What’s it: An abstract summarizes the core arguments or main points of an article, thesis, or a longer work such as a book. This section aims to allow the reader to get a quick overview of the work’s argument base and content before exploring it in more detail in the next section.
The abstract contains a solid statement. It summarizes the main content in the next section.
The content varies according to the disciplines. For example, social scientific work could contain the scope, purpose, results, and content of the work.
Although concise and contains keywords, the abstract is the original document and is not a quote from another manuscript.
Why write abstracts
We write abstracts for several reasons. The two most important ones are selection and indexing.
First, it allows you to quickly select scientific papers. You don’t have to read the entire content. You just read this section. If interested, you can read the next section.
Second, it makes indexing in the database easier. The database manager displays abstracts for indexing larger works. It contains keywords and phrases that make searching easy. Visitors only need to type in keywords. If interested, they can download the document; otherwise, they can look for other documents. Besides making the search easier, access to the database is also faster because the file size is smaller than a full document.
Where you can find abstracts
You can find out at the beginning. That is probably the first page for a journal. Or, it may be the next few pages for a complete thesis.
Let’s take a scientific journal. The sections available in a scientific journal usually consist of:
- Title. It contains topics discussed. This section is to make it easier for you to find out the subject matter of scientific papers. Say you are looking for a topic of economic growth. The keyword “economic growth” should be contained in this section.
- Abstract. This section summarizes the objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. Because it contains a summary of the journal content, this section should be compact and usually present 250 words.
- Preliminary. Contains statements from cases that the author investigates. It provides information regarding the specific purpose of writing and background information on the problem.
- Data and methods. In this section, the researchers explain clearly how they conducted the study. You can find reviews such as data collection methods, data analysis, proposed hypotheses.
- Result. This section presents the research results in an orderly and logical order using text and illustrative material (Tables and Figures). Researchers discuss their findings related to the hypothesis being tested.
- Conclusions and suggestions. This section contains the conclusions of the results obtained. Authors may also present comparisons with results from other authors. The suggestions section usually contains the limitations of the paper (including the assumptions used). This section usually provides information about what can be developed further from the topics discussed for a study.
- Bibliography. This section shows you an alphabetical list of the references the authors used.