Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper
Definition and Purpose of Abstracts
An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:
- an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
- an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
- and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.
It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.
If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.
The Contents of an Abstract
Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.
Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:
- the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
- the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
- what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
- the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
- your research and/or analytical methods
- your main findings , results , or arguments
- the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.
Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.
When to Write Your Abstract
Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.
What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.
Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract
The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.
The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.
The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).
Sample Abstract 1
From the social sciences.
Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses
Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.
Sample Abstract 2
From the humanities.
Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications
Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.
Sample Abstract/Summary 3
From the sciences.
Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells
Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.
Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract
Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study
Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.
Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.
“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.
METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.
RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.
CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)
Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:
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Home » Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples
Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples
Table of Contents
Research Paper Abstract
Research Paper Abstract is a brief summary of a research pape r that describes the study’s purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions . It is often the first section of the paper that readers encounter, and its purpose is to provide a concise and accurate overview of the paper’s content. The typical length of an abstract is usually around 150-250 words, and it should be written in a concise and clear manner.
Research Paper Abstract Structure
The structure of a research paper abstract usually includes the following elements:
- Background or Introduction: Briefly describe the problem or research question that the study addresses.
- Methods : Explain the methodology used to conduct the study, including the participants, materials, and procedures.
- Results : Summarize the main findings of the study, including statistical analyses and key outcomes.
- Conclusions : Discuss the implications of the study’s findings and their significance for the field, as well as any limitations or future directions for research.
- Keywords : List a few keywords that describe the main topics or themes of the research.
How to Write Research Paper Abstract
Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper abstract:
- Start by reading your paper: Before you write an abstract, you should have a complete understanding of your paper. Read through the paper carefully, making sure you understand the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
- Identify the key components : Identify the key components of your paper, such as the research question, methods used, results obtained, and conclusion reached.
- Write a draft: Write a draft of your abstract, using concise and clear language. Make sure to include all the important information, but keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your abstract between 150-250 words.
- Use clear and concise language : Use clear and concise language to explain the purpose of your study, the methods used, the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
- Emphasize your findings: Emphasize your findings in the abstract, highlighting the key results and the significance of your study.
- Revise and edit: Once you have a draft, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free from errors.
- Check the formatting: Finally, check the formatting of your abstract to make sure it meets the requirements of the journal or conference where you plan to submit it.
Research Paper Abstract Examples
Research Paper Abstract Examples could be following:
Title : “The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis”
Abstract : This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety disorders. Through the analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials, we found that CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders, with large effect sizes across a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Our findings support the use of CBT as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and highlight the importance of further research to identify the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.
Title : “Exploring the Role of Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: A Qualitative Study”
Abstract : This qualitative study explores the role of parental involvement in children’s education. Through in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children in elementary school, we found that parental involvement takes many forms, including volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, and communicating with teachers. We also found that parental involvement is influenced by a range of factors, including parent and child characteristics, school culture, and socio-economic status. Our findings suggest that schools and educators should prioritize building strong partnerships with parents to support children’s academic success.
Title : “The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”
Abstract : This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on the impact of exercise on cognitive function in older adults. Through the analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise is associated with significant improvements in cognitive function, particularly in the domains of executive function and attention. Our findings highlight the potential of exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to support cognitive health in older adults.
When to Write Research Paper Abstract
The abstract of a research paper should typically be written after you have completed the main body of the paper. This is because the abstract is intended to provide a brief summary of the key points and findings of the research, and you can’t do that until you have completed the research and written about it in detail.
Once you have completed your research paper, you can begin writing your abstract. It is important to remember that the abstract should be a concise summary of your research paper, and should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have expertise in your specific area of research.
Purpose of Research Paper Abstract
The purpose of a research paper abstract is to provide a concise summary of the key points and findings of a research paper. It is typically a brief paragraph or two that appears at the beginning of the paper, before the introduction, and is intended to give readers a quick overview of the paper’s content.
The abstract should include a brief statement of the research problem, the methods used to investigate the problem, the key results and findings, and the main conclusions and implications of the research. It should be written in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and technical language, and should be understandable to a broad audience.
The abstract serves as a way to quickly and easily communicate the main points of a research paper to potential readers, such as academics, researchers, and students, who may be looking for information on a particular topic. It can also help researchers determine whether a paper is relevant to their own research interests and whether they should read the full paper.
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How to Write a Research Paper Abstract + Example
When writing a research paper for school, you may have noted that an abstract is a very important part of the research paper writing process. The abstract is the first section of your paper that is read by a potential reader and it provides them with a summary of what you have written. Because of its importance, it is important to make sure that your abstract is well written.
An effective way to write an abstract for your research paper is to ensure that it includes the following elements: the problem, the purpose of the study, the methods used, the results, and the conclusion. You should also make sure to keep your abstract concise and to the point. Remember that you only have limited space in which to summarize your paper, so be sure to include only the most important information.
When writing a research paper , be sure to consult with your instructor regarding the length and content of your abstract.
Exploratory data analysis research paper
Parts of a research paper.
- How to write the methods section of a research paper
Data analysis section of a research paper
What is an appendix in a paper, research paper conclusion, what is an abstract in a research paper.
An abstract is a summary of a research paper. It typically contains between 75 and 250 words, and it summarizes the main points of the paper. An abstract is meant to provide a reader with a quick overview of the paper, so they can decide whether or not to read it in full. It should be clear, concise, and informative.
What is the purpose of an abstract in research writing?
The purpose of an abstract is to provide a concise overview of the paper’s contents so that readers can decide whether or not to read it in full. It also helps researchers determine whether a particular paper is relevant to their work. An abstract should be clear and concise, and it should be a summary of the paper’s main points.
An abstract is typically included at the beginning of a research paper, before the main body of the text. It generally provides an overview of the research that has been conducted on a particular topic, and it includes a summary of the main points of the paper.
Types of abstracts
There are three types of abstracts: descriptive, informative, and persuasive.
- Descriptive abstracts provide a summary of the paper’s contents.
- Informative abstracts include additional information about the study, such as the purpose of the study and the methods used.
