Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Definition and Purpose of Abstracts

An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

  • an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
  • an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
  • and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.

It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.

If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.

The Contents of an Abstract

Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.

Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:

  • the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
  • the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
  • what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
  • the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
  • your research and/or analytical methods
  • your main findings , results , or arguments
  • the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.

Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.

When to Write Your Abstract

Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.

Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract

The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.

The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.

The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).

Sample Abstract 1

From the social sciences.

Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses

Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.

“The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the topic under study (the “economic resemblance of spouses”). This sentence also implies the question underlying this research study: what are the various causes—and the interrelationships among them—for this trend?] The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor—a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. [Annotation for the previous two sentences: These next two sentences explain what previous research has demonstrated. By pointing out the limitations in the methods that were used in previous studies, they also provide a rationale for new research.] We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The data, research and analytical methods used in this new study.] Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.” (p. 985) [Annotation for the previous two sentences: The major findings from and implications and significance of this study.]

Sample Abstract 2

From the humanities.

Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications

Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.

“From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a network of young urban migrant men created an underground pulp fiction publishing industry in the city of Dar es Salaam. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the context for this research and announces the topic under study.] As texts that were produced in the underground economy of a city whose trajectory was increasingly charted outside of formalized planning and investment, these novellas reveal more than their narrative content alone. These texts were active components in the urban social worlds of the young men who produced them. They reveal a mode of urbanism otherwise obscured by narratives of decolonization, in which urban belonging was constituted less by national citizenship than by the construction of social networks, economic connections, and the crafting of reputations. This article argues that pulp fiction novellas of socialist era Dar es Salaam are artifacts of emergent forms of male sociability and mobility. In printing fictional stories about urban life on pilfered paper and ink, and distributing their texts through informal channels, these writers not only described urban communities, reputations, and networks, but also actually created them.” (p. 210) [Annotation for the previous sentences: The remaining sentences in this abstract interweave other essential information for an abstract for this article. The implied research questions: What do these texts mean? What is their historical and cultural significance, produced at this time, in this location, by these authors? The argument and the significance of this analysis in microcosm: these texts “reveal a mode or urbanism otherwise obscured . . .”; and “This article argues that pulp fiction novellas. . . .” This section also implies what previous historical research has obscured. And through the details in its argumentative claims, this section of the abstract implies the kinds of methods the author has used to interpret the novellas and the concepts under study (e.g., male sociability and mobility, urban communities, reputations, network. . . ).]

Sample Abstract/Summary 3

From the sciences.

Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells

Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.

“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence announces the topic under study, summarizes what’s already known or been accomplished in previous research, and signals the rationale and goals are for the new research and the problem that the new research solves: How can researchers reprogram fibroblasts into iCPCs?] Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipo-tency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. [Annotation for the previous four sentences: The methods the researchers developed to achieve their goal and a description of the results.] Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354) [Annotation for the previous sentence: The significance or implications—for drug discovery, disease modeling, and therapy—of this reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs.]

Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract

Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study

Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.

Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.

“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.

METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.

RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.

CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)

Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:

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  • How to Write an Abstract

Abstract

Expedite peer review, increase search-ability, and set the tone for your study

The abstract is your chance to let your readers know what they can expect from your article. Learn how to write a clear, and concise abstract that will keep your audience reading.

How your abstract impacts editorial evaluation and future readership

After the title , the abstract is the second-most-read part of your article. A good abstract can help to expedite peer review and, if your article is accepted for publication, it’s an important tool for readers to find and evaluate your work. Editors use your abstract when they first assess your article. Prospective reviewers see it when they decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once published, the abstract gets indexed in PubMed and Google Scholar , as well as library systems and other popular databases. Like the title, your abstract influences keyword search results. Readers will use it to decide whether to read the rest of your article. Other researchers will use it to evaluate your work for inclusion in systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It should be a concise standalone piece that accurately represents your research. 

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What to include in an abstract

The main challenge you’ll face when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND fitting in all the information you need. Depending on your subject area the journal may require a structured abstract following specific headings. A structured abstract helps your readers understand your study more easily. If your journal doesn’t require a structured abstract it’s still a good idea to follow a similar format, just present the abstract as one paragraph without headings. 

Background or Introduction – What is currently known? Start with a brief, 2 or 3 sentence, introduction to the research area. 

Objectives or Aims – What is the study and why did you do it? Clearly state the research question you’re trying to answer.

Methods – What did you do? Explain what you did and how you did it. Include important information about your methods, but avoid the low-level specifics. Some disciplines have specific requirements for abstract methods. 

  • CONSORT for randomized trials.
  • STROBE for observational studies
  • PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Results – What did you find? Briefly give the key findings of your study. Include key numeric data (including confidence intervals or p values), where possible.

Conclusions – What did you conclude? Tell the reader why your findings matter, and what this could mean for the ‘bigger picture’ of this area of research. 

Writing tips

The main challenge you may find when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND convering all the information you need to.

submit research paper abstract

  • Keep it concise and to the point. Most journals have a maximum word count, so check guidelines before you write the abstract to save time editing it later.
  • Write for your audience. Are they specialists in your specific field? Are they cross-disciplinary? Are they non-specialists? If you’re writing for a general audience, or your research could be of interest to the public keep your language as straightforward as possible. If you’re writing in English, do remember that not all of your readers will necessarily be native English speakers.
  • Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages.
  • Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary.
  • Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings.
  • Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.
  • Double and triple check your abstract for spelling and grammar errors. These kind of errors can give potential reviewers the impression that your research isn’t sound, and can make it easier to find reviewers who accept the invitation to review your manuscript. Your abstract should be a taste of what is to come in the rest of your article.

submit research paper abstract

Don’t

  • Sensationalize your research.
  • Speculate about where this research might lead in the future.
  • Use abbreviations or acronyms (unless absolutely necessary or unless they’re widely known, eg. DNA).
  • Repeat yourself unnecessarily, eg. “Methods: We used X technique. Results: Using X technique, we found…”
  • Contradict anything in the rest of your manuscript.
  • Include content that isn’t also covered in the main manuscript.
  • Include citations or references.

Tip: How to edit your work

Editing is challenging, especially if you are acting as both a writer and an editor. Read our guidelines for advice on how to refine your work, including useful tips for setting your intentions, re-review, and consultation with colleagues.

  • How to Write a Great Title
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There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

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Writing for Publication: Abstracts

An abstract is "a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 38). This summary is intended to share the topic, argument, and conclusions of a research study or course paper, similar to the text on the back cover of a book. When submitting your work for publication, an abstract is often the first piece of your writing a reviewer will encounter. An abstract may not be required for course papers.

Read on for more tips on making a good first impression with a successful abstract.

An abstract is a single paragraph preceded by the heading " Abstract ," centered and in bold font. The abstract does not begin with an indented line. APA (2020) recommends that abstracts should generally be less than 250 words, though many journals have their own word limits; it is always a good idea to check journal-specific requirements before submitting. The Writing Center's APA templates are great resources for visual examples of abstracts.

Abstracts use the present tense to describe currently applicable results (e.g., "Results indicate...") and the past tense to describe research steps (e.g., "The survey measured..."), and they do not typically include citations.

Key terms are sometimes included at the end of the abstract and should be chosen by considering the words or phrases that a reader might use to search for your article.

An abstract should include information such as

  • The problem or central argument of your article
  • A brief exposition of research design, methods, and procedures.
  • A brief summary of your findings
  • A brief summary of the implications of the research on practice and theory

It is also appropriate, depending on the type of article you are writing, to include information such as:

  • Participant number and type
  • Study eligibility criteria
  • Limitations of your study
  • Implications of your study's conclusions or areas for additional research

Your abstract should avoid unnecessary wordiness and focus on quickly and concisely summarizing the major points of your work. An abstract is not an introduction; you are not trying to capture the reader's attention with timeliness or to orient the reader to the entire background of your study. When readers finish reading your abstract, they should have a strong sense of your article's purpose, approach, and conclusions. The Walden Office of Research and Doctoral Services has additional  tutorial material on abstracts .

Clinical or Empirical Study Abstract Exemplar

In the following abstract, the article's problem is stated in red , the approach and design are in blue , and the results are in green .

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have a high cardiovascular mortality rate. Precise estimates of the prevalence, risk factors and prognosis of different manifestations of cardiac disease are unavailable. In this study a prospective cohort of 433 ESRD patients was followed from the start of ESRD therapy for a mean of 41 months. Baseline clinical assessment and echocardiography were performed on all patients.  The major outcome measure was death while on dialysis therapy. Clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease were highly prevalent at the start of ESRD therapy: 14% had coronary artery disease, 19% angina pectoris, 31% cardiac failure, 7% dysrhythmia and 8% peripheral vascular disease. On echocardiography 15% had systolic dysfunction, 32% left ventricular dilatation and 74% left ventricular hypertrophy. The overall median survival time was 50 months. Age, diabetes mellitus, cardiac failure, peripheral vascular disease and systolic dysfunction independently predicted death in all time frames. Coronary artery disease was associated with a worse prognosis in patients with cardiac failure at baseline. High left ventricular cavity volume and mass index were independently associated with death after two years. The independent associations of the different echocardiographic abnormalities were: systolic dysfunction--older age and coronary artery disease; left ventricular dilatation--male gender, anemia, hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia; left ventricular hypertrophy--older age, female gender, wide arterial pulse pressure, low blood urea and hypoalbuminemia. We conclude that clinical and echocardiographic cardiovascular disease are already present in a very high proportion of patients starting ESRD therapy and are independent mortality factors.

Foley, R. N., Parfrey, P. S., Harnett, J. D., Kent, G. M., Martin, C. J., Murray, D. C., & Barre, P. E. (1995). Clinical and echocardiographic disease in patients starting end-stage renal disease therapy. Kidney International , 47 , 186–192. https://doi.org/10.1038/ki.1995.22

Literature Review Abstract Exemplar

In the following abstract, the purpose and scope of the literature review are in red , the specific span of topics is in blue , and the implications for further research are in green .

This paper provides a review of research into the relationships between psychological types, as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and managerial attributes, behaviors and effectiveness. The literature review includes an examination of the psychometric properties of the MBTI and the contributions and limitations of research on psychological types. Next, key findings are discussed and used to advance propositions that relate psychological type to diverse topics such as risk tolerance, problem solving, information systems design, conflict management and leadership. We conclude with a research agenda that advocates: (a) the exploration of potential psychometric refinements of the MBTI, (b) more rigorous research designs, and (c) a broadening of the scope of managerial research into type.

Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J. (1996). Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to study managers: A literature review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 22 (1), 45–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920639602200103

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How to Write an Abstract (With Examples)

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how to write an abstract

Table of Contents

What is an abstract in a paper, how long should an abstract be, 5 steps for writing an abstract, examples of an abstract, how prowritingaid can help you write an abstract.

If you are writing a scientific research paper or a book proposal, you need to know how to write an abstract, which summarizes the contents of the paper or book.

When researchers are looking for peer-reviewed papers to use in their studies, the first place they will check is the abstract to see if it applies to their work. Therefore, your abstract is one of the most important parts of your entire paper.

