How to Write an Abstract: Basic Guides for Students

How to

What to include?

The content of the abstract includes:

  • What and why.
  • What you found.
  • How you did it.

But how do we begin?

First, let us see some opening sentences that DO NOT offer real information:

This paper reports on a method for…

The paper explores the notions of…

The purpose of our research is to consider how…

The objective of this study is to determine…

Thus, it is clear that you should avoid writing a statement of scope.
On the other hand, the sentences bellow represent good examples of introductory statements, for they go directly into the subject. They give something to the reader. Let us see how it works:

The development process of hypermedia and web systems poses very specific problems that do not appear in other software applications, such as…
Given a large set of data, a common data mining problem is to extract the frequent patterns occurring in this set.

According to many recent studies the effect of learning style on academic performance has been found to be significant and mismatch between teaching and learning styles causes learning failure and frustration. More tips you can find at Write an abstract article.

Do’s and don’ts of abstract writing

  • Do write a single paragraph.
  • Do meet the specific word length.
  • Do answer the questions: what, why, and how.
  • Do use familiar language to the reader.
  • Do use a few keywords.
  • Do write short sentences.
  • Do improve transitions between the sentences.
  • Do use active voice.
  • Do use third person singular.
  • Do begin with a clear introductory statement written in the present tense.
  • Do use past tense in the main body.
  • Do write a concluding statement in the present tense: just tells what the results mean (e.g. “These results suggest…”).
  • Do fix grammar.
  • Do use headings, subheadings and tables as a guide for writing.
  • Do print and reread the abstract.


  • Don’t cite the sections of the paper.
  • Don’t include references to the literature and to figures and tables.
  • Don’t use abbreviations.
  • Don’t add new information.
  • Don’t add superfluous information.
  • Don’t add opinions.
  • Don’t repeat information.
  • Don’t repeat the article title.