- Persuasive abstracts are used to sell readers on the merits of a paper, and they typically emphasize the importance of the research and the significance of the findings.
How to write an abstract for a research paper
When writing an abstract for a research paper, keep in mind that you should still include some basic information about your topic. This includes the problem that you are investigating, the methods you used to conduct your research, and the findings of your study. Be sure to highlight the most important points of your research, and don’t forget to mention the conclusions that you drew from your data.
Here are 10 steps on how to write a research paper abstract effectively:
1. Purpose and findings of your study
You should state the purpose of your study in the first sentence. For example, if you were investigating the effect of a new teaching method on student achievement, you would write “The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a new teaching method on student achievement.”
In the following sentences, you should summarize the main findings of your study. For example, if you found that the new teaching method had a positive effect on student achievement, you would write “The results of this study showed that the new teaching method had a positive effect on student achievement.”
2. Abstract should be clear and concise.
An abstract is a summary of your paper. It should be clear and concise, and it should be written in the third person. For example, you would not write “I found that the new teaching method had a positive effect on student achievement.” Instead, you would write “The study found that the new teaching method had a positive effect on student achievement.”
3. Avoid unnecessary details.
Your abstract should be brief and to the point. It should not include any unnecessary details. For example, you would not need to include a detailed description of the new teaching method in your abstract.
4. 75-200 words in length.
An abstract should be around 75-250 words in length. Any longer and a research study abstract will start to lose its impact.
5. Use keywords.
When writing an abstract, you should use keywords that will help other researchers find your paper. For example, if you were investigating the effect of a new teaching method on student achievement, you would use keywords such as “teaching methods,” “student achievement,” and “education.”
5. Summarize research methods.
An abstract should include information about the methods you used in your research. This will help other researchers understand how you conducted your study. For example, you would need to include information such as the type of study design you used and the population you studied.
6. Discuss the significance of your findings.
An abstract should discuss the significance of your findings. This will help other researchers understand the importance of your study. For example, if you found that the new teaching method had a positive effect on student achievement, you would write “This study provides evidence that the new teaching method is effective and can be used to improve student achievement.”
7. Include a brief conclusion.
Your abstract should include a brief conclusion that summarizes your main findings. For example, you would write “This study provides evidence that the new teaching method is effective and can be used to improve student achievement.”
8. Reference sources.
If you used any sources in your research, you should reference them in your abstract. This will show other researchers that you have conducted a thorough and rigorous study.
9. Proofread and editing
Your abstract should be free of grammar and spelling errors. This will show other researchers that you have written a well-crafted and professional paper.
10. Follow instructor guidelines
Be sure to follow any specific guidelines for abstracts set by your instructor or publisher. For example, some instructors or publishers may require that you use a certain format or include certain information in your abstract.
By following these tips, you can write an effective abstract for your research paper. Just remember to keep it clear, concise, and informative.
General research paper abstract writing tips
In most cases, an abstract is the first thing that your instructor will read when assigning a research paper. Therefore, you must take the time to write a well-crafted and insightful abstract that accurately reflects the key points of your research.
Here are some tips to help you write an effective abstract for a research paper:
- Keep it short and sweet : An abstract should be between 150-250 words, so make sure to get to the point quickly and concisely.
- Start with a strong opening sentence : Your opening sentence should be attention-grabbing and make it clear what your paper is about.
- Clearly state your main argument : The body of your abstract should summarise the main argument of your paper. make sure to include key points and evidence to support your argument.
- Close with a brief conclusion : End your abstract with a short conclusion that briefly restates your main argument and highlights the implications of your findings.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your abstract is well-written and effective in conveying the key points of your research paper.
What to write in a research paper abstract
A good abstract should include 4 components: the problem, the purpose of the study, the methods used, the results, and the conclusion
- Problem statement : The problem is what the study is investigating.
- Purpose of the study : The purpose of the study is what the researchers were trying to accomplish with their work.
- Methods : The methods section should describe how the study was conducted.
- Results : The results section should summarize the findings of the study.
- Conclusion : The conclusion section should state what the findings of the study mean for further research and/or practice.
Research Paper Abstract Examples
Here are some sample abstracts for research paper in pdf format. (.pdf). These are free to download and use for your studies.
Sample Engineering Research Paper Abstract
Example History-Social Science Research Paper Abstract
An Example Of A Well-Structured Abstract
Below are some examples of research paper abstracts for short research papers for college students:
Research paper abstract example 1:
Topic: The effects of climate change on plant life
Climate change has been a hot topic in the news lately, and for good reason. The potential consequences of climate change are wide-reaching and far-reaching, affecting everything from human populations to animal populations to plant life. One aspect of climate change that has received a lot of attention in recent years is its effect on plant life. In particular, scientists have been keen to understand how climate change will affect the distribution and abundance of different types of plants. This research paper seeks to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on this topic.
Research paper abstract example 2:
Topic: The impact of deforestation on plant life
Deforestation is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the world today. It is estimated that every year, 13 million hectares of forest are lost, equating to around 18% of the world’s forest cover. Deforestation has a range of negative consequences for the environment, including the loss of habitat for animals and plants, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. One area that has received relatively little attention is the impact of deforestation on plant life. This research paper seeks to address this gap in knowledge by exploring the impact of deforestation on different types of plants.
Research paper abstract example 3:
Topic: The role of plants in mitigating climate change
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today. It is estimated that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rate, the average global temperature could increase by up to 4°C by the end of this century. This would have a devastating impact on the planet, causing widespread flooding, droughts, and heatwaves. One way of mitigating the effects of climate change is through carbon sequestration, which is the process of storing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants play an important role in carbon sequestration, as they can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their tissues. This research paper explores the role of plants in mitigating climate change and the potential for using plants to offset emissions.
Research paper abstract example 4:
Topic: The Effect of Birth Order on Intelligence
This study examines the effect of birth order on intelligence, using a sample of siblings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The results suggest that first-born children are more likely to be smarter than their siblings and that this effect is more pronounced for boys than for girls. The findings have implications for our understanding of the role of family structure in shaping intelligence.