In this article, we’ll explain what an abstract is, what it should include, and how to write one.

An abstract is a concise summary of the details within a report. Some abstracts give more details than others, but the main things you’ll be talking about are why you conducted the research, what you did, and what the results show.

When a reader is deciding whether to read your paper completely, they will first look at the abstract. You need to be concise in your abstract and give the reader the most important information so they can determine if they want to read the whole paper.

Remember that an abstract is the last thing you’ll want to write for the research paper because it directly references parts of the report. If you haven’t written the report, you won’t know what to include in your abstract.

If you are writing a paper for a journal or an assignment, the publication or academic institution might have specific formatting rules for how long your abstract should be. However, if they don’t, most abstracts are between 150 and 300 words long.

A short word count means your writing has to be precise and without filler words or phrases. Once you’ve written a first draft, you can always use an editing tool, such as ProWritingAid, to identify areas where you can reduce words and increase readability.

If your abstract is over the word limit, and you’ve edited it but still can’t figure out how to reduce it further, your abstract might include some things that aren’t needed. Here’s a list of three elements you can remove from your abstract:

Discussion : You don’t need to go into detail about the findings of your research because your reader will find your discussion within the paper.

Definition of terms : Your readers are interested the field you are writing about, so they are likely to understand the terms you are using. If not, they can always look them up. Your readers do not expect you to give a definition of terms in your abstract.

References and citations : You can mention there have been studies that support or have inspired your research, but you do not need to give details as the reader will find them in your bibliography.

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Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

If you’ve never written an abstract before, and you’re wondering how to write an abstract, we’ve got some steps for you to follow. It’s best to start with planning your abstract, so we’ve outlined the details you need to include in your plan before you write.

Remember to consider your audience when you’re planning and writing your abstract. They are likely to skim read your abstract, so you want to be sure your abstract delivers all the information they’re expecting to see at key points.

1. What Should an Abstract Include?

Abstracts have a lot of information to cover in a short number of words, so it’s important to know what to include. There are three elements that need to be present in your abstract:

Your context is the background for where your research sits within your field of study. You should briefly mention any previous scientific papers or experiments that have led to your hypothesis and how research develops in those studies.

Your hypothesis is your prediction of what your study will show. As you are writing your abstract after you have conducted your research, you should still include your hypothesis in your abstract because it shows the motivation for your paper.

Throughout your abstract, you also need to include keywords and phrases that will help researchers to find your article in the databases they’re searching. Make sure the keywords are specific to your field of study and the subject you’re reporting on, otherwise your article might not reach the relevant audience.

2. Can You Use First Person in an Abstract?

You might think that first person is too informal for a research paper, but it’s not. Historically, writers of academic reports avoided writing in first person to uphold the formality standards of the time. However, first person is more accepted in research papers in modern times.

If you’re still unsure whether to write in first person for your abstract, refer to any style guide rules imposed by the journal you’re writing for or your teachers if you are writing an assignment.

3. Abstract Structure

Some scientific journals have strict rules on how to structure an abstract, so it’s best to check those first. If you don’t have any style rules to follow, try using the IMRaD structure, which stands for Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion.

how to structure an abstract

Following the IMRaD structure, start with an introduction. The amount of background information you should include depends on your specific research area. Adding a broad overview gives you less room to include other details. Remember to include your hypothesis in this section.

The next part of your abstract should cover your methodology. Try to include the following details if they apply to your study:

What type of research was conducted?

How were the test subjects sampled?

What were the sample sizes?

What was done to each group?

How long was the experiment?

How was data recorded and interpreted?

Following the methodology, include a sentence or two about the results, which is where your reader will determine if your research supports or contradicts their own investigations.

The results are also where most people will want to find out what your outcomes were, even if they are just mildly interested in your research area. You should be specific about all the details but as concise as possible.

The last few sentences are your conclusion. It needs to explain how your findings affect the context and whether your hypothesis was correct. Include the primary take-home message, additional findings of importance, and perspective. Also explain whether there is scope for further research into the subject of your report.

Your conclusion should be honest and give the reader the ultimate message that your research shows. Readers trust the conclusion, so make sure you’re not fabricating the results of your research. Some readers won’t read your entire paper, but this section will tell them if it’s worth them referencing it in their own study.

4. How to Start an Abstract

The first line of your abstract should give your reader the context of your report by providing background information. You can use this sentence to imply the motivation for your research.

You don’t need to use a hook phrase or device in your first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Your reader will look to establish relevance quickly, so readability and clarity are more important than trying to persuade the reader to read on.

5. How to Format an Abstract

Most abstracts use the same formatting rules, which help the reader identify the abstract so they know where to look for it.

Here’s a list of formatting guidelines for writing an abstract:

Stick to one paragraph

Use block formatting with no indentation at the beginning

Put your abstract straight after the title and acknowledgements pages

Use present or past tense, not future tense

There are two primary types of abstract you could write for your paper—descriptive and informative.

An informative abstract is the most common, and they follow the structure mentioned previously. They are longer than descriptive abstracts because they cover more details.

Descriptive abstracts differ from informative abstracts, as they don’t include as much discussion or detail. The word count for a descriptive abstract is between 50 and 150 words.

Here is an example of an informative abstract:

A growing trend exists for authors to employ a more informal writing style that uses “we” in academic writing to acknowledge one’s stance and engagement. However, few studies have compared the ways in which the first-person pronoun “we” is used in the abstracts and conclusions of empirical papers. To address this lacuna in the literature, this study conducted a systematic corpus analysis of the use of “we” in the abstracts and conclusions of 400 articles collected from eight leading electrical and electronic (EE) engineering journals. The abstracts and conclusions were extracted to form two subcorpora, and an integrated framework was applied to analyze and seek to explain how we-clusters and we-collocations were employed. Results revealed whether authors’ use of first-person pronouns partially depends on a journal policy. The trend of using “we” showed that a yearly increase occurred in the frequency of “we” in EE journal papers, as well as the existence of three “we-use” types in the article conclusions and abstracts: exclusive, inclusive, and ambiguous. Other possible “we-use” alternatives such as “I” and other personal pronouns were used very rarely—if at all—in either section. These findings also suggest that the present tense was used more in article abstracts, but the present perfect tense was the most preferred tense in article conclusions. Both research and pedagogical implications are proffered and critically discussed.

Wang, S., Tseng, W.-T., & Johanson, R. (2021). To We or Not to We: Corpus-Based Research on First-Person Pronoun Use in Abstracts and Conclusions. SAGE Open, 11(2).

Here is an example of a descriptive abstract:

From the 1850s to the present, considerable criminological attention has focused on the development of theoretically-significant systems for classifying crime. This article reviews and attempts to evaluate a number of these efforts, and we conclude that further work on this basic task is needed. The latter part of the article explicates a conceptual foundation for a crime pattern classification system, and offers a preliminary taxonomy of crime.

Farr, K. A., & Gibbons, D. C. (1990). Observations on the Development of Crime Categories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 34(3), 223–237.

If you want to ensure your abstract is grammatically correct and easy to read, you can use ProWritingAid to edit it. The software integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and most web browsers, so you can make the most of it wherever you’re writing your paper.

academic document type

Before you edit with ProWritingAid, make sure the suggestions you are seeing are relevant for your document by changing the document type to “Abstract” within the Academic writing style section.

You can use the Readability report to check your abstract for places to improve the clarity of your writing. Some suggestions might show you where to remove words, which is great if you’re over your word count.

We hope the five steps and examples we’ve provided help you write a great abstract for your research paper.

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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper | Examples

submit research paper abstract

What is a research paper abstract?

Research paper abstracts summarize your study quickly and succinctly to journal editors and researchers and prompt them to read further. But with the ubiquity of online publication databases, writing a compelling abstract is even more important today than it was in the days of bound paper manuscripts.

Abstracts exist to “sell”  your work, and they could thus be compared to the “executive summary” of a business resume: an official briefing on what is most important about your research. Or the “gist” of your research. With the majority of academic transactions being conducted online, this means that you have even less time to impress readers–and increased competition in terms of other abstracts out there to read.

The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) notes that there are  12 questions or “points” considered in the selection process  for journals and conferences and stresses the importance of having an abstract that ticks all of these boxes. Because it is often the ONLY chance you have to convince readers to keep reading, it is important that you spend time and energy crafting an abstract that faithfully represents the central parts of your study and captivates your audience.

With that in mind, follow these suggestions when structuring and writing your abstract, and learn how exactly to put these ideas into a solid abstract that will captivate your target readers.

Before Writing Your Abstract

How long should an abstract be.

All abstracts are written with the same essential objective: to give a summary of your study. But there are two basic styles of abstract: descriptive and informative . Here is a brief delineation of the two:

Of the two types of abstracts, informative abstracts are much more common, and they are widely used for submission to journals and conferences. Informative abstracts apply to lengthier and more technical research and are common in the sciences, engineering, and psychology, while descriptive abstracts are more likely used in humanities and social science papers. The best method of determining which abstract type you need to use is to follow the instructions for journal submissions and to read as many other published articles in those journals as possible.

Research Abstract Guidelines and Requirements

As any article about research writing will tell you, authors must always closely follow the specific guidelines and requirements indicated in the Guide for Authors section of their target journal’s website. The same kind of adherence to conventions should be applied to journal publications, for consideration at a conference, and even when completing a class assignment.

Each publisher has particular demands when it comes to formatting and structure. Here are some common questions addressed in the journal guidelines:

  • Is there a maximum or minimum word/character length?
  • What are the style and formatting requirements?
  • What is the appropriate abstract type?
  • Are there any specific content or organization rules that apply?

There are of course other rules to consider when composing a research paper abstract. But if you follow the stated rules the first time you submit your manuscript, you can avoid your work being thrown in the “circular file” right off the bat.

Identify Your Target Readership

The main purpose of your abstract is to lead researchers to the full text of your research paper. In scientific journals, abstracts let readers decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests or study. Abstracts also help readers understand your main argument quickly. Consider these questions as you write your abstract:

  • Are other academics in your field the main target of your study?
  • Will your study perhaps be useful to members of the general public?
  • Do your study results include the wider implications presented in the abstract?

Outlining and Writing Your Abstract

What to include in an abstract.

Just as your  research paper title  should cover as much ground as possible in a few short words, your abstract must cover  all  parts of your study in order to fully explain your paper and research. Because it must accomplish this task in the space of only a few hundred words, it is important not to include ambiguous references or phrases that will confuse the reader or mislead them about the content and objectives of your research. Follow these  dos  and  don’ts  when it comes to what kind of writing to include:

  • Avoid acronyms or abbreviations since these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader, which takes up valuable abstract space. Instead, explain these terms in the Introduction section of the main text.
  • Only use references to people or other works if they are well-known. Otherwise, avoid referencing anything outside of your study in the abstract.
  • Never include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract; you will have plenty of time to present and refer to these in the body of your paper.

