The easiest approach to writing an abstract is to imitate the structure of the larger work—think of it as a miniature version of your dissertation or research paper. In most cases, this means the abstract should contain four key elements.
Types of Research Papers
You may be asked to prepare various kinds of research papers as a student, including:
- Empirical study
- Case study
Many papers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences follow IMRaD structure: their main sections are entitled Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. People use the abstract to decide whether to read the rest of the paper, so the abstract for such a paper is important.
Because the abstract provides the highlights of the paper, you should draft your abstract after you have written a full draft of the paper. Doing so, you can summarize what you’ve already written in the paper as you compose the abstract.