Research paper abstract example 5:
Topic: The Relationship between Narcissism and Social Media Use
This study examines the relationship between narcissism and social media use, using data from a sample of young adults. The results suggest that narcissists are more likely to use social media excessively and that this excessive use is associated with negative outcomes such as poorer mental health and lower life satisfaction. The findings have implications for our understanding of the role of social media in the development and maintenance of narcissism.
Research paper abstract example 6:
Topic: The Relationship between Sleep and Academic Performance
This study examines the relationship between sleep and academic performance, using a sample of college students. The results suggest that students who get less sleep are more likely to have lower grades and that this effect is stronger for students in higher-level courses. The findings have implications for our understanding of the importance of sleep for academic success.
Research paper abstract example 7:
Topic: Birth Order, Family Structure, and Intelligence
This study examines the relationship between birth order, family structure, and intelligence, using a sample of siblings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The results suggest that first-born children are more likely to be smarter than their siblings and that this effect is more pronounced for boys than for girls. The findings also suggest that children who grow up in families with a single parent are less likely to be smart than children who grow up in families with two parents. These findings have implications for our understanding of the role of family structure in shaping intelligence.
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Sample physical and life sciences abstract.
Do Voles Select Dense Vegetation for Movement Pathways at the Microhabitat Level? Biological Sciences The relationship between habitat use by voles (Rodentia: Microtus) and the density of vegetative cover was studied to determine if voles select forage areas at the microhabitat level. Using live traps, I trapped, powdered, and released voles at 10 sites. At each trap site, I analyzed the type and height of the vegetation in the immediate area. Using a black light, I followed the trails left by powdered voles through the vegetation. I mapped the trails using a compass to ascertain the tortuosity or amount the trail twisted and turned, and visually checked the trails to determine the obstruction of the movement path by vegetation. I also checked vegetative obstruction on 4 random paths near the actual trail, to compare the cover on the trail with other nearby alternative pathways. There was not a statistically significant difference between the amount of cover on a vole trail and the cover off to the sides of the trail when completely covered; there was a significant difference between on and off the trail when the path was completely open. These results indicate that voles are selectively avoiding bare areas, while not choosing among dense patches at a fine microhabitat scale.
Sample Social Science Abstract
Traditional Healers and the HIV Crisis in Africa: Toward an Integrated Approach Anthropology The HIV virus is currently destroying all facets of African life. It, therefore, is imperative that a new holistic form of health education and accessible treatment be implemented in African public health policy which improves dissemination of prevention and treatment programs while maintaining the cultural infrastructure. Drawing on government and NGO reports, as well as other documentary sources, this paper examines the nature of current efforts and the state of health care practices in Africa. I review access to modern health care and factors that inhibit local utilization of these resources, as well as traditional African beliefs about medicine, disease, and healthcare. This review indicates that a collaboration of western and traditional medical care and philosophy can help slow the spread of HIV in Africa. This paper encourages the acceptance and financial support of traditional health practitioners in this effort owing to their accessibility and affordability and their cultural compatibility with the community.
Sample Humanities Abstract
Echoes from the Underground European and American Literature Friedrich Nietzsche notably referred to the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky as “the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn.” Dostoevsky’s ability to encapsulate the darkest and most twisted depths of the human psyche within his characters has had a profound impact on those writers operating on the periphery of society. Through research on his writing style, biography, and a close reading of his novel Notes from the Underground I am exploring the impact of his most famous outcast, the Underground Man, on counterculture writers in America during the great subculture upsurge of the 1950s and 60s. Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac employ both the universal themes expressed by the Underground Man as well as more specific stylistic and textual similarities. Through my research, I have drawn parallels between these three writers with respect to their literary works as well as the impact of both their personal lives and the worlds that they inhabit. The paper affirms that Dostoevsky has had a profound influence on the geography of the Underground and that this literary topos has had an impact on the writers who continue to inhabit that space.
Sample Creative Writing Abstract
Passersby Creative Writing Richard Hugo wrote in his book of essays, The Triggering Town , that “knowing can be a limiting thing.” His experiences, however brief, in many of the small towns that pepper Montana’s landscape served as the inspiration to much of his poetry, and his observations came to reveal more of the poet than of the triggering subject. For Hugo, the less he knew of a place, the more he could imagine. My project, “Passersby,” is a short collection of poems and black and white photographs that explore this notion of knowledge and imagination. The place is the triggering subject in “Passersby” and will take the audience or viewer to a variety of national and international locations, from Rome and Paris to Beaver, Utah, and the Oregon Coast, and from there, into an exploration of experience and imagination relished by the poet. Hugo believed that as a writer “you owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.” While reality will play a role in “Passersby,” this work aims to blur the lines between knowing and imagination in order, perhaps, to find a truer place for the poet.
Sample Visual and Performing Arts Abstract/Artist Statement
The Integration of Historic Periods in Costume Design Theatre As productions turn away from resurrecting museum pieces, integrating costumes from two different historical periods has become more popular. This research project focuses on what makes costume integration successful. A successful integration must be visually compelling, but still, give characters depth and tell the story of the play. By examining several Shakespearean theatre productions, I have pinpointed the key aspects of each costume integration that successfully assist the production. While my own experiences have merged Elizabethan with the 1950s, other designers have merged Elizabethan with contemporary and even a rock concert theme. By analyzing a variety of productions, connecting threads helped establish “rules” for designers.
Through this research, I have established common guidelines for integrating two periods of costume history while still maintaining a strong design that helps tell a story. One method establishes the silhouette of one period while combining the details, such as fabric and accessories, of another period, creating an equal representation of the two. A second option creates a world blended equally of the two periods, in which the design becomes timeless and unique to the world of the play. A third option assigns opposing groups to two different periods, establishing visual conflict. Many more may exist, but the overall key to costume integration is to define how each period is represented. When no rules exist, there is no cohesion of ideas and the audience loses sight of character, story, and concept. Costumes help tell a story, and without guidance, that story is lost.