Use keywords in your abstract to focus your topic

A vital search tool is the research paper keywords section, which lists the most relevant terms directly underneath the abstract. Think of these keywords as the “tubes” that readers will seek and enter—via queries on databases and search engines—to ultimately land at their destination, which is your paper. Your abstract keywords should thus be words that are commonly used in searches but should also be highly relevant to your work and found in the text of your abstract. Include 5 to 10 important words or short phrases central to your research in both the abstract and the keywords section.

For example, if you are writing a paper on the prevalence of obesity among lower classes that crosses international boundaries, you should include terms like “obesity,” “prevalence,” “international,” “lower classes,” and “cross-cultural.” These are terms that should net a wide array of people interested in your topic of study. Look at our nine rules for choosing keywords for your research paper if you need more input on this.

Research Paper Abstract Structure

As mentioned above, the abstract (especially the informative abstract) acts as a surrogate or synopsis of your research paper, doing almost as much work as the thousands of words that follow it in the body of the main text. In the hard sciences and most social sciences, the abstract includes the following sections and organizational schema.

Each section is quite compact—only a single sentence or two, although there is room for expansion if one element or statement is particularly interesting or compelling. As the abstract is almost always one long paragraph, the individual sections should naturally merge into one another to create a holistic effect. Use the following as a checklist to ensure that you have included all of the necessary content in your abstract.

how to structure an abstract list

1) Identify your purpose and motivation

So your research is about rabies in Brazilian squirrels. Why is this important? You should start your abstract by explaining why people should care about this study—why is it significant to your field and perhaps to the wider world? And what is the exact purpose of your study; what are you trying to achieve? Start by answering the following questions:

  • What made you decide to do this study or project?
  • Why is this study important to your field or to the lay reader?
  • Why should someone read your entire article?

In summary, the first section of your abstract should include the importance of the research and its impact on related research fields or on the wider scientific domain.

2) Explain the research problem you are addressing

Stating the research problem that your study addresses is the corollary to why your specific study is important and necessary. For instance, even if the issue of “rabies in Brazilian squirrels” is important, what is the problem—the “missing piece of the puzzle”—that your study helps resolve?

You can combine the problem with the motivation section, but from a perspective of organization and clarity, it is best to separate the two. Here are some precise questions to address:

  • What is your research trying to better understand or what problem is it trying to solve?
  • What is the scope of your study—does it try to explain something general or specific?
  • What is your central claim or argument?

3) Discuss your research approach

Your specific study approach is detailed in the Methods and Materials section .  You have already established the importance of the research, your motivation for studying this issue, and the specific problem your paper addresses. Now you need to discuss  how  you solved or made progress on this problem—how you conducted your research. If your study includes your own work or that of your team, describe that here. If in your paper you reviewed the work of others, explain this here. Did you use analytic models? A simulation? A double-blind study? A case study? You are basically showing the reader the internal engine of your research machine and how it functioned in the study. Be sure to:

  • Detail your research—include methods/type of the study, your variables, and the extent of the work
  • Briefly present evidence to support your claim
  • Highlight your most important sources

4) Briefly summarize your results

Here you will give an overview of the outcome of your study. Avoid using too many vague qualitative terms (e.g, “very,” “small,” or “tremendous”) and try to use at least some quantitative terms (i.e., percentages, figures, numbers). Save your qualitative language for the conclusion statement. Answer questions like these:

  • What did your study yield in concrete terms (e.g., trends, figures, correlation between phenomena)?
  • How did your results compare to your hypothesis? Was the study successful?
  • Where there any highly unexpected outcomes or were they all largely predicted?

5) State your conclusion

In the last section of your abstract, you will give a statement about the implications and  limitations of the study . Be sure to connect this statement closely to your results and not the area of study in general. Are the results of this study going to shake up the scientific world? Will they impact how people see “Brazilian squirrels”? Or are the implications minor? Try not to boast about your study or present its impact as  too  far-reaching, as researchers and journals will tend to be skeptical of bold claims in scientific papers. Answer one of these questions:

  • What are the exact effects of these results on my field? On the wider world?
  • What other kind of study would yield further solutions to problems?
  • What other information is needed to expand knowledge in this area?

After Completing the First Draft of Your Abstract

Revise your abstract.

The abstract, like any piece of academic writing, should be revised before being considered complete. Check it for  grammatical and spelling errors  and make sure it is formatted properly.

Get feedback from a peer

Getting a fresh set of eyes to review your abstract is a great way to find out whether you’ve summarized your research well. Find a reader who understands research papers but is not an expert in this field or is not affiliated with your study. Ask your reader to summarize what your study is about (including all key points of each section). This should tell you if you have communicated your key points clearly.

In addition to research peers, consider consulting with a professor or even a specialist or generalist writing center consultant about your abstract. Use any resource that helps you see your work from another perspective.

Consider getting professional editing and proofreading

While peer feedback is quite important to ensure the effectiveness of your abstract content, it may be a good idea to find an academic editor  to fix mistakes in grammar, spelling, mechanics, style, or formatting. The presence of basic errors in the abstract may not affect your content, but it might dissuade someone from reading your entire study. Wordvice provides English editing services that both correct objective errors and enhance the readability and impact of your work.

Additional Abstract Rules and Guidelines

Write your abstract after completing your paper.

Although the abstract goes at the beginning of your manuscript, it does not merely introduce your research topic (that is the job of the title), but rather summarizes your entire paper. Writing the abstract last will ensure that it is complete and consistent with the findings and statements in your paper.

Keep your content in the correct order

Both questions and answers should be organized in a standard and familiar way to make the content easier for readers to absorb. Ideally, it should mimic the overall format of your essay and the classic “introduction,” “body,” and “conclusion” form, even if the parts are not neatly divided as such.

Write the abstract from scratch

Because the abstract is a self-contained piece of writing viewed separately from the body of the paper, you should write it separately as well. Never copy and paste direct quotes from the paper and avoid paraphrasing sentences in the paper. Using new vocabulary and phrases will keep your abstract interesting and free of redundancies while conserving space.

Don’t include too many details in the abstract

Again, the density of your abstract makes it incompatible with including specific points other than possibly names or locations. You can make references to terms, but do not explain or define them in the abstract. Try to strike a balance between being specific to your study and presenting a relatively broad overview of your work.

Wordvice Resources

If you think your abstract is fine now but you need input on abstract writing or require English editing services (including paper editing ), then head over to the Wordvice academic resources page, where you will find many more articles, for example on writing the Results , Methods , and Discussion sections of your manuscript, on choosing a title for your paper , or on how to finalize your journal submission with a strong cover letter .    

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract of a work, usually of an essay, is a concise summary of its main points. It is meant to concentrate the argument of a work, presenting it as clearly as possible.

The abstract often appears after the title and before the main body of an essay. If you are writing an abstract as part of an assignment, you should check with your instructor about where to place it.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when composing an abstract:

  • In general, avoid too much copying and pasting directly from your essay, especially from the first paragraph. An abstract is often presented directly before an essay, and it will often be the first thing readers consult after your title. You wouldn’t repeat your ideas verbatim in the body of your essay, so why would you do that in an abstract? Consider the abstract part of the work itself. 
  • Start off strong. An abstract should be a mini essay, so it should begin with a clear statement of your argument. This should be the first sentence or two.
  • Abstracts vary in length. But a good rule is to aim for five to seven sentences. The bulk of the abstract will review the evidence for your claim and summarize your findings.
  • Avoid complicated syntax. Long sentences and intricate phrasing have their place in essays, but the abstract should be concise. It is not the place for ambitious grammar.
  • The last sentence or two should point to any conclusions reached and the direction future research might take. Like the first sentence, the last should be provocative and direct. Leave your readers wanting to read your essay.

In what follows, the authors have written an effective abstract that adheres to the basic principles above:

Literary critics have long imagined that T. S. Eliot’s The Sacred Wood (1920) shaped the canon and methods of countless twentieth-century classrooms. This essay turns instead to the classroom that made The Sacred Wood : the Modern English Literature extension school tutorial that Eliot taught to working-class adults between 1916 and 1919. Contextualizing Eliot’s tutorial within the extension school movement shows how the ethos and practices of the Workers’ Educational Association shaped his teaching. Over the course of three years, Eliot and his students reimagined canonical literature as writing by working poets for working people—a model of literary history that fully informed his canon reformation in The Sacred Wood . This example demonstrates how attention to teaching changes the history of English literary study. It further reveals how all kinds of institutions, not just elite universities, have shaped the discipline’s methods and canons. (Buurma and Heffernan)

This abstract uses the first two sentences to establish the essay’s place in its field of study and to suggest how it intervenes in existing scholarship. The syntax is direct and simple. The third sentence begins to outline how the authors will support their argument. They aim to demonstrate the relevance of Eliot’s teaching to his ideas about literature, and so they move next to discuss some of the details of that teaching. Finally, the abstract concludes by telling us about the consequences of this argument. The conclusion both points to new directions for research and tells us why we should read the essay. 

Buurma, Rachel Sagner, and Laura Heffernan. Abstract of “The Classroom in the Canon: T. S. Eliot’s Modern English Literature Extension Course for Working People and  The Sacred Wood. ”  PMLA , vol. 133, no. 2, Mar. 2018, p. 463.

Estate Best 18 July 2021 AT 05:07 AM

Please how will I write an abstract for my own poem collections?

Your e-mail address will not be published

Marc Simoes 01 April 2022 AT 04:04 PM

I am teaching students how to format and write an abstract, but I find no precise guidelines in the MLA Handbook. Should the first word of the abstract body text begin with the word "Abstract" followed by a period or colon and then the abstract content? Should the word "Abstract" be underlined? Over the years, I was taught both of these ways by different instructors, but I haven't found any definitive instructions, and now my students are asking me the correct format. Please help! Thank you!

Joseph Wallace 12 April 2022 AT 01:04 PM

Although publishers like the MLA will use their own house style guidelines for abstracts in published material, there is no one correct way for students to format their abstracts. Instructors should decide what works best for their classes and assignments.

Lorraine Belo 17 April 2022 AT 10:04 PM

Can you write a brief abstract about your MLA writing

Subrata Biswas 13 July 2023 AT 10:07 AM

Generally, the abstract is written in Italics. Is there any rule as such?

Joseph Wallace 31 July 2023 AT 10:07 AM

Thanks for your question. There is no rule saying that abstracts need to be written in italics. Some publications use italics for abstracts and some do not.

Dhan 07 January 2024 AT 12:01 PM

Should I write key words at the end of the abstract of Phd dissertation?

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How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the UK during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

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You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyse,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

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Next, summarise the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalisability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarise the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

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Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract is a brief summary of a research pape r that describes the study’s purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions . It is often the first section of the paper that readers encounter, and its purpose is to provide a concise and accurate overview of the paper’s content. The typical length of an abstract is usually around 150-250 words, and it should be written in a concise and clear manner.

Research Paper Abstract Structure

The structure of a research paper abstract usually includes the following elements:

  • Background or Introduction: Briefly describe the problem or research question that the study addresses.
  • Methods : Explain the methodology used to conduct the study, including the participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Results : Summarize the main findings of the study, including statistical analyses and key outcomes.
  • Conclusions : Discuss the implications of the study’s findings and their significance for the field, as well as any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Keywords : List a few keywords that describe the main topics or themes of the research.

