;
Results: This section should describe the main findings of the study;
Conclusions: A brief summary of the content of the manuscript and the potential implications of its results.