Sample Journalism Abstracts
International Headlines 3.0: Exploring Youth-Centered Innovation in Global News Delivery Traditional news media must innovate to maintain their ability to inform contemporary audiences. This research project analyzes innovative news outlets that have the potential to draw young audiences to follow global current events. On February 8, 2011, a Pew Research Center Poll found that 52 percent of Americans reported having heard little or nothing about the anti-government protests in Egypt. Egyptians had been protesting for nearly two weeks when this poll was conducted. The lack of knowledge about the protests was not a result of scarce media attention. In the United States, most mainstream TV news sources (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC) ran headline stories on the protests by January 26, one day after the protests began. Sparked by an assignment in International Reporting J450 class, we selected 20 innovative news outlets to investigate whether they are likely to overcome the apparent disinterest of Americans, particularly the youth, in foreign news. Besides testing those news outlets for one week, we explored the coverage and financing of these outlets, and we are communicating with their editors and writers to best understand how and why they publish as they do. We will evaluate them, following a rubric, and categorize them based on their usefulness and effectiveness.
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Click on the links below to view examples of abstracts written by MSU students from different fields of study.
Sample Abstract - Communication Arts and Sciences
The Prevalence of Theoretical Behavior Change Components in the Top Breast Cancer Websites to Encourage Detection or Prevention Behaviors and to Solicit Donations
Sample Abstract - Engineering
Sensitivity Analysis of DSC Measurements of Denaturation of a Protein Mixture
Sample Abstract - Environmental and Natural Resources
Recycling in Michigan
Sample Abstract - Humanities
Memoirs of Genocide: From Poland to Sudan
Sample Abstract - Molecular Biology
The Role of Src-Homology-3 in the Activation Mechanism of MLK3
Sample Abstract - Performing and Visual Arts
Embodying Social Advocacy
Sample Abstract - Social Science
Individual Differences in Memory in Relation to Emotional Stimuli
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How To Write A Research Paper
Research Paper Example
Research Paper Example - Examples for Different Formats
Published on: Jun 12, 2021
Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023
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Writing a research paper is the most challenging task in a studentâs academic life. Students face similar writing process hardships, whether the research paper is to be written for high school or college.
A research paper is a writing type in which a detailed analysis, interpretation, and evaluation are made on the topic. It only requires not only time but also effort and skills to be drafted correctly.
If you are working on your research paper for the first time, here is a collection of examples that you will need to understand the paperâs format and how its different parts are drafted. Continue reading the article to get free research paper examples.
Research Paper Example for Different Formats
When writing a research paper, it is essential to know which format to use to structure your content. Depending on the requirements of the institution, there are mainly four format styles in which a writer drafts a research paper:
Letâs look into each format in detail to understand the fundamental differences and similarities.
Research Paper Example APA
If your instructor asks you to provide a research paper in an APA format, go through the example given below and understand the basic structure. Make sure to follow the format throughout the paper.
APA Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example MLA
Another widespread research paper format is MLA. A few institutes require this format style as well for your research paper. Look at the example provided of this format style to learn the basics.
MLA Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example Chicago
Unlike MLA and APA styles, Chicago is not very common. Very few institutions require this formatting style research paper, but it is essential to learn it. Look at the example given below to understand the formatting of the content and citations in the research paper.
Chicago Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example Harvard
Learn how a research paper through Harvard formatting style is written through this example. Carefully examine how the cover page and other pages are structured.
Harvard Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Examples for Different Research Paper Parts
A research paper is based on different parts. Each part plays a significant role in the overall success of the paper. So each chapter of the paper must be drafted correctly according to a format and structure.
Below are examples of how different sections of the research paper are drafted.
Research Proposal Example
A research proposal is a plan that describes what you will investigate, its significance, and how you will conduct the study.
Research Proposal Sample (PDF)
Abstract Research Paper Example
An abstract is an executive summary of the research paper that includes the purpose of the research, the design of the study, and significant research findings.
It is a small section that is based on a few paragraphs. Following is an example of the abstract to help you draft yours professionally.
Abstract Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Literature Review Research Paper Example
A literature review in a research paper is a comprehensive summary of the previous research on your topic. It studies sources like books, articles, journals, and papers on the relevant research problem to form the basis of the new research.
Writing this section of the research paper perfectly is as important as any part of it.
Literature Review in Research Sample (PDF)
Methods Section of Research Paper Example
The method section comes after the introduction of the research paper that presents the process of collecting data. Basically, in this section, a researcher presents the details of how your research was conducted.
Methods Section in Research Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Conclusion Example
The conclusion is the last part of your research paper that sums up the writerâs discussion for the audience and leaves an impression. This is how it should be drafted:
Research Paper Conclusion Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Examples for Different Fields
The research papers are not limited to a particular field. They can be written for any discipline or subject that needs a detailed study.
In the following section, various research paper examples are given to show how they are drafted for different subjects.
Science Research Paper Example
Are you a science student that has to conduct research? Here is an example for you to draft a compelling research paper for the field of science.
Science Research Paper Sample (PDF)
History Research Paper Example
Conducting research and drafting a paper is not only bound to science subjects. Other subjects like history and arts require a research paper to be written as well. Observe how research papers related to history are drafted.
History Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Psychology Research Paper Example
If you are a psychology student, look into the example provided in the research paper to help you draft yours professionally.
Psychology Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example for Different Levels
Writing a research paper is based on a list of elements. If the writer is not aware of the basic elements, the process of writing the paper will become daunting. Start writing your research paper taking the following steps:
- Choose a topic
- Form a strong thesis statement
- Conduct research
- Develop a research paper outline
Once you have a plan in your hand, the actual writing procedure will become a piece of cake for you.
No matter which level you are writing a research paper for, it has to be well structured and written to guarantee you better grades.
If you are a college or a high school student, the examples in the following section will be of great help.
Research Paper Outline (PDF)
Research Paper Example for College
Pay attention to the research paper example provided below. If you are a college student, this sample will help you understand how a winning paper is written.
College Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example for High School
Expert writers of CollegeEssay.org have provided an excellent example of a research paper for high school students. If you are struggling to draft an exceptional paper, go through the example provided.
High School Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Examples are essential when it comes to academic assignments. If you are a student and aim to achieve good grades in your assignments, it is suggested to get help from CollegeEssay.org .