How to Write Research Paper Abstract

Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper abstract:

  • Start by reading your paper: Before you write an abstract, you should have a complete understanding of your paper. Read through the paper carefully, making sure you understand the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the key components : Identify the key components of your paper, such as the research question, methods used, results obtained, and conclusion reached.
  • Write a draft: Write a draft of your abstract, using concise and clear language. Make sure to include all the important information, but keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your abstract between 150-250 words.
  • Use clear and concise language : Use clear and concise language to explain the purpose of your study, the methods used, the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
  • Emphasize your findings: Emphasize your findings in the abstract, highlighting the key results and the significance of your study.
  • Revise and edit: Once you have a draft, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free from errors.
  • Check the formatting: Finally, check the formatting of your abstract to make sure it meets the requirements of the journal or conference where you plan to submit it.

Research Paper Abstract Examples

Research Paper Abstract Examples could be following:

Title : “The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety disorders. Through the analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials, we found that CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders, with large effect sizes across a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Our findings support the use of CBT as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and highlight the importance of further research to identify the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.

Title : “Exploring the Role of Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: A Qualitative Study”

Abstract : This qualitative study explores the role of parental involvement in children’s education. Through in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children in elementary school, we found that parental involvement takes many forms, including volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, and communicating with teachers. We also found that parental involvement is influenced by a range of factors, including parent and child characteristics, school culture, and socio-economic status. Our findings suggest that schools and educators should prioritize building strong partnerships with parents to support children’s academic success.

Title : “The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on the impact of exercise on cognitive function in older adults. Through the analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise is associated with significant improvements in cognitive function, particularly in the domains of executive function and attention. Our findings highlight the potential of exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to support cognitive health in older adults.

When to Write Research Paper Abstract

The abstract of a research paper should typically be written after you have completed the main body of the paper. This is because the abstract is intended to provide a brief summary of the key points and findings of the research, and you can’t do that until you have completed the research and written about it in detail.

Once you have completed your research paper, you can begin writing your abstract. It is important to remember that the abstract should be a concise summary of your research paper, and should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have expertise in your specific area of research.

Purpose of Research Paper Abstract

The purpose of a research paper abstract is to provide a concise summary of the key points and findings of a research paper. It is typically a brief paragraph or two that appears at the beginning of the paper, before the introduction, and is intended to give readers a quick overview of the paper’s content.

The abstract should include a brief statement of the research problem, the methods used to investigate the problem, the key results and findings, and the main conclusions and implications of the research. It should be written in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and technical language, and should be understandable to a broad audience.

The abstract serves as a way to quickly and easily communicate the main points of a research paper to potential readers, such as academics, researchers, and students, who may be looking for information on a particular topic. It can also help researchers determine whether a paper is relevant to their own research interests and whether they should read the full paper.

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How to write an abstract that will be accepted

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  • Mary Higgins , fellow in maternal fetal medicine 1 ,
  • Maeve Eogan , consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist 2 ,
  • Keelin O’Donoghue , consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and senior lecturer 3 ,
  • Noirin Russell , consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist 3
  • 1 Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2 Rotunda Hospital Dublin, Ireland
  • 3 Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland
  • mairenihuigin{at}gmail.com

Researchers do not always appreciate the importance of producing a good abstract or understand the best way of writing one. Mary Higgins and colleagues share some of the lessons they have learnt as both researchers and reviewers of abstracts

Effective abstracts reflect the time, work, and importance of the scientific research performed in the course of a study. A last minute approach and poor writing may not reflect the good quality of a study.

Between the four of us we have written over 150 published papers, as well as having reviewed numerous abstracts for national and international meetings. Nevertheless, we have all had abstracts rejected, and this experience has emphasised a number of teaching points that could help maximise the impact of abstracts and success on the world, or other, stage.

An abstract is the first glimpse an audience has of a study, and it is the ticket to having research accepted for presentation to a wider audience. For a study to receive the respect it deserves, the abstract should be as well written as possible. In practice, this means taking time to write the abstract, keeping it simple, reading the submission guidelines, checking the text, and showing the abstract to colleagues.

It is important to take the necessary time to write the abstract. Several months or years have been spent on this groundbreaking research, so take the time to show this. Five minutes before the call for abstracts closes is not the time to start putting it together.

Keep it simple, and think about the message that needs to be communicated. Some abstracts churn out lots of unrelated results and then have a conclusion that does not relate to the results, and this is just confusing. Plan what points need to be made, and then think about them a little more.

Read the submission guidelines and keep to the instructions provided in the call for abstracts. Don’t submit an unstructured abstract if the guidance has asked for a structured one. Comply with the word or letter count, and do not go over this.

An abstract comprises five parts of equal importance: the title, introduction and aims, methods, results, and conclusion. Allow enough time to write each part well.

The title should go straight to the point of the study. Make the study sound interesting so that it catches people’s attention. The introduction should include a brief background to the research and describe its aims. For every aim presented there needs to be a corresponding result in the results section. There is no need to go into detail in terms of the background to the study, as those who are reviewing the abstract will have some knowledge of the subject. The methods section can be kept simple—it is acceptable to write “retrospective case-control study” or “randomised controlled trial.”

The results section should be concrete and related to the aims. It is distracting and irritating to read results that have no apparent relation to the professed aims of the study. If something is important, highlight it or put it in italics to make it stand out. Include the number of participants, and ensure recognition is given if 10 000 charts have been reviewed. Equally, a percentage without a baseline number is not meaningful.

In the conclusion, state succinctly what can be drawn from the results, but don’t oversell this. Words like “possibly” and “may” can be useful in this part of the abstract but show that some thought has been put into what the results may mean. This is what divides the good from the not so good. Many people are capable of doing research, but the logical formation of a hypothesis and the argument of its proof are what make a real researcher.

Once you have written the abstract, check the spelling and grammar. Poor spelling or grammar can give the impression that the research is also poor. Show the abstract to the supervisor or principal investigator of the study, as this person’s name will go on the abstract as well. Then show the abstract to someone who knows nothing about the particular area of research but who knows something about the subject. Someone detached from the study might point out the one thing that needs to be said but that has been forgotten.

Then let it go; abstracts are not life and death scenarios. Sometimes an abstract will not be accepted no matter how wonderful it is. Perhaps there is a theme to the meeting, into which the research does not fit. Reviewers may also be looking for particular things. For one conference, we limited the number of case reports so that only about 10% were accepted. It may be that your research is in a popular or topical area and not all abstracts in that area can be chosen. On occasions, politics play a part, and individual researchers have little control over that.

Finally, remember that sometimes even the best reviewer may not appreciate the subtleties of your research and another audience may be more appreciative.

Competing interests: We have read and understood the BMJ Group policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.

submit research paper abstract

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.

Why write an abstract?

You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.

Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:

This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.

From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.

Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.

When do people write abstracts?

  • when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
  • when applying for research grants
  • when writing a book proposal
  • when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
  • when writing a proposal for a conference paper
  • when writing a proposal for a book chapter

Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.

Types of abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.

Descriptive abstracts

A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.

Informative abstracts

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.

Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:

The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.

Informative abstract:

Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.

Which type should I use?

Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.

How do I write an abstract?

The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:

  • Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
  • Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
  • Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
  • Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )

All abstracts include:

  • A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
  • The most important information first.
  • The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
  • Clear, concise, and powerful language.

Abstracts may include:

  • The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
  • Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
  • The same chronological structure as the original work.

How not to write an abstract:

  • Do not refer extensively to other works.
  • Do not add information not contained in the original work.
  • Do not define terms.

If you are abstracting your own writing

When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.

Reverse outlining:

This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .

For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.

Cut and paste:

To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.

If you are abstracting someone else’s writing

When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:

Identify key terms:

Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.

Highlight key phrases and sentences:

Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.

Don’t look back:

After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.

Revise, revise, revise

No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.

Example 1: Humanities abstract

Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998

This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.

What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.

How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.

What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.

Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation

Example 2: Science Abstract

Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998

The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.

Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.

What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.

Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .

Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century . Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010;

Importance of a Good Abstract

Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.

How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.

Farkas, David K. “A Scheme for Understanding and Writing Summaries.” Technical Communication 67 (August 2020): 45-60;  How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types of Abstracts

To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.

Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.

II.  Writing Style

Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.

Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.

Composing Your Abstract

Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].

Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

  • A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
  • Lengthy background or contextual information,
  • Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
  • Acronyms or abbreviations,
  • References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
  • Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
  • Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
  • Citations to other works, and
  • Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.

Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in the Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Writing Tip

Never Cite Just the Abstract!

Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .

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Writing an Abstract for a Research Paper: Guidelines, Examples, and Templates

There are six steps to writing a standard abstract. (1) Begin with a broad statement about your topic. Then, (2) state the problem or knowledge gap related to this topic that your study explores. After that, (3) describe what specific aspect of this problem you investigated, and (4) briefly explain how you went about doing this. After that, (5) describe the most meaningful outcome(s) of your study. Finally, (6) close your abstract by explaining the broad implication(s) of your findings.

In this article, I present step-by-step guidelines for writing an abstract for an academic paper. These guidelines are fo llowed by an example of a full abstract that follows these guidelines and a few fill-in-the-blank templates that you can use to write your own abstract.

Guidelines for Writing an Abstract

The basic structure of an abstract is illustrated below.

submit research paper abstract

A standard abstract starts with a very general statement and becomes more specific with each sentence that follows until once again making a broad statement about the study’s implications at the end. Altogether, a standard abstract has six functions, which are described in detail below.

Start by making a broad statement about your topic.

The first sentence of your abstract should briefly describe a problem that is of interest to your readers. When writing this first sentence, you should think about who comprises your target audience and use terms that will appeal to this audience. If your opening sentence is too broad, it might lose the attention of potential readers because they will not know if your study is relevant to them.

Too broad : Maintaining an ideal workplace environment has a positive effect on employees.

The sentence above is so broad that it will not grab the reader’s attention. While it gives the reader some idea of the area of study, it doesn’t provide any details about the author’s topic within their research area. This can be fixed by inserting some keywords related to the topic (these are underlined in the revised example below).

Improved : Keeping the workplace environment at an ideal temperature positively affects the overall health of employees.

The revised sentence is much better, as it expresses two points about the research topic—namely, (i) what aspect of workplace environment was studied, (ii) what aspect of employees was observed. The mention of these aspects of the research will draw the attention of readers who are interested in them.

Describe the general problem that your paper addresses.

After describing your topic in the first sentence, you can then explain what aspect of this topic has motivated your research. Often, authors use this part of the abstract to describe the research gap that they identified and aimed to fill. These types of sentences are often characterized by the use of words such as “however,” “although,” “despite,” and so on.

However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking.

The above example is typical of a sentence describing the problem that a study intends to tackle. The author has noticed that there is a gap in the research, and they briefly explain this gap here.

