June 19, 2024

What is the Role of an Abstract in a Research Paper?

Role of an Abstract in a Research Paper

Why does a researcher write an abstract? What is the role of the abstract in a research paper? What is so intriguing about writing a good abstract? These are some of the most common questions that students ask when it comes to writing an abstract. In a broader view, an abstract is the summary of the research work that you have carried out. It acts as a guide for the reader and explains to him the overall research study.

 However, it is just the basic purpose that an abstract in a research paper serves. There are many other roles of this section in a research paper. As you are here to learn, we will unpack all those roles one by one. However, before doing this, let’s define abstract.

What is an abstract in a research paper?

An abstract is the summary of your research work. However, the comprehensive definition of abstract is as follows: “An abstract is a well-developed single paragraph which is about 200 to 250 words in length describing the overall research work.” An abstract outline all the parts of the research study briefly and explains them one by one to the reader. For example, it talks about the methods used and the results obtained.

The role of abstract in research paper

As every other section in a research paper has a unique role, the abstract also has its own role. It is a concise and to-the-point academic text which has different roles in research. However, a brief description of some of its roles is as follows:

  • Communicate the findings. The main role of an abstract in a research paper is to communicate the findings of the research study. It highlights the main findings of the research and assists those readers who do not have time to read the whole text.
  • Provides an overview. The second role of an abstract is that it aims at providing an overview of the whole research work to the reader. It does so by explaining the methods used and communicating the results obtained after data analysis.
  • Relevance of the research. Sometimes, the readers read the abstract to know about its relevance to their research study. Hence, it is another role that it plays. By reading it, the readers get an idea of to what extent it is relevant to their research.
  • Application for research grants. Another role that an abstract in a research paper play is that it helps you win research grants. Most grant providers ask you to provide the abstract of your last research to make the final decision.

Top tips for writing a good abstract in a research paper

After reading the information above, you now have got a good idea of the role of an abstract. Now, let’s look at some tips that can help you craft a good abstract. The top tips for writing such an abstract are as follows:

1. Write at the end

While the abstract comes at the start of the research paper, you must write it after finishing your research paper. It is necessary because after completing the research paper, you get a clear picture of your research work in your mind. This clear picture further allows you to craft a perfect abstract. However, if you still cannot craft it right in your proposal or research paper, go and get research proposal help online.

2. Do not copy from the main text

Another tip for writing an effective abstract in a research paper is that you must not copy content from the main text. Mostly, students take the initial lines of the chapters and paste them into the abstract. It is a very wrong practice and can lead to failure or rejection of your research paper. Always write the abstract from scratch.

3. Write according to the guidelines

Be sure to check your journal’s guidelines when writing an abstract for a research paper. The reason is that most journals look at the abstract first and then review the whole research paper. If your abstract is not that impressive, how can your paper get published? Hence, write the abstract according to the guidelines.

4. Enter research keywords

Every research study has some points or keywords, which are the essence of the whole research. As the writer and researcher, you must add those keywords in the abstract section. It does two things. First, it makes the abstract in a research paper more authentic and readable. Secondly, the use of keywords ranks the research paper high in google search results.


Conclusively, the abstract is a crucial element in a research paper. It plays different roles, and providing an overview of the whole research is one of the important ones. However, this role can only be played if you craft the abstract right. Hence, you must read all the tips mentioned above and write the abstract accordingly.

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