Some teachers will require that you include an abstract in your term paper. The first step to writing a great abstract is understanding what a great abstract should be. In general, it is a brief summary of your whole paper. The idea is that someone should be able to read it, and have a pretty good idea of what your paper is about, what your major argument or findings are, and what they would get from reading the whole paper. But abstracts should only be 150-250 words for most disciplines, which means that you need to fit a lot of information into a very small space.
Follow these tips and tricks to compose an excellent abstract for your term paper.
The first key to a good abstract is to write it last, after you’ve finished the rest of your paper. Some students will try to write it first, summarizing what they think their paper will be about. But invariably, some things will change during the writing process. By waiting till the end, when you’ve written the whole paper, you’ll have a better view of the paper as a whole, which is an important aspect of the abstract.
Your paper will have several different sections, though what they are will likely depend on what kind of paper it is. In general though, you’ll have an introduction, a thesis statement, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In research papers you may also have methodology, results, and discussion sections. Regardless of how your paper is set up, it is a good strategy to summarize each section in one or two sentences. Then, put together, you’ll have a brief summary of the whole paper. Keep in mind though, that it should read like a coherent paragraph, not just a list of sentences, so it may take a bit of work to tie together your summary sentences so they read smoothly.
As mentioned above, if your paper includes a methodology, you should be sure to include it in your paper. Many students will tend to treat an abstract like a conclusion section, only summarizing their results or findings. But it is important that you include all aspects of the paper.
This is one of the hardest parts about writing an abstract, and is what sets good ones apart from great ones. In addition to being concise and thorough, you want your abstract to leave the reader wanting to read the rest of your paper.
After writing and rewriting your content and polishing your final draft, your work is not quite finished just yet. This is where you add any final touches you had yet to complete that your paper may require. These elements may include a title page, works cited page, and setting margins and page spacing. Your content may need to follow a specific order and this is the best time to ensure your work displays it. For instance, your format may include an abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion in this order. Some students may find it easier to incorporate these requirements into their paper as they are writing it instead of waiting until the end.