An abstract is a short, separate, one-page (about 250 words) summary of a research paper.  It is a double-spaced, blocked paragraph.  It is the first part of a formal paper that the reader sees, but it is the last part to be written.  The informative abstract provides readers with an overview of the entire paper, stating its purpose, scope, and all its relevant facts and conclusions.  Abstracts are written in the third person.  An abstract is a courtesy to both readers and other researchers; in one page an abstract provides readers and researchers with the content of a paper.  From the abstract, they can then determine whether a paper has enough information of interest and validity to be read in its entirety and whether the information/conclusions/results can be used in papers they may be writing.  While an abstract includes all relevant facts, statistics, and conclusions of a research paper, it does not include examples, tables, or general supporting details.  

Additional information about abstracts can be found here: LEO Abstracts.

By Bernard Selzler, Ed.D.
Last updated October 2016 by Allison Haas, M.A.