Although it has been established that quantity and quality of sleep can affect different types of task performance and personal health, the interactions between sleep habits and workplace behaviors have received very little attention.

The example above illustrates a case in which the author has accomplished two tasks with one sentence. The first part of the sentence (up until the comma) mentions the general topic that the research fits into, while the second part (after the comma) describes the general problem that the research addresses.

Express the specific problem investigated in your paper.

After describing the general problem that motivated your research, the next sentence should express the specific aspect of the problem that you investigated. Sentences of this type are often indicated by the use of phrases like “the purpose of this research is to,” “this paper is intended to,” or “this work aims to.”

Uninformative : However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking. The present article aimed to provide new insights into the relationship between workplace bullying and absenteeism .

The second sentence in the above example is a mere rewording of the first sentence. As such, it adds nothing to the abstract. The second sentence should be more specific than the preceding one.

Improved : However, a comprehensive understanding of how different workplace bullying experiences are associated with absenteeism is currently lacking. The present article aimed to define various subtypes of workplace bullying and determine which subtypes tend to lead to absenteeism .

The second sentence of this passage is much more informative than in the previous example. This sentence lets the reader know exactly what they can expect from the full research article.

Explain how you attempted to resolve your study’s specific problem.

In this part of your abstract, you should attempt to describe your study’s methodology in one or two sentences. As such, you must be sure to include only the most important information about your method. At the same time, you must also be careful not to be too vague.

Too vague : We conducted multiple tests to examine changes in various factors related to well-being.

This description of the methodology is too vague. Instead of merely mentioning “tests” and “factors,” the author should note which specific tests were run and which factors were assessed.

Improved : Using data from BHIP completers, we conducted multiple one-way multivariate analyses of variance and follow-up univariate t-tests to examine changes in physical and mental health, stress, energy levels, social satisfaction, self-efficacy, and quality of life.

This sentence is very well-written. It packs a lot of specific information about the method into a single sentence. Also, it does not describe more details than are needed for an abstract.

Briefly tell the reader what you found by carrying out your study.

This is the most important part of the abstract—the other sentences in the abstract are there to explain why this one is relevant. When writing this sentence, imagine that someone has asked you, “What did you find in your research?” and that you need to answer them in one or two sentences.

Too vague : Consistently poor sleepers had more health risks and medical conditions than consistently optimal sleepers.

This sentence is okay, but it would be helpful to let the reader know which health risks and medical conditions were related to poor sleeping habits.

Improved : Consistently poor sleepers were more likely than consistently optimal sleepers to suffer from chronic abdominal pain, and they were at a higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.

This sentence is better, as the specific health conditions are named.

Finally, describe the major implication(s) of your study.

Most abstracts end with a short sentence that explains the main takeaway(s) that you want your audience to gain from reading your paper. Often, this sentence is addressed to people in power (e.g., employers, policymakers), and it recommends a course of action that such people should take based on the results.

Too broad : Employers may wish to make use of strategies that increase employee health.

This sentence is too broad to be useful. It does not give employers a starting point to implement a change.

Improved : Employers may wish to incorporate sleep education initiatives as part of their overall health and wellness strategies.

This sentence is better than the original, as it provides employers with a starting point—specifically, it invites employers to look up information on sleep education programs.

Abstract Example

The abstract produced here is from a paper published in Electronic Commerce Research and Applications . I have made slight alterations to the abstract so that this example fits the guidelines given in this article.

(1) Gamification can strengthen enjoyment and productivity in the workplace. (2) Despite this, research on gamification in the work context is still limited. (3) In this study, we investigated the effect of gamification on the workplace enjoyment and productivity of employees by comparing employees with leadership responsibilities to those without leadership responsibilities. (4) Work-related tasks were gamified using the habit-tracking game Habitica, and data from 114 employees were gathered using an online survey. (5) The results illustrated that employees without leadership responsibilities used work gamification as a trigger for self-motivation, whereas employees with leadership responsibilities used it to improve their health. (6) Work gamification positively affected work enjoyment for both types of employees and positively affected productivity for employees with leadership responsibilities. (7) Our results underline the importance of taking work-related variables into account when researching work gamification.

In Sentence (1), the author makes a broad statement about their topic. Notice how the nouns used (“gamification,” “enjoyment,” “productivity”) are quite general while still indicating the focus of the paper. The author uses Sentence (2) to very briefly state the problem that the research will address.

In Sentence (3), the author explains what specific aspects of the problem mentioned in Sentence (2) will be explored in the present work. Notice that the mention of leadership responsibilities makes Sentence (3) more specific than Sentence (2). Sentence (4) gets even more specific, naming the specific tools used to gather data and the number of participants.

Sentences (5) and (6) are similar, with each sentence describing one of the study’s main findings. Then, suddenly, the scope of the abstract becomes quite broad again in Sentence (7), which mentions “work-related variables” instead of a specific variable and “researching” instead of a specific kind of research.

Abstract Templates

Copy and paste any of the paragraphs below into a word processor. Then insert the appropriate information to produce an abstract for your research paper.

Template #1

Researchers have established that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . However, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The goal of this paper is to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . The achieve this goal, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . We found that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

Template #2

It is well-understood that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . Despite this, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The current research aims to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . To accomplish this, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . It was discovered that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

Template #3

Extensive research indicates that [Make a broad statement about your area of research.] . Nevertheless, [Describe the knowledge gap that your paper addresses.] . The present work is intended to [Describe the purpose of your paper.] . To this end, we [Briefly explain your methodology.] . The results revealed that [Indicate the main finding(s) of your study; you may need two sentences to do this.] . [Provide a broad implication of your results.] .

  • How to Write an Abstract

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Submission guidelines

Format of articles, cover letter, revised manuscripts, tex/latex files, writing your manuscript, copy editing services, acknowledgements, author contributions, competing interests, data availability, ethics declarations, approval for animal experiments, approval for human experiments, consent to participate/consent to publish.

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Scientific Reports publishes original research in two formats: Article and Registered Report. For Registered Reports, see section below . In most cases, we do not impose strict limits on word count or page number. However, we strongly recommend that you write concisely and stick to the following guidelines:

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For a definitive list of which limits are mandatory please visit the submission checklist page .

Please do not include any references in your Abstract. Make sure it serves both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications. Abstract should be unstructured, i.e. should not contain sections or subheadings.

We allow the use of up to 6 keywords/key phrases that can be used for indexing purposes. These should represent the main content of the submission.

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For the main body of the text, there are no specific requirements. You can organise it in a way that best suits your research. However, the following structure will be suitable in many cases:

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You should then follow the main body of text with:

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We do not automatically include page or line numbers in the materials sent to Editorial Board Members and reviewers. Please consider including those in your manuscript; this can help facilitate the evaluation of the paper and makes giving feedback on specific sections easier.

You may include a limited number of uncaptioned molecular structure graphics and numbered mathematical equations if necessary. Display items are limited to 8 ( figures and/or tables ). However, to enable typesetting of papers, we advise making the number of display items commensurate with your overall word length. So, for Articles of 2,000 words or less, we suggest including no more than 4 figures/tables. Please note that schemes should not be used and should be presented as figures instead.

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A submission template is available in the Overleaf template gallery to help you prepare a LaTeX manuscript within the Scientific Reports formatting criteria.

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We strongly recommend that you ask a colleague with different expertise to review your manuscript before you submit it. This will help you to identify concepts and terminology that non-specialist readers may find hard to grasp.

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Claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service

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Published papers:

Printed journals Schott, D. H., Collins, R. N. & Bretscher, A. Secretory vesicle transport velocity in living cells depends on the myosin V lever arm length. J. Cell Biol . 156 , 35-39 (2002).

Online only Bellin, D. L. et al . Electrochemical camera chip for simultaneous imaging of multiple metabolites in biofilms . Nat. Commun . 7 , 10535; 10.1038/ncomms10535 (2016).

For papers with more than five authors include only the first author’s name followed by ‘ et al. ’.

Books: Smith, J. Syntax of referencing in How to reference books (ed. Smith, S.) 180-181 (Macmillan, 2013).

Online material:

Babichev, S. A., Ries, J. & Lvovsky, A. I. Quantum scissors: teleportation of single-mode optical states by means of a nonlocal single photon. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0208066 (2002).

Manaster, J. Sloth squeak. Scientific American Blog Network http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psi-vid/2014/04/09/sloth-squeak (2014).

Hao, Z., AghaKouchak, A., Nakhjiri, N. & Farahmand, A. Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) data sets.  figshare   https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.853801 (2014).

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Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.

Use the following examples as a guide (note: abbreviate "Figure" as "Fig." when in the middle of a sentence): "Table 1 provides a selected subset of the most active compounds. The entire list of 96 compounds can be found as Supplementary Table S1 online." "The biosynthetic pathway of L-ascorbic acid in animals involves intermediates of the D-glucuronic acid pathway (see Supplementary Fig. S2 online). Figure 2 shows...".

Remember to include a brief title and legend (incorporated into the file to appear near the image) as part of every figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.

Keep file sizes as small as possible, with a maximum size of 50 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly.

Supplementary video files should be provided in the standard video aspects: 4:3, 16:9, 21:9.

If you have any further questions about the submission and preparation of Supplementary Information, please email: [email protected] .

Please begin your figure legends with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short description of what is shown in each panel. Use any symbols in sequence and minimise the methodological details as much as possible. Keep each legend total to no more than 350 words. Provide text for figure legends in numerical order after the references.

Please submit any tables in your main article document in an editable format (Word or TeX/LaTeX, as appropriate), and not as images. Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error analysis and ranges in a table legend.

Include any equations and mathematical expressions in the main text of the paper. Identify equations that are referred to in the text by parenthetical numbers, such as (1), and refer to them in the manuscript as "equation (1)" etc.

For submissions in a .doc or .docx format, please make sure that all equations are provided in an editable Word format. You can produce these with the equation editor included in Microsoft Word.

You are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. We cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.

You should state the source of any images used. If you or one of your co-authors has drawn the images, please mention this in your acknowledgements. For software, you should state the name, version number and URL.

Number any figures separately with Arabic numerals in the order they occur in the text of the manuscript. Include error bars when appropriate. Include a description of the statistical treatment of error analysis in the figure legend.

Please do not use schemes. You should submit sequences of chemical reactions or experimental procedures as figures, with appropriate captions. You may include in the manuscript a limited number of uncaptioned graphics depicting chemical structures - each labelled with their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral.

Use a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica) for figure lettering. Use the same typeface in the same font size for all figures in your paper. For Greek letters, use a 'symbols' font. Put all display items on a white background, and avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. Never truncate the vertical axis of histograms to exaggerate small differences. Ensure any labelling is of sufficient size and contrast to be legible, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. You will be sent a proof that will include figures.

  • Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case, bold letter ( a, b, c and so on) in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure.
  • Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalised.
  • Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field.
  • Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000).
  • Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend.
  • Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined on the bar itself rather than in the legend.

In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations such as "open red triangles". Avoid unnecessary figures: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced at the smallest size at which essential details are visible.