We are the best writing company that helps students by providing free samples and writing assistance. Professional writers have your back, whether you are looking for guidance in writing a lab report, college essay, or research paper.
Simply hire a writer by placing your order at the most reasonable price. You can also take advantage from our essay writer to enhance your writing skills.
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What this handout is about
This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.
What is an abstract?
An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.
Why write an abstract?
You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.
Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:
This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.
From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.
Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.
When do people write abstracts?
- when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
- when applying for research grants
- when writing a book proposal
- when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
- when writing a proposal for a conference paper
- when writing a proposal for a book chapter
Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.
Types of abstracts
There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.
A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.
The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.
Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:
The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.
Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.
Which type should I use?
Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.
How do I write an abstract?
The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:
- Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
- Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
- Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
- Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
- Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?
(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )
All abstracts include:
- A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
- The most important information first.
- The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
- Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
- Clear, concise, and powerful language.
Abstracts may include:
- The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
- Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
- The same chronological structure as the original work.
How not to write an abstract:
- Do not refer extensively to other works.
- Do not add information not contained in the original work.
- Do not define terms.
If you are abstracting your own writing
When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.
This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .
For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.
Cut and paste:
To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.
If you are abstracting someone else’s writing
When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:
Identify key terms:
Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.
Highlight key phrases and sentences:
Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.
Don’t look back:
After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.
Revise, revise, revise
No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.
Example 1: Humanities abstract
Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998
This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.
Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.
What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.
How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.
What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.
Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.
Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation
Example 2: Science Abstract
Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998
The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.
This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.
Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.
What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.
Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.
Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.
Kilborn, Judith. 1998. “Writing Abstracts.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated October 20, 1998. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/bizwrite/abstracts.html .
Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .
Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.
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APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 3, 2022.
An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem , hypotheses , methods , results , and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.
Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.
Table of contents
How to format the abstract, how to write an apa abstract, which keywords to use, frequently asked questions, apa abstract example.
Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style:
- Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number.
- Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm).
- Write “Abstract” (bold and centered) at the top of the page.
- Do not indent the first line.
- Double-space the text.
- Use a legible font like Times New Roman (12 pt.).
- Limit the length to 250 words.
- Indent the first line 0.5 inches.
- Write the label “Keywords:” (italicized).
- Write keywords in lowercase letters.
- Separate keywords with commas.
- Do not use a period after the keywords.
Are your APA in-text citations flawless?
The AI-powered APA Citation Checker points out every error, tells you exactly what’s wrong, and explains how to fix it. Say goodbye to losing marks on your assignment!
The abstract is a self-contained piece of text that informs the reader what your research is about. It’s best to write the abstract after you’re finished with the rest of your paper.
The questions below may help structure your abstract. Try answering them in one to three sentences each.
- What is the problem? Outline the objective, research questions , and/or hypotheses .
- What has been done? Explain your research methods .
- What did you discover? Summarize the key findings and conclusions .
- What do the findings mean? Summarize the discussion and recommendations .
Check out our guide on how to write an abstract for more guidance and an annotated example.
Guide: writing an abstract
At the end of the abstract, you may include a few keywords that will be used for indexing if your paper is published on a database. Listing your keywords will help other researchers find your work.
Choosing relevant keywords is essential. Try to identify keywords that address your topic, method, or population. APA recommends including three to five keywords.
An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.
An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
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- How to Write An Abstract For Research Papers: Tips & Examples
In many ways, an abstract is like a trailer of a movie or the synopsis of your favorite book. Its job is to whet the reader’s appetite by sharing important information about your work. After reading a well-written abstract, one should have enough interest to explore the full research thesis.
So how do you write an interesting abstract that captures the core of your study? First, you need to understand your research objectives and match them with the key results of your study. In this article, we will share some tips for writing an effective abstract, plus samples you can learn from.
What is an Abstract in Research Writing?
In simple terms, an abstract is a concise write-up that gives an overview of your systematic investigation. According to Grammarly, it is a self-contained summary of a larger work, and it serves as a preview of the bigger document.
It usually appears at the beginning of your thesis or research paper and helps the reader to have an overview of your work without going into great detail. This means that when someone reads your abstract, it should give them a clear idea of the purpose of your systematic investigation, your problem statement, key results, and any gaps requiring further investigation.
So how long should your abstract be to capture all of these details? The reality is you don’t need a lot of words to capture key pieces of information in your abstract. Typically, 6–7 sentences made up of 150–250 words should be just right.
Read: Writing Research Proposals: Tips, Examples & Mistakes
What are the Characteristics of a Good Abstract?
- A good abstract clearly states the aims and objectives of the research.
- It outlines the research methodology for data gathering , processing and analysis.
- A good abstract summarizes specific research results.
- It states the key conclusions of the systematic investigation.
- It is brief yet straight to the point.
- A good abstract is unified and coherent.
- It is easy to understand and devoid of technical jargon.
- It is written in an unbiased and objective manner.
What is the Purpose of an Abstract?
Every abstract has two major purposes. First, it communicates the relevance of your systematic investigation to readers. After reading your abstract, people can determine how relevant your study is to their primary or secondary research purpose.
The second purpose of an abstract is to communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper. Research papers typically run into tens of pages so it takes time to read and digest them. To help readers grasp the core ideas in a systematic investigation, it pays to have a well-written abstract that outlines important information concerning your study.
In all, your abstract should accurately outline the most important information in your research. Many times, it determines whether people would go ahead to read your dissertation. Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your thesis easily findable.
Learn About: How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research
What are the Sections of an Abstract?
You already know the key pieces of information that your abstract should communicate. These details are broken into six important sections of the abstract which are:
- The Introduction or Background
- Research Methodology
- Aims and Objectives
Let’s discuss them in detail.
- The Introduction or Background
The introduction or background is the shortest part of your abstract and usually consists of 2–3 sentences. In fact, some researchers write a single sentence as the introduction of their abstract. The whole idea here is to take the reader through the important events leading to your research.
Understandably, this information may appear difficult to convey in a few sentences. To help out, consider answering these two questions in the background to your study :
- What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question?
- What is not known about the subject (this is the focus of your study)?
