How important is an Abstract in essay writing

On May 29th, 2015, Posted by admin

If you are reading a research paper, you would be familiar with the term abstract. An abstract is a necessary part of research paper writing and may sometimes be required as part of academic assignments such as essays. It serves a very important role in guiding the reader to the contents of the essay.

An abstract serves as a road map. Whether it is an essay or a research paper, a high quality scholarly piece of writing would be enhanced by the presence of an abstract.

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 Why are abstracts useful?

Abstracts are very useful ways of storing research and scholarly information in a concise form. They are used by online databases and libraries as a way to help retrieve information on a particular topic. The use of abstracts saves time and space. Abstracts often come with links to the full article. It is thus a convenient and efficient way of information presentation. All research papers come with abstracts.

 What  is meant by the term “abstract”?

Literally speaking, the word abstract means condensed version of a more elaborate and detailed piece of work. In short, the abstract concisely represents the points made in the whole essay including the thesis, the arguments, evidence and conclusion. You can get a bird’s eye view of the work, at a single glance. Hence, the abstract becomes very useful when you have to sift through piles and piles of information and need to do a lot of reading. The abstract is next in importance to the title, when it comes to visibility. However, as it requires a summation of the whole content of the essay, it is often best left to the last when the essay or paper has been completed.

 Essentials of writing an abstract!

Having said that, when you are writing an abstract, you should remember the essentials of what abstract writing is all about! Abstracts serve to provide useful information related to a topic or issue of interest to  a student; it is a way of determining in a quick way whether a piece of work is of use and relevant for the assignment. By going through the abstract, which provides the aim, methodology and results of a particular study in a concise way, readers can evaluate whether this justifies reading the whole paper. Thus, an abstract read comes before reading  a full document. Reading an abstract ensures that you save valuable time, which would otherwise have been lost in reading through.

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A good abstract requires the following things to be followed:

  • Precision

Ensure that the abstract is precise and to the point. It should only mention the information present in the document.  The maxim–Neither more nor less– should be followed at all costs. The language should be precise. Words are precious and cannotbe wasted; hence, all unnecessary flourishes have to be outlawed.

  • Clarity

The abstract should be in simple, clear language which a non-specialist can understand. Jargon and colloquialisms should be avoided.

  • Sentence structure should be proper.

Complete sentences should be used.

  • Focus on the issue.

The abstract should not contain mentions of the author or the kind of document. Its focus is exclusively on the subject matter alone.

  • It should be accurate and readable.

 Image courtesy of [renjith krishnan] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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