Writing an Abstract

How to Write an Abstract

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a short preview of your report intended to inform potential readers about your topic, research, and findings. It usually comes at the beginning of a paper and allows people to get a brief glimpse into the content of your research before reading your report in its entirety.

Abstracts are also commonly used as presentation proposals for academic conferences. The abstract gives conference organizers an idea of what you will present. At times, the abstract is publicized in the conference program, so that attendees can decide whether to attend your session or someone else’s. For all these reasons, it’s important that an abstract be clearly written and give a focused overview of your report or presentation.

What to include in an abstract

An abstract should include the following:

  • A title that clearly indicates the focus of your report, presentation, or essay
  • The research or data that you have incorporated into the report
  • The methodology you used to collect data (if you are writing a scientific report) or the logical structure or theoretical framework from which you are writing your argument (if you are writing an essay in the humanities)
  • Your findings, if you are writing a scientific report; your argument, if you are writing an essay in the humanities
  • If you have space, a hint as to the implications of your findings or the general importance of your argument

A good exercise for writing an abstract is to continually answer the question “What is my report/paper/presentation about?” or, more accurately, “What does my report/paper/presentation do?”

The Writing Center 

All writers may benefit from working with a writing consultant on their SSD project. Consultants can provide feedback, resources, and help you improve and evolve your project. Consultants can assist you with any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming and idea generation through final revision, formatting, and citation. While any writing consultant can provide substantive feedback, if you would like to work with a consultant who has more familiarity with your discipline, please visit our consultant bio page before scheduling an appointment in Book It (https://www.gvsu.edu/bookit). Every hour the writing center is open, we provide in-person and online support (over Google Meet/Docs as well as email). You can schedule in advance if you have a time, location, or specific consultant in mind, but we also support drop-ins, where you come to a location (or enter the online queue in Book It) and you can work with the first available consultant. Book It also connects you to all Knowledge Market services, including the Library Research Center, Speech Lab, and Digital Skills consultants. 

SSD ABSTRACTS: Please note, abstracts submitted to SSD are limited to 200 words.

Page last modified December 18, 2023