As much as possible, ensure that your abstract’s introduction doesn’t eat into the word count for the other key information.
- Research Methodology
This is the section where you spell out any theories and methods adopted for your study. Ideally, you should cover what has been done and how you went about it to achieve the results of your systematic investigation. It is usually the second-longest section in the abstract.
In the research methodology section, you should also state the type of research you embarked on; that is, qualitative research or quantitative research —this will inform your research methods too. If you’ve conducted quantitative research, your abstract should contain information like the sample size, data collection methods , sampling technique, and duration of your experiment.
Explore: 21 Chrome Extensions for Academic Researchers in 2021
In the end, readers are most interested in the results you’ve achieved with your study. This means you should take time to outline every relevant outcome and show how they affect your research population . Typically, the results section should be the longest one in your abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality.
An important thing you should do here is spelled out facts and figures about research outcomes. Instead of a vague statement like, “we noticed that response rates differed greatly between high-income and low-income respondents”, try this: “The response rate was higher in high-income respondents than in their low-income counterparts (59% vs 30%, respectively; P
Like the introduction, your conclusion should contain a few sentences that wrap up your abstract. Most researchers express a theoretical opinion about the implications of their study, here.
Your conclusion should contain three important elements:
- The primary take-home message
- The additional findings of importance
- The perspective
Although the conclusion of your abstract should be short, it has a great impact on how readers perceive your study. So, take advantage of this section to reiterate the core message in your systematic investigation. Also, make sure any statements here reflect the true outcomes and methods of your research.
Chances are you must have faced certain challenges in the course of your research—it could be at the data collection phase or during sampling . Whatever these challenges are, it pays to let your readers know about them, and the impact they had on your study.
For example, if you had to switch to convenience sampling or snowball sampling due to difficulties in contacting well-suited research participants, you should include this in your abstract. Also, a lack of previous studies in the research area could pose a limitation on your study. Research limitations provide an opportunity to make suggestions for further research.
Research aims and objectives speak to what you want to achieve with your study. Typically, research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes while the objectives focus on the immediate, short-term outcome of the investigation. You may summarize both using a single paragraph comprising a few sentences.
Stating your aims and objectives will give readers a clear idea of the scope, depth, and direction that your research will ultimately take. Readers would measure your research outcomes against stated aims and objectives to know if you achieved the purpose of your study.
Use For Free: Research Form Templates
Abstract Writing Styles and General Guidelines
Now that you know the different sections plus information that your abstract should contain, let’s look at how to write an abstract for your research paper.
A common question that comes up is, should I write my abstract first or last? It’s best to write your abstract after you’ve finished working on the research because you have full information to present to your readers. However, you can always create a draft at the beginning of your systematic investigation and fill in the gaps later.
Does writing an abstract seem like a herculean task? Here are a few tips to help out.
1. Always create a framework for your abstract
Before you start writing, take time to develop a detailed outline for your abstract. Break it into sections and sketch the main and supporting points for each section. You can list keywords plus 1–2 sentences that capture your core messaging.
2. Read Other Abstracts
Abstracts are one of the most common research documents, and thousands of them have been written in time past. So, before writing yours, try to study a couple of samples from others. You can find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases.
3. Steer Clear of Jargon As Much As Possible
While writing your abstract, emphasize clarity over style. This means you should communicate in simple terms and avoid unnecessary filler words and ambiguous sentences. Remember, your abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
4. Focus on Your Research
It goes without saying that your abstract should be solely focused on your research and what you’ve discovered. It’s not the time to cite primary and secondary data sources unless this is absolutely necessary.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the scholarly background of your work. You might include a sentence or two summarizing the scholarly background to show the relevance of your work to a broader debate, but there’s no need to mention specific publications.
Going further, here are some abstract writing guidelines from the University of Bergen:
- An abstract briefly explains the salient aspects of the content.
- Abstracts should be accurate and succinct, self-contained, and readable.
- The abstract should paraphrase and summarise rather than quote from the paper.
- Abstracts should relate only to the paper to be presented/assessed.
Types of Abstracts with Examples
According to the University of Adelaide, there are two major types of abstracts written for research purposes. First, we have informative abstracts and descriptive abstracts.
1. Informative Abstract
An informative abstract is the more common type of abstract written for academic research. It highlights the most important aspects of your systematic investigation without going into unnecessary or irrelevant details that the reader might not find useful.
The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of longer work, it may be much less.
In any informative abstract, you’d touch on information like the purpose, method, scope, results, and conclusion of your study. By now, you’re thinking, “this is the type of abstract we’ve been discussing all along”, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth.
Advantages of Informative Abstracts
- These abstracts save time for both the researcher and the readers.
- It’s easy to refer to these abstracts as secondary research sources.
Disadvantages of Informative Abstracts
- These types of abstracts lack personality.
Example of an Informative Abstract
- Sample Informative Abstract Based on Experimental Work From Colorado State University
- Sample Informative Abstract Based on Non-experimental Work From Colorado State University
2. Descriptive Abstract
A descriptive abstract reads like a synopsis and focuses on enticing the reader with interesting information. They don’t care as much for data and details, and instead read more like overviews that don’t give too much away.
You’d find descriptive abstracts in artistic criticism pieces and entertainment research as opposed to scientific investigations. This type of abstract makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. They are usually written in 100 words or less.
Advantages of Descriptive Abstracts
- It gives a very brief overview of the research paper.
- It is easier to write descriptive abstracts compared to informational abstracts.
Disadvantages of Descriptive Abstracts
- They are suitable for scientific research.
- Descriptive abstracts might omit relevant information that deepens your knowledge of the systematic investigation.
Example of Descriptive Abstracts
- Sample Descriptive Abstract From Colorado State University
FAQs About Writing Abstracts in Research Papers
1. How Long Should an Abstract Be?
A typical abstract should be about six sentences long or less than 150 words. Most universities have specific word count requirements that fall within 150–300 words.
2. How Do You Start an Abstract Sentence?
There are several ways to start your abstract. Consider the following methods:
- State a problem or uncertainty
- Make a general statement with the present research action.
