Maintain the Word Limits in Your Research Abstract

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do” – quote by Thomas Jefferson.

An abstract is an important element of a research paper and one must necessarily adhere to the format of an abstract before writing it. To write a research abstract is undeniably very tough, time-consuming and demands dedicated work on the chosen topic. An extensive research on any topic involves a detailed study of the previous works done on the subject matter and the present on-going works by other researchers. A research paper generally consists of a cover page, an abstract, introduction, main body of the thesis paper, the conclusions and a reference page citing all the works by other researchers that have been referred while writing the paper. A research abstract is similar to that of a research paper outline, but is written in the form of a paragraph, instead of being presented number wise.

Abstracts follow a certain and specified length. Lengthy abstracts exceeding the specified maximum word limit are very often rejected. However, an abstract must necessarily contain all the main keywords of the thesis work so that it can be stored in databases for future referencing by other researchers. Abstracts generally follow the limit of 200 to 300 words. Within this specified word limit, it should introduce the research topic and give a summary of the entire work along with the methodology, findings and conclusions. In short, an abstract should summarize the entire research work in a nutshell.

Presenting your work and specifying your ideologies within certain limits and using sensible words will attract more readers towards your abstract. Use writing techniques that will convey your point at its best staying within the word limits. Poor writing habits can make your writing, wordy and flabby, leading to boredom in your readers. Good writing techniques, like exercise and a healthy diet, makes your write-up powerful and concise.

To give your writing a healthy diet and exercise routine, you may incorporate these techniques:

1. Before writing an abstract go through various research paper examples and study them properly