At the initial submission stage, you may choose to upload separate figure files or to incorporate figures into the main article file, ensuring that any figures are of sufficient quality to be clearly legible.

When submitting a revised manuscript, you must upload all figures as separate figure files, ensuring that the image quality and formatting conforms to the specifications below.

You must supply each complete figure as a separate file upload. Multi-part/panel figures must be prepared and arranged as a single image file (including all sub-parts; a, b, c, etc.). Please do not upload each panel individually.

Please read the digital images integrity and standards section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies . When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest-quality reproduction in the journal. When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines below. Failure to do so, or to adhere to the following guidelines, can significantly delay publication of your work.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

1. Line art, graphs, charts and schematics

For optimal results, you should supply all line art, graphs, charts and schematics in vector format, such as EPS or AI. Please save or export it directly from the application in which it was made, making sure that data points and axis labels are clearly legible.

2. Photographic and bitmap images

Please supply all photographic and bitmap images in a bitmap image format such as tiff, jpg, or psd. If saving tiff files, please ensure that the compression option is selected to avoid very large file sizes. Please do not supply Word or Powerpoint files with placed images. Images can be supplied as RGB or CMYK (note: we will not convert image colour modes).

Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and may delay publication until we receive high-resolution images.

3. Chemical structures

Please produce Chemical structures using ChemDraw or a similar program. All chemical compounds must be assigned a bold, Arabic numeral in the order in which the compounds are presented in the manuscript text. Structures should then be exported into a 300 dpi RGB tiff file before being submitted.

4. Stereo images

You should present stereo diagrams for divergent 'wall-eyed' viewing, with the two panels separated by 5.5 cm. In the final accepted version of the manuscript, you should submit the stereo images at their final page size.

If your paper contains statistical testing, it should state the name of the statistical test, the n value for each statistical analysis, the comparisons of interest, a justification for the use of that test (including, for example, a discussion of the normality of the data when the test is appropriate only for normal data), the alpha level for all tests, whether the tests were one-tailed or two-tailed, and the actual P value for each test (not merely "significant" or "P < 0.05"). Please make it clear what statistical test was used to generate every P value. Use of the word "significant" should always be accompanied by a P value; otherwise, use "substantial," "considerable," etc.

Data sets should be summarised with descriptive statistics, which should include the n value for each data set, a clearly labelled measure of centre (such as the mean or the median), and a clearly labelled measure of variability (such as standard deviation or range).

Ranges are more appropriate than standard deviations or standard errors for small data sets. Graphs should include clearly labelled error bars. You must state whether a number that follows the ± sign is a standard error (s.e.m.) or a standard deviation (s.d.).

You must justify the use of a particular test and explain whether the data conforms to the assumptions of the tests. Three errors are particularly common:

  • Multiple comparisons: when making multiple statistical comparisons on a single data set, you should explain how you adjusted the alpha level to avoid an inflated Type I error rate, or you should select statistical tests appropriate for multiple groups (such as ANOVA rather than a series of t-tests).
  • Normal distribution: many statistical tests require that the data be approximately normally distributed; when using these tests, you should explain how you tested your data for normality. If the data does not meet the assumptions of the test, you should use a non-parametric alternative instead.
  • Small sample size: when the sample size is small (less than about 10), you should use tests appropriate to small samples or justify the use of large-sample tests.

You should identify molecular structures by bold, Arabic numerals assigned in order of presentation in the text. Once identified in the main text or a figure, you may refer to compounds by their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral (as long as the compound is referred to consistently as one of these three).

When possible, you should refer to chemical compounds and biomolecules using systematic nomenclature, preferably using IUPAC . You should use standard chemical and biological abbreviations. Make sure you define unconventional or specialist abbreviations at their first occurrence in the text.

You should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and employ symbols rather than italicised full names (for example Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is Entrez Gene .

You can get approved human gene symbols from HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), e-mail: [email protected] ; see also www.genenames.org .

You can get approved mouse symbols from The Jackson Laboratory, e-mail: [email protected] ; see also www.informatics.jax.org/mgihome/nomen .

For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication of an article.

Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.

Scientific Reports is committed to publishing technically sound research. Manuscripts submitted to the journal will be held to rigorous standards with respect to experimental methods and characterisation of new compounds.

You must provide adequate data to support your assignment of identity and purity for each new compound described in your manuscript. You should provide a statement confirming the source, identity and purity of known compounds that are central to the scientific study, even if they are purchased or resynthesised using published methods.

1. Chemical identity

Chemical identity for organic and organometallic compounds should be established through spectroscopic analysis. Standard peak listings (see formatting guidelines below) for 1H NMR and proton-decoupled 13C NMR should be provided for all new compounds. Other NMR data should be reported (31P NMR, 19F NMR, etc.) when appropriate. For new materials, you should also provide mass spectral data to support molecular weight identity. High-resolution mass spectral (HRMS) data is preferred. You may report UV or IR spectral data for the identification of characteristic functional groups, when appropriate. You should provide melting-point ranges for crystalline materials. You may report specific rotations for chiral compounds. You should provide references, rather than detailed procedures, for known compounds, unless their protocols represent a departure from or improvement on published methods.

2. Combinational compound libraries

When describing the preparation of combinatorial libraries, you should include standard characterisation data for a diverse panel of library components.

3. Biomolecular identity

For new biopolymeric materials (oligosaccharides, peptides, nucleic acids, etc.), direct structural analysis by NMR spectroscopic methods may not be possible. In these cases, you must provide evidence of identity based on sequence (when appropriate) and mass spectral characterisation.

4. Biological constructs

You should provide sequencing or functional data that validates the identity of their biological constructs (plasmids, fusion proteins, site-directed mutants, etc.) either in the manuscript text or the Methods section, as appropriate.

5. Sample purity

We request evidence of sample purity for each new compound. Methods for purity analysis depend on the compound class. For most organic and organometallic compounds, purity may be demonstrated by high-field 1H NMR or 13C NMR data, although elemental analysis (±0.4%) is encouraged for small molecules. You may use quantitative analytical methods including chromatographic (GC, HPLC, etc.) or electrophoretic analyses to demonstrate purity for small molecules and polymeric materials.

6. Spectral data

Please provide detailed spectral data for new compounds in list form (see below) in the Methods section. Figures containing spectra generally will not be published as a manuscript figure unless the data are directly relevant to the central conclusions of the paper. You are encouraged to include high-quality images of spectral data for key compounds in the Supplementary Information. You should list specific NMR assignments after integration values only if they were unambiguously determined by multidimensional NMR or decoupling experiments. You should provide information about how assignments were made in a general Methods section.

Example format for compound characterisation data. mp: 100-102 °C (lit. ref 99-101 °C); TLC (CHCl 3 :MeOH, 98:2 v/v): R f = 0.23; [α] D = -21.5 (0.1 M in n-hexane); 1 H NMR (400 MHz, CDCl 3 ): δ 9.30 (s, 1H), 7.55-7.41 (m, 6H), 5.61 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 5.40 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 4.93 (m, 1H), 4.20 (q, J = 8.5 Hz, 2H), 2.11 (s, 3H), 1.25 (t, J = 8.5 Hz, 3H); 13 C NMR (125 MHz, CDCl 3 ): δ 165.4, 165.0, 140.5, 138.7, 131.5, 129.2, 118.6, 84.2, 75.8, 66.7, 37.9, 20.1; IR (Nujol): 1765 cm- 1 ; UV/Vis: λ max 267 nm; HRMS (m/z): [M] + calcd. for C 20 H 15 C l2 NO 5 , 420.0406; found, 420.0412; analysis (calcd., found for C 20 H 15 C l2 NO 5 ): C (57.16, 57.22), H (3.60, 3.61), Cl (16.87, 16.88), N (3.33, 3.33), O (19.04, 19.09).

7. Crystallographic data for small molecules

If your manuscript is reporting new three-dimensional structures of small molecules from crystallographic analysis, you should include a .cif file and a structural figure with probability ellipsoids for publication as Supplementary Information. These must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine, and you must include a PDF copy of the output with the submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported. You should submit crystallographic data for small molecules to the Cambridge Structural Database and the deposition number referenced appropriately in the manuscript. Full access must be provided on publication.

8. Macromolecular structural data

If your manuscript is reporting new structures, it should contain a table summarising structural and refinement statistics. Templates are available for such tables describing NMR and X-ray crystallography data. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, you should submit with the manuscript a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (≳10; for NMR papers). If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, you should also provide a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace).

Registered Reports are original research articles which undergo peer-review prior to data collection and analyses. This format is designed to minimize publication bias and research bias in hypothesis-driven research, while also allowing the flexibility to conduct exploratory (unregistered) analyses and report serendipitous findings. If you intend to submit a Registered Report to Scientific Reports , please refer to detailed guidelines here .

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How to prepare and submit abstracts for scientific meetings

Como elaborar e submeter resumos de trabalhos científicos para congressos.

The presentation of study results is a key step in scientific research, and submitting an abstract to a meeting is often the first form of public communication. Meeting abstracts have a defined structure that is similar to abstracts for scientific articles, with an introduction, the objective, methods, results and conclusions. However, abstracts for meetings are not presented as part of a full article and, therefore, must contain the necessary and most relevant data. In this article, we detail their structure and include tips to make them technically correct.

A apresentação dos resultados de um trabalho é ponto crucial da metodologia científica, e o envio de resumo para congressos é frequentemente sua primeira forma de comunicação pública. O resumo contém estrutura definida e é semelhante aos resumos de artigos científicos, com introdução, objetivo, métodos, resultados e conclusões. No entanto, o resumo para congresso não é apresentado como parte de artigo completo e, por isso, ele deve conter as informações necessárias e mais relevantes. Neste artigo, detalhamos sua estrutura e algumas dicas para torná-lo tecnicamente correto.

INTRODUCTION

Submitting abstracts for meetings is useful for communicating the first results of a new study, just as submitting scientific articles to journals for publication is the best way of communicating the final results of a study. The submission of abstracts describing scientific studies for professional meetings encompasses a variety of goals. The study authors may be partly or fully evaluated by their peers, i.e., other professionals in the same field may provide feedback and suggestions to refine the method and results presented. ( 1 ) This is also an excellent way of pre-reporting a study, whether it is an observational or intervention study, promoting interaction between researchers interested in the same topic. ( 1 )

Abstracts should only include the most relevant data from the study, with the goal of enabling the reviewer to assess whether the rationale and scientific context are appropriate to evaluate the topic. ( 2 ) Authors commonly clarify the details of the study, although this may result in a confusing and poorly structured abstract. An abstract must have sufficient impact to draw the reviewers' and readers' attention, i.e., maintain their interest while reading the text.