- State the purpose or objective of your research
- State a real-world phenomena or a standard practice.
3. Should you cite in an abstract?
While you can refer to information from specific research papers, there’s no need to cite sources in your abstract. Your abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
4. What should not be included in an abstract?
An abstract shouldn’t have numeric references, bibliographies, sections, or even footnotes.
5. Which tense is used in writing an abstract?
An abstract should be written in the third-person present tense. Use the simple past tense when describing your methodology and specific findings from your study.
Writing an abstract might appear challenging but with these steps, you should get it right. The easiest approach to writing a good abstract is centering it on key information including your research problem and objectives, methodology, and key results.
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How to Write an Abstract
Last Updated: May 6, 2021 Approved
This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 60 testimonials and 86% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 4,887,778 times.
If you need to write an abstract for an academic or scientific paper, don't panic! Your abstract is simply a short, stand-alone summary of the work or paper that others can use as an overview.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source An abstract describes what you do in your essay, whether it’s a scientific experiment or a literary analysis paper. It should help your reader understand the paper and help people searching for this paper decide whether it suits their purposes prior to reading. To write an abstract, finish your paper first, then type a summary that identifies the purpose, problem, methods, results, and conclusion of your work. After you get the details down, all that's left is to format it correctly. Since an abstract is only a summary of the work you've already done, it's easy to accomplish!
Getting Your Abstract Started
- A thesis and an abstract are entirely different things. The thesis of a paper introduces the main idea or question, while the abstract works to review the entirety of the paper, including the methods and results.
- Even if you think that you know what your paper is going to be about, always save the abstract for last. You will be able to give a much more accurate summary if you do just that - summarize what you've already written.
- Is there a maximum or minimum length?
- Are there style requirements?
- Are you writing for an instructor or a publication?
- Will other academics in your field read this abstract?
- Should it be accessible to a lay reader or somebody from another field?
- Descriptive abstracts explain the purpose, goal, and methods of your research but leave out the results section. These are typically only 100-200 words.
- Informative abstracts are like a condensed version of your paper, giving an overview of everything in your research including the results. These are much longer than descriptive abstracts, and can be anywhere from a single paragraph to a whole page long.  X Research source
- The basic information included in both styles of abstract is the same, with the main difference being that the results are only included in an informative abstract, and an informative abstract is much longer than a descriptive one.
- A critical abstract is not often used, but it may be required in some courses. A critical abstract accomplishes the same goals as the other types of abstract, but will also relate the study or work being discussed to the writer’s own research. It may critique the research design or methods.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
Writing Your Abstract
- Why did you decide to do this study or project?
- How did you conduct your research?
- What did you find?
- Why is this research and your findings important?
- Why should someone read your entire essay?
- What problem is your research trying to better understand or solve?
- What is the scope of your study - a general problem, or something specific?
- What is your main claim or argument?
- Discuss your own research including the variables and your approach.
- Describe the evidence you have to support your claim
- Give an overview of your most important sources.
- What answer did you reach from your research or study?
- Was your hypothesis or argument supported?
- What are the general findings?
- What are the implications of your work?
- Are your results general or very specific?
Formatting Your Abstract
- Many journals have specific style guides for abstracts. If you’ve been given a set of rules or guidelines, follow them to the letter.  X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source
- Avoid using direct acronyms or abbreviations in the abstract, as these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader. That uses up precious writing room, and should generally be avoided.
- If your topic is about something well-known enough, you can reference the names of people or places that your paper focuses on.
- Don’t include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract. These take up too much room and usually aren’t what your readers want from an abstract anyway.  X Research source
- For example, if you’re writing a paper on the cultural differences in perceptions of schizophrenia, be sure to use words like “schizophrenia,” “cross-cultural,” “culture-bound,” “mental illness,” and “societal acceptance.” These might be search terms people use when looking for a paper on your subject.
- Make sure to avoid jargon. This specialized vocabulary may not be understood by general readers in your area and can cause confusion.  X Research source
- Consulting with your professor, a colleague in your field, or a tutor or writing center consultant can be very helpful. If you have these resources available to you, use them!
- Asking for assistance can also let you know about any conventions in your field. For example, it is very common to use the passive voice (“experiments were performed”) in the sciences. However, in the humanities active voice is usually preferred.
Sample Abstracts and Outline
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Abstracts are typically a paragraph or two and should be no more than 10% of the length of the full essay. Look at other abstracts in similar publications for an idea of how yours should go.  X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Consider carefully how technical the paper or the abstract should be. It is often reasonable to assume that your readers have some understanding of your field and the specific language it entails, but anything you can do to make the abstract more easily readable is a good thing. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/abstracts/
- ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/presentations_abstracts_examples.html
- ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/
- ↑ https://www.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/
- ↑ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/
- ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/presentations_abstracts.html
About This Article
To write an abstract, start with a short paragraph that explains the purpose of your paper and what it's about. Then, write a paragraph explaining any arguments or claims you make in your paper. Follow that with a third paragraph that details the research methods you used and any evidence you found for your claims. Finally, conclude your abstract with a brief section that tells readers why your findings are important. To learn how to properly format your abstract, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Example
Research Paper Example - APA and MLA Format
12 min read
Published on: Nov 27, 2017
Last updated on: Oct 25, 2023
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Do you spend time staring at the screen and thinking about how to approach a monstrous research paper ?
If yes, you are not alone.
Research papers are no less than a curse for high school and college students.
It takes time, effort, and expertise to craft a striking research paper.
Every other person craves to master the magic of producing impressive research papers.
Continue with the guide to investigate the mysterious nature of different types of research through examples.
Research Paper Example for Different Formats
An academic paper doesn't have to be boring. You can use an anecdote, a provocative question, or a quote to begin the introduction.
Learning from introductions written in professional college papers is the best strategy.
Have a look at the expertise of the writer in the following example.
Social Media and Social Media Marketing: A Literature Review
APA Research Paper Example
While writing research papers, you must pay attention to the required format.
Follow the example when the instructor mentions the APA format .
