How to write a good abstract in a research paper?


The abstract is a precise summary of the entire research paper. It should entice the reader into reading the full paper, so authors spend substantial amount of time and effort into crafting an abstract that provides a gist of the entire experimental study.

In conferences, an abstract is presented to keynote speakers and reviewers. They judge the entire quality of a research paper only on the basis of the abstract. If the abstract is good, the entire paper would be selected for presentation to the audience. An abstract is considered as an indicator of the quality of content in a research paper.

Let’s understand the purpose of writing a good abstract for a scientific research paper. An abstract should provide a brief overview of the entire research paper. A reader must be provided with the following content: background, objective, methods, results, and conclusion.

In general, an abstract has to be not more than 250 to 300 words. The objective should state clearly what was the motive of conducting the research study. The methods should describe how the experimental research study was conducted. The results should mention the novel findings of this study. Finally, the conclusion must state the significance of the research study.

In general, just two to three sentences must be included in the background of the study. They should effectively guide the reader into the investigational methods used in the study. Next, the objective of the study should not be more than one sentence in length. Thereafter, the methods section should clearly describe the research study design.

The results section must be written in detail and include all the important information about the findings in the study. It is the longest section of the abstract; however, the word count limit of the abstract must be kept in mind while writing the results. Finally, the conclusion of the abstract should include the three important components: the significance of the study, additional important findings, and the perspective of the study.



An overview of the different types of academic writing for researchers


An academic career cannot take off smoothly unless a researcher masters the art of writing in academics. A researcher is usually a student pursuing PhD or post-doctoral research. Therefore, they can put their creativity and imagination to good use in academics. Proposal writing and abstract writing are the two most important types of academic writing, which are needed to secure research grants and publications. In this article, we provide tips on how to master the art of academic writing.

Proposal Writing

In academia, researchers have to write a draft of research proposals or grant proposals. This draft should basically provide an outline of your research. A well-written research proposal is the best way to communicate research plans, which can then be implemented successfully. A grant proposal needs to be well written for receiving funds from a bank or other funding institution. The structure of the writing proposal needs to be carefully drafted for this purpose.

In general, a conventional paper would have the following components: title, abstract, introduction, research questions, literature review, methodology, conclusion, and bibliography. Most readers are well acquainted with such kinds of research plans and the results of such a proposal will be maximum. While writing a grant proposal, academics should clearly outline the following terms: source of funding, goals, timing of the research study, educational qualifications, and documentation.

Dissertation Writing

In academic writing, most researchers are compelled to master the art of dissertation writing. To complete their MSc or PhD degree, most researchers have to defend their completed dissertation. The tone of writing, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and citations are all very important aspects of dissertation writing. In a dissertation, all ideas have to be presented and cited from related studies. The sources that are referenced should be done in accordance with academic style guides, such as the APA, AMA, or the Chicago Manual of Style. The arguments presented in the dissertation must be obtained from trusted sources.

Abstract writing

Among all forms of academic writing, abstracts are required to be written by all researchers in their dissertation and thesis. An abstract is a short summary of the entire paper and should present the objectives, methods, results, and conclusion in not more than 250 to 300 words. Because of wordcount limit, researchers need to write the content very precisely and concisely. An abstract would also include a number of keywords, depending on the topic of the research study. Most essays and thesis contain an abstract section before the introduction section.

General instructions for manuscript writing

Although different journals have different guidelines for submission, science papers need to written in a simple and lucid manner. Some of the most important tips for writing a scientific manuscript are as follows: the paper must be written in a manner that is clear and concise. Consistency should be maintained in terms of quality of content. Authors need to do away with redundant content. Vague statements must be avoided at all costs. In case of abbreviations, they should be spelt out at the first instance. Unless stated otherwise, numerals from zero to nine must be spelt out. Numerals from 10 onwards must be written for all numbers.

If the paper has to be translated into English, then special attention needs to be paid for scientific terminology. In English, a decimal point separates numbers and not a comma. Construct relatively simple sentences such that the verb is close to the subject.  Although the use of personal pronouns is encouraged, it should not be done indiscriminately. For example, “In our study, we performed….” Avoid using personal pronouns in Methods section or Figure legends. It is preferable to write in active voice and not passive voice. A semi-colon must be used to separate items if the lists are long and complicated. The Abstract, Methods, and Results must be written in past tense. On the other hand, Introduction and Discussion sections are primarily written in present tense. Please note that British and American English is vastly different in terms of spellings, so maintain language consistency as per journal requirements.

General manuscript layout:

An experimental study is generally segregated into four sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. A manuscript must include consecutive page numbers, right from the title page. The title page is the first page of the manuscript and it should contain the following information: article title, authors(s), and sources of support. Article title should be concise and clear to many scientific readers. It must clearly indicate the purpose of the study, including keywords. This would help in electronically retrieving the article. Include the names and institutional affiliation of author(s) in the paper. Mailing address, telephone numbers, and email address must also be included in case of Author(s). Grants and equipment used in the study must be presented as Sources of support.


This follows the title page. A clear and precise abstract must be not more than 250 to 300 words. An abstract generally consists of the study’s objective, background, procedures, findings, and conclusion. Only new findings must be presented in this section. Abbreviations must be spelt out in this section.


This section is included in the main body of the manuscript. In most journals, this section is presented after the Abstract page. The introduction section must develop the context and background of the experimental study. For this purpose, findings of previous studies related to the objective of the current study must be presented. Statistical data and results of previous studies must not be presented in this section. The objective or aim of the current study must be presented at the end of the Introduction section. Most sentences in this section must be written in present tense.

Materials and Methods

In most journals, this section follows the Introduction section. In this section, authors must describe “why they conducted the experiment” and “how they conducted the experiment”. All reagents, equipment, and chemicals used in the experiment must be mentioned along manufacturer’s information. The information should be presented in past tense and passive. Authors should not write sentences “In our study, we perform…………”

The information presented in this section must be such that a knowledgeable expert can perform the experiment simply by reading this section. New methods must be explained in detail whereas well-known methods must be referenced. Unless stated otherwise in the journal, abbreviations should be spelt out at the first instance; however, there may be some standard abbreviations that do not need to be spelt out. These standard abbreviations are stated in the journal.


This section must be written in past tense, and it should present the most important findings.  Authors should describe prominent observations of the experiment in this section. Supplementary information can be presented in the appendix. Authors should present numerical results in terms of absolute numbers and their derivatives, i.e. percentages. In this section, statistical terms such as “normal” “significant difference” and “random” must not be used for non-technical purposes. These terms should be strictly used to present “Statistical Analyses” in the Results section.


This section must be presented after Results section. Novel findings of the current study must be presented in correlation with related studies. The sentence structure must be preferably in the present tense. Conclusions of the current study must be presented in the final paragraph of Discussion section. Data presented in previous sections should not be presented in this section. Limitations of this study must be presented in Conclusion section. Implications must be presented in Discussion section. Authors should not include statements that cannot be backed up with conclusive evidences.