WRITING STYLE AND LANGUAGE

First, the instructions for writing the abstract and the deadline for its submission should be checked. The rules regarding the font type and size should be followed. Abstracts have word or character limits (including or excluding spaces) that are often 250 to 300 words. Prior knowledge of this limit is important when writing the introduction and method sections of the abstract because these sections are more flexible and may be adapted to remain within the length limit. Clear and concise language is necessary for each section of the abstract. The use of abbreviations is usually not allowed, despite the necessary economy of words. Abbreviations may be used in very special cases that require the repetition of long terms. They should be written in full the first time the abbreviation appears in the text. Another tip is to avoid using adjectives or adverbs, maintaining strictly scientific language; articles (mostly the indefinite) may eventually be omitted. The use of the first person plural has become increasingly common and is now often the most appropriate form for scientific texts. ( 3 ) Overuse of the passive voice renders the text boring, repetitive and impersonal. Traditional thinking regarding the use of the first person as petulant is countered by the argument that researchers are indeed the ones performing the actions they describe and that they should be responsible for them. This new approach may be used in abstract writing, although it applies primarily to the article, and the use of passive voice is more common in abstracts, given the necessary economy of words. ( 3 )

Misspellings should also be corrected because abstracts are frequently published in the annals of meetings without editing after submission. An up-to-date spell checker and word processing program should be used to correct grammatical errors and to count words and characters. The word count tools of the most common word processing programs, including Microsoft Word ® , use different counting rules from most electronic submission sites. Thus, the count performed in word processing software often exceeds the limit on the website. Therefore, although the writing may be mainly accomplished using a software program, final adjustments should be performed directly on the submission website.

Title, authors and affiliations

The title, authors and their affiliations must be included, regardless of the form of submission, electronic or otherwise. The title should be catchy and self-explanatory. All unnecessary words should be deleted. There are essentially two standards: one in which the title asks a question relating to the study objectives and one in which the main finding of the study is given. ( 4 ) The latter format has recently become more popular. Ideally, the title should also provide information on the mechanism and the population to which it applies. Thus, "Effects of early use of antibiotics" sounds less interesting than when phrased in the form of a question, such as "Do antibiotics alter the outcomes of sepsis?", although both describe the objective of the study. Conversely, "Early use of antibiotics reduces mortality in patients with shock, but not in those with sepsis" is much more appealing and descriptive.

The format of the authors' names should comply with the rules of the meeting. Ideally, the full name should always be provided, without abbreviations, to avoid ambiguity or errors in the author indexing process, when the abstract is published in an indexed journal. However, writing a name with an abbreviated middle name or the author's last name first may be required. The format of affiliations should also be standardized, and the rules of the meeting should be followed. Usually, the name of the institution should be written out in full, indicating the city, state and country. Including all authors' e-mail addresses is commonly required in electronic submission systems.

ABSTRACT STRUCTURE

Abstracts may have different structures, depending on the rules established by the scientific committee of a meeting. They may be continuous or structured. ( 2 ) Usually, review articles and reports of clinical cases use unstructured abstracts, i.e., the text is not divided into sections and is written as a single block. All key parts are included, and the flow of the text is maintained. Usually, structured abstracts are divided into the following sections: introduction or rationale, methods, results and conclusions. Structuring abstracts in this form is advised so that they comply with the rules of the event, as the use of other sections may result in automatic rejection. For example, one of the most frequent errors is the use of an introduction section when only objectives section is required.

Introduction and objectives

The introduction or study rationale description is the first part of most abstracts for meetings. An introductory sentence on the general topic is welcome, especially if it describes something that is general knowledge (e.g., "Maintenance of blood pressure at very low levels has a negative impact on cerebral ischemia"). Next, the topic or question that the study will address is given (e.g., "The use of nimodipine in the treatment of cerebral ischemia reduces the effects of oxidation in neurons, although it may lead to hypotension").

The study objectives should be cited next. The objective(s) should be described as specifically and concisely as possible. ( 2 ) Try to avoid citing too many objectives, as in a scientific article, because the goal of the abstract is to inform the reader of only the main points of the study. As already mentioned, there may be no room for introducing the topic. In this case, the proper formulation of the objectives is even more critical.

The methodology should be based on a few main points: the study design; the study setting (intensive care unit, emergency unit or ward); the inclusion and exclusion criteria; the intervention applied (or the data observed) and the outcomes to be analyzed. How the study objective was developed, the topics of observation or intervention in the patients studied, and the methods of data analysis should be clarified. "Prospective observational study included patients over 18 years of age, admitted to the ICU and under mechanical ventilation for 48 hours, after signing the consent form" and "Patients in the period following thoracic surgery were excluded" are appropriate sentences. Note that the exclusion criteria are included in the universe of inclusion, e.g., for the first case above, there is no need to mention excluding those below 18 years of age. The intervention applied or the data collected to address the objective should be mandatorily described. There is no need mention all the data collected in detail, e.g., demographic data may be cited instead of age, gender and race, among others. The numerical form in which the data are shown, e.g., mean and standard deviation or percentage, and the main statistical tests used should be reported if there is enough space. The statistical analysis may be summarized or omitted if there are not enough words/characters available; the reviewers will likely assume that the statistical analysis was properly performed. Eventually, the authors should report more specific statistical analyses, including regressions and propensity scores. The most common error in this section is the inclusion of results, e.g., data or the number of patients included. Although a statement of the approval of the study by an ethics committee is mandatory in the body of the full article, it is not usually required in meeting abstracts due to a lack of space. As a result, all ethical rules are presumably properly followed. Some systems require the responsible author state that these precepts were fully met during submission of the abstract.

The results constitute the main summary of the study, and the author(s) should save more words for that section. ( 3 ) The initial description of the population studied, followed by the analysis addressing the main objective, is the essential part of the results. The abstract must report the number of patients included because this information is necessary to judge the validity of the results presented. Tables or figures may be included in the abstracts for some meetings. Note that these tables and figures must be small and only show the most representative results, as abstracts are compact forms of publication. Large tables and complex figures can be difficult to read and comprehend. Finally, there is no room in this section for discussing and comparing the results with those of other studies.

Conclusions

The conclusions should be concise and impactful. The author(s) should include the answer(s) to the given objective(s) in one or two sentences. ( 1 ) The conclusion is the section that will be read most frequently, after the study title. Here, there is no room for discussing the results, which is a fairly frequent error. The most common error in the conclusion is to extrapolate the data evaluated by the study, which may result in the immediate rejection of the abstract, with no opportunity to resubmit.

The citation of references is recommended, although this may be difficult due to the inclusion of the number of words/characters in the references or the total word/character count, which is already limited.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION

The abstract submission process also has steps that must be completed. Nowadays, most events use an electronic submission system, which facilitates the management of hundreds of submitted abstracts. From the authors' standpoint, these systems are also beneficial because they are usually self-explanatory and reduce the chance of inappropriate submissions.

Some additional considerations should be addressed. Choose the subject area that is most appropriate for your abstract; this will ensure that it is presented and discussed alongside studies of the same topic, which will benefit the author(s). Another point to be considered is that abstracts are presented individually and may be grouped in a session relating to the secondary objectives of the initial study. Reviewing committees may reject abstracts that discuss topics that are not included in the main study. Many meetings do not accept case reports and literature reviews, even in the form of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, because the original themes are given preference by the scientific committees. Other meetings accept these types of abstracts, but have different rules for them.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The presentation of results from scientific studies at meetings is a key step in communicating science to those for whom the results are relevant. Furthermore, it greatly contributes to improving the quality of publications in their final format. Within this context, the development of a good abstract, according to the rules of good scientific writing, is essential. The tips outlined in table 1 may assist in this process.

Tips for preparing abstracts for scientific meetings

ICU - intensive care unit.

Conflicts of interest: None.

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How to Submit a Paper for Publication in a Journal

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Whether you’ve done it before, or not, submitting a paper for publication in a journal is, to say the least, a process that brings great anxiety and stress. After all your hard work for many months, or even years, recognition is finally at your grasp. That is why there no room for mistakes.

What to Expect of the Scientific Publishing Process

If you are a beginner, you might be struggling to know exactly what to do. After all, it is a step-by-step process, sometimes with a lot of players and paperwork involved; it’s not always evident what to do next. An excellent, high-quality manuscript is the best way to give a good impression from the beginning, putting your paper on the right track for a successful submission. At Elsevier, with our Language Editing services , we not only revise your manuscript, but guarantee there are no text errors.

If, on the other hand, you have already published articles, you might have enough experience to know that each paper submission in a journal is different. Either the journal is different, or the context has changed, or the peers are new. You never know what can go right or wrong, other than the variable that lies under your control – that the manuscript is error-free and spot-on for successful acceptance. In this case, you might consider Elsevier’s professional Language Editing services to amend your text to the target journal’s requirements, helping you focus on other projects.

Scientific Paper Submission. Are you ready? Let’s go!

For many researchers, putting their paper through the professional journal submission process is stressful. Here is a simple to-do list which might help you go through all of it with some peace of mind:

  • Use an external editing service, such as Elsevier’s Author Services if you need assistance with language.
  • Free e-learning modules on preparing your manuscript can be found on Researcher Academy.
  • Mendeley makes your life easier by helping you organize your papers, citations and references, accessing them in the cloud on any device, wherever you are.
  • Do not rush submitting your article for publication Carefully re-read and revise your manuscript. Re-reading is essential in the research field and helps identify the most common problems and shortcomings in the manuscript, which might otherwise be overlooked. Often, reading your text out loud will uncover more errors than reading silently to yourself. If you are doubtful about the quality of your text, consider Elsevier’s Professional Language Editing services . Our professional team is trained to provide you with an optimal text for successful submission.
  • Read the journal’s aims and scope to make sure they match your paper.
  • Check whether you can submit – some journals are invitation only.
  • Use the journal’s metrics to measure its impact. In fact, you can also check other additional info – like speed and reach to understand if it’s the right one for you.
  • If you’re a post doc, check out our free access program.
  • Read the aims and scope and author guidelines of your target journal carefully Once you think your manuscript is ready for submission, the next important step is to read the aims and scope of the journals in your target research area. Doing so will improve the chances of having your manuscript accepted for publishing.
  • Submit a cover letter with the manuscript Never underestimate the importance of a cover letter addressed to the editor or editor-in-chief of the target journal. A good cover letter should underline 3 main aspects: the main theme of the paper, its originality/novelty and the relevance of the manuscript to the target journal.
  • Make a good first impression with your title and abstract The title and abstract are incredibly important components of a manuscript as they are the first elements a journal editor sees. They create interest and curiosity about the whole work.

Now, what happens if your paper gets rejected by the journal ? It is, by no means, the end of the world. There are very real steps you can take to ultimately get published in a reputable journal.

The Science of Article Publishing

Article publishing is every researcher’s aim. It brings visibility and recognition, essential factors for those who intend to build a full career in research. However, most scientists feel handicapped or lost when it comes to conveying their findings or ideas to others. For many, it can be difficult to re-format a certain type of text to another, be aware of formatting requirements and translate their work into visually appealing outcomes. Additionally, keeping track of all the steps needed to submit an article for publication can be overwhelming and take too much time that could be spent doing new research.

At Elsevier, we believe everyone should be doing what they do best: in this case, leave research for scientists and leave the science of turning the best ideas into excellent quality text to our professionals.

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International relations and the Commonwealth of Nations

International relations and the commonwealth of nations  open_in_new.