Effects of Food Deprivation of Concentration and Preserverance
Research Paper Example APA 7th Edition
Research Paper Example MLA
Once you are done with APA format, let’s practice the art of writing quality MLA papers.
Found Voices: Carl Sagan
We have provided you with a top-notch research paper example in MLA format here.
Research Paper Example Chicago
Chicago style is not very common, but it is important to learn. Few institutions require this style for research papers, but it is essential to learn. The content and citations in the research paper are formatted like this example.
Chicago Research Paper Sample
Research Paper Example Harvard
To learn how a research paper is written using the Harvard citation style , carefully examine this example. Note the structure of the cover page and other pages.
Harvard Research Paper Sample
Examples for Different Research Paper Parts
A research paper has different parts. Each part is important for the overall success of the paper. Chapters in a research paper must be written correctly, using a certain format and structure.
The following are examples of how different sections of the research paper can be written.
Example of Research Proposal
What is the first step to starting a research paper?
Submitting the research proposal!
It involves several sections that take a toll on beginners.
Here is a detailed guide to help you write a research proposal .
Are you a beginner or do you lack experience? Don’t worry.
The following example of a research paper is the perfect place to get started.
View Research Proposal Example Here
Research Paper Example Abstract
After submitting the research proposal, prepare to write a seasoned abstract section.
The abstract delivers the bigger picture by revealing the purpose of the research.
A common mistake students make is writing it the same way a summary is written.
It is not merely a summary but an analysis of the whole research project. Still confused?
Read the abstract mentioned in the following research to get a better idea.
Affirmative Action: What Do We Know? - Abstract Example
Literature Review Research Paper Example
What if a novice person reads your research paper?
He will never understand the critical elements involved in the research paper.
To enlighten him, focus on the literature review section. This section offers an extensive analysis of the past research conducted on the paper topics.
It is relatively easier than other sections of the paper.
Take a closer look at the paper below to find out.
Methods Section of Research Paper Example
While writing research papers, excellent papers focus a great deal on the methodology.
Yes, the research sample and methodology define the fate of the papers.
Are you facing trouble going through the methodology section?
Relax and let comprehensive sample research papers clear your doubts.
View Methods Section of Research Paper Here
Research Paper Conclusion Example
The conclusion leaves the last impression on the reader.
“Who cares for the last impression? It’s always the first.”
Don’t be fooled!
The conclusion sets the tone of the whole research paper properly.
A key list of elements must be present in conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.
The Conclusion: Your Paper's Final Impression
View the sample paper and identify the points you thought were never a part of the conclusion.
Get Quick AI Research Help!
Research Paper Examples for Different Fields
Research papers can be about any subject that needs a detailed study. The following examples show how research papers are written for different subjects.
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Sociology Research Paper Sample
A Descriptive Statistical Analysis within the State of Virginia
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Psychology Research Paper Sample
The Effects of Food Deprivation on Concentration and Preserverance
Art History Research Paper Sample
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Scientific Research Paper Example
We have discussed several elements of research papers through examples.
Introduction in Research Paper!
Read on to move towards advanced versions of information.
Scientific research paper
Let's have a look at the template and an example to elaborate on concepts.
- Related Work
- Research Methodology
- Results and Discussion
- Conclusion & Future Work
The name itself sounds terrifying to many students. Make no mistake; it sure is dangerous when touched without practice.
Students become afraid and hence aspire to locate an outstanding essay paper writer to get their papers done.
Detailed, high-quality, and credible sources and samples are a must to be shared here.
Science Fair Paper Format
Example of Methodology in Research Paper
The words methodology, procedure, and approach are the same. They indicate the approach pursued by the researcher while conducting research to accomplish the goal through research.
The methodology is the bloodline of the research paper.
A practical or assumed procedure is used to conduct the methodology.
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See the way the researcher has shared participants and limits in the methodology section of the example.
Research Paper Example for Different Levels
The process of writing a research paper is based on a set of steps. The process will seem daunting if you are unaware of the basic steps. Start writing your research paper by taking the following steps:
- Choose a Topic
- Create a thesis statement
- Do in-depth research for the research study
- Create an outline
You will find writing a research paper much easier once you have a plan.
No matter which level you are writing at, your research paper needs to be well structured.
Research Paper Example Outline
Before you plan on writing a well-researched paper, make a rough draft.
Brainstorm again and again!
Pour all of your ideas into the basket of the outline.
What will it include?
A standard is not set but follow the research paper outline example below:
View Research Paper Outline Example Here
This example outlines the following elements:
- Thesis Statement
Utilize this standard of outline in your research papers to polish your paper. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you write a research paper according to this format.
Good Research Paper Examples for Students
Theoretically, good research paper examples will meet the objectives of the research.
Always remember! The first goal of the research paper is to explain ideas, goals, and theory as clearly as water.
Yes, leave no room for confusion of any sort.
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Qualitative Research Paper Example
Research Paper Example Introduction
How to Write a Research Paper Example?
Research Paper Example for High School
When the professor reads such a professional research paper, he will be delighted.
Grant of funds for the project!
Appreciation in Class!
You'll surely be highly rewarded.
Research Paper Conclusion
“Who cares for the last impression? It's always the first.”
Don't be fooled!
A key list of elements must be present in the conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.
Critical Research Paper
To write a research paper remarkably, include the following ingredients in it:
- Justification of the Experimental Design
- Analysis of Results
- Validation of the Study
How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper
Theoretical Framework Examples
The theoretical framework is the key to establish credibility in research papers.
Read the purpose of the theoretical framework before following it in the research paper.
The researcher offers a guide through a theoretical framework.
- Philosophical view
- Conceptual Analysis
- Benefits of the Research
An in-depth analysis of theoretical framework examples research paper is underlined in the sample below.
View Theoretical Framework Example Here
Now that you have explored the research paper examples, you can start working on your research project. Hopefully, these examples will help you understand the writing process for a research paper.
If you're facing challenges with your writing requirements, think about hiring an online custom paper writing service .
MyPerfectWords.com is your trusted solution for obtaining a custom research paper and assisting students with their unique writing needs.
Don't hesitate – Hire our writing service now.
Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)
Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.
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