Why Write Abstracts for Research Papers

An abstract is a short summary of a research paper that highlights the main points or findings contained in the paper. This summary should only be less than a page in length – usually somewhere between 200-300 words. It can touch on things like why the paper was written, what the goal of the paper is, and how successful the research itself turned out to be. So why should you write an abstract for your research paper in the first place? The following list will show you some of the reasons that adding an abstract to your research paper is worth your time and effort.

  • Condense Information. Depending on the topic, research papers can be quite lengthy and involved. Reading through the entire paper to uncover the findings may require more time than many readers are willing to commit. By providing an abstract at the start of the paper, the most important points can be presented right off the top. From there, the reader is free to continue on into the body of the paper itself if they desire more detailed information on the findings highlighted in the abstract.
  • Speak to a Wider Audience. The contents of a high-level research paper may be too technical or complex to communicate with many people. An abstract is an opportunity to present a simplified version of the research in a way that a ‘lay person’ can easily understand. For a reader who is not an expert in the field but is curious as to the findings, an abstract is a perfect place to get that information.
  • Free Preview. For a research paper that will be sold, the abstract serves as the perfect selling point to tell the purchaser exactly what is contained in the research itself. Rather than having to buy the paper hoping it contains the information they are looking for, buyers can use the abstract to accurately gauge what the full text will cover.

After writing a complete, thorough research paper, you may not feel like added any further work to your plate in the form of an abstract. However, it is well worth your time to compose a quality abstract to open your paper with. Almost every reader will want to review an abstract first to better understand what they will find in the paper, or so they don’t have to read the paper in its entirety. For many reasons, including the three points above, an abstract is an important part of any research paper.