This year, 2024, marks the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Nations. While some scholars in International Business and International Relations see it as an embarrassing legacy of the British Empire that should be allowed to wither away, the modern Commonwealth of Nations has grown in membership from seven in 1949 to 56 member states today. This includes countries that were never part of the British Empire or had no constitutional links with the United Kingdom. In addition, more countries have expressed an interest in joining.

International Business researchers increasingly see the relevance of International Relations to International Business and vice versa. There are good reasons why. The modern Commonwealth has a combined population of 2.5 billion people, more than a third of the world’s population, and covers more than a quarter of the world’s land mass. Despite this, the Commonwealth has received little interest recently from International Relations and International Business scholars alike, with only a few notable exceptions, such as Shaw and Ashworth (2010) or McDougall (2018). Much has changed since then, with a Commonwealth Charter signed in 2013 and an ever-expanding membership.

This is a call to revive International Relations scholars’ interest in this unique international organization in both its intergovernmental and non-governmental guises and to engage International Business Researchers in the conversation from their own distinctive perspectives. The theme of the conference will therefore be “Emerging issues, old dilemmas: international relations perspectives on the Commonwealth of Nations at 75 years old”.   We encourage submissions that interpret this theme broadly, including methodological, epistemic, theoretical, and thematic perspectives on it. Contributions that explore underrepresented topics and multidisciplinary perspectives are also encouraged.

Topics of Interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Different IR/IPE theories’ perspectives on the Commonwealth.
  • Innovative theoretical frameworks in Commonwealth studies.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to issues affecting the Commonwealth as a whole or its member states (including, but not limited to, climate change, democratisation, cultural exchange, education, human rights, development, civil society, international business and international trade.
  • Comparative studies that bring the commonwealth as an organisation into dialogue with each other, or non-Commonwealth countries.
  • Research applying innovative or historically grounded methodologies, ideologies, or epistemic principles.
  • Investigations into the role of the commonwealth within global contexts.

Submission guidelines:

  • Please send an abstract of no longer than 250 words that explains how your research focuses on the Commonwealth.
  • Additionally, please include a brief biography (up to 150 words), considering your academic affiliation, research interests, and contact information.
  • Please send your proposal to  [email protected]  (subject line: IR perspectives on the Commonwealth) no later than June 1 2024. Notification of acceptance will be sent by July 1, 2024.

The organizers hope to select papers for inclusion in a book or special edition of a journal and look forward to receiving your research proposals.

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MOSS: An Open Conversational Large Language Model

  • Research Article
  • Published: 20 May 2024

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  • Tianxiang Sun   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8291-820X 1 ,
  • Xiaotian Zhang 1 ,
  • Zhengfu He 1 ,
  • Peng Li 1 ,
  • Qinyuan Cheng 1 ,
  • Xiangyang Liu 1 ,
  • Hang Yan 1 ,
  • Yunfan Shao 1 ,
  • Qiong Tang 1 ,
  • Shiduo Zhang 1 ,
  • Xingjian Zhao 1 ,
  • Ke Chen 1 ,
  • Yining Zheng 1 ,
  • Zhejian Zhou 1 ,
  • Ruixiao Li 1 ,
  • Jun Zhan 1 ,
  • Yunhua Zhou 1 ,
  • Linyang Li 1 ,
  • Xiaogui Yang   ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0002-2778-0572 1 ,
  • Lingling Wu 1 ,
  • Zhangyue Yin 1 ,
  • Xuanjing Huang   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9197-9426 1 ,
  • Yu-Gang Jiang   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1907-8567 1 &
  • Xipeng Qiu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7163-5247 1  

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Conversational large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT and GPT-4 have recently exhibited remarkable capabilities across various domains, capturing widespread attention from the public. To facilitate this line of research, in this paper, we report the development of MOSS, an open-sourced conversational LLM that contains 16 B parameters and can perform a variety of instructions in multi-turn interactions with humans. The base model of MOSS is pre-trained on large-scale unlabeled English, Chinese, and code data. To optimize the model for dialogue, we generate 1.1 M synthetic conversations based on user prompts collected through our earlier versions of the model API. We then perform preference-aware training on preference data annotated from AI feedback. Evaluation results on real-world use cases and academic benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approaches. In addition, we present an effective practice to augment MOSS with several external tools. Through the development of MOSS, we have established a complete technical roadmap for large language models from pre-training, supervised fine-tuning to alignment, verifying the feasibility of chatGPT under resource-limited conditions and providing a reference for both the academic and industrial communities. Model weights and code are publicly available at https://github.com/OpenMOSS/MOSS .

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Natural language processing: state of the art, current trends and challenges

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A survey on large language model based autonomous agents

Embodied human language models vs. large language models, or why artificial intelligence cannot explain the modal be able to.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 62022027). We also extend our gratitude to the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, China, for providing the computational resources.

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Fudan University, Shanghai, 200438, China

Tianxiang Sun, Xiaotian Zhang, Zhengfu He, Peng Li, Qinyuan Cheng, Xiangyang Liu, Hang Yan, Yunfan Shao, Qiong Tang, Shiduo Zhang, Xingjian Zhao, Ke Chen, Yining Zheng, Zhejian Zhou, Ruixiao Li, Jun Zhan, Yunhua Zhou, Linyang Li, Xiaogui Yang, Lingling Wu, Zhangyue Yin, Xuanjing Huang, Yu-Gang Jiang & Xipeng Qiu

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Correspondence to Xipeng Qiu .

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Colored figures are available in the online version at https://link.springer.com/journal/11633

Tianxiang Sun received the B. Eng. degree in software engineering from Xidian University, China in 2019. He is currently a Ph.D. degree candidate in School of Computer Science, Fudan University, China.

His research interests include natural language processing and deep learning.

Xiaotian Zhang received the B. Eng. degree in civil engineering from Tongji University, China in 2021. He received the M. Eng. degree in computer science and technology at Fudan University, China in 2004, under the supervision of Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interest is natural language processing.

Zhengfu He received the B. Sc. degree in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2023. He is a Ph.D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interests include mechanistic interpretability and large language models.

Peng Li received the B. Eng. degree in data science from East China Normal University, China in 2020. He is now a master student at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interest is foundation models.

Qinyuan Cheng received the B. Eng. degree in computer science from Sun Yat-Sen University, China in 2020. He is a Ph.D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interest is large language models.

Xiangyang Liu received the B. Eng. degree in intelligence science and technology from Xidian University, China in 2020. He is now a Ph. D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interests include language model training, efficient methods and AI alignment.

Hang Yan received the B. Eng. degree in electrical engineering and automation from Fudan University, China in 2015, received the M. Eng. degree in electrical engineer at Columbia University, USA in 2017. He is a Ph.D. degree candidate in computer science from Fudan University, China, under the supervision of Professor XiPeng Qiu.

His research interests include large model training, information extraction, and open-source software development.

Yunfan Shao received the B. Sc. and M. Sc. degrees in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2019 and 2022, respectively. He is a Ph.D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China.

Qiong Tang received the B. Sc. degree in data science from East China Normal University, China in 2022. She is a master student at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

Shiduo Zhang received the B. Eng. degree in software engineering from Tongji University, China in 2023. He is now a master student at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interests include foundation models and embodied AI.

Xingjian Zhao received the B. Sc. degree in artificial intelligence from Fudan University, China in 2024. He is now a master student in computer science at Fudan University, China.

Ke Chen is an open source contributor for open-moss project and moss backend, interested in system software. He is now pursuing the Bachelor’s degree in computer science at Fudan University, China.

His research interests include natural language processing and artificial intelligence

Yining Zheng received the B. Sc. degree in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2019. He is now a Ph.D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interests include large language model training and efficient methods.

Zhejian Zhou received the B. Sc. degree in electronic and information science and technology from the School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, Peking University, China. He was a visiting student at the Fudan NLP Group. He is currently a Ph.D. degree candidate in computer science at University of Southern California, USA.

His research interests include artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

Ruixiao Li received the B. Sc. degree in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2024. He is now a Ph.D. degree candidate in computer science at Fudan University, China.

Jun Zhan received the B. Eng. degree in software engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China in 2022, and is currently a master student computer science at Fudan University, China.

Yunhua Zhou received the M. Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2019 and 2024, respectively. Currently, He is a researcher at the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, China.

Linyang Li received the B. Eng. degree in electronical engineering from Fudan University, China in 2019. He is a Ph.D. degree candidate in computer science from Fudan University, China, under the supervision of Professor Xipeng Qiu.

His research interests include large model training, AI safety studies on large language models.

Xiaogui Yang received the B. Sc. and M. Eng. degrees in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2021 and 2024, respectively. Currently, he is an engineer at the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, China.

Lingling Wu received the B. Sc. degree in computer science from Shanghai JiaoTong University and M. Eng. degree in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2021 and 2024, respectively.

Her research interest is natural language processing.

Zhangyue Yin received the B. Sc. degree in data science from East China Normal University, China in 2021. He is now a Ph.D. degree candidate at Fudan University, China, supervised by Professor Xipeng Qiu and Professor Xuanjing Huang.

His research interests include large language models and machine reasoning.

Xuanjing Huang received the Ph.D. degree in computer science from Fudan University, China in 1998. She is currently a professor at the School of Computer Science, Fudan University, China.

Her research interests include natural language processing and information retrieval, with a particular emphasis on sentiment analysis, information extraction, pre-trained language models, and the robustness and interpretability of NLP.

Yu-Gang Jiang received the Ph.D. degree in computer science from City University of Hong Kong, China in 2009. He is Vice President of Fudan University, China, and a Chang Jiang Scholar Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. He is a Fellow of IEEE and IAPR.

His research interests include multimedia, computer vision, and trustworthy AGI.

Xipeng Qiu received the B. Sc. degree and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Fudan University, China in 2001 and 2006, respectively. Currently, he is a professor at School of Computer Science, Fudan University, China.

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Sun, T., Zhang, X., He, Z. et al. MOSS: An Open Conversational Large Language Model. Mach. Intell. Res. (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11633-024-1502-8

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Received : 25 December 2023

Accepted : 15 March 2024

Published : 20 May 2024

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11633-024-1502-8

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Title: lbt shark-vis observes a major resurfacing event on io.

Abstract: Since volcanic activity was first discovered on Io from Voyager images in 1979, changes on Io's surface have been monitored from both spacecraft and ground-based telescopes. Here, we present the highest spatial resolution images of Io ever obtained from a ground-based telescope. These images, acquired by the SHARK-VIS instrument on the Large Binocular Telescope, show evidence of a major resurfacing event on Io's trailing hemisphere. When compared to the most recent spacecraft images, the SHARK-VIS images show that a plume deposit from a powerful eruption at Pillan Patera has covered part of the long-lived Pele plume deposit. Although this type of resurfacing event may be common on Io, few have been detected due to the rarity of spacecraft visits and the previously low spatial resolution available from Earth-based telescopes. The SHARK-VIS instrument ushers in a new era of high resolution imaging of Io's surface using adaptive optics at visible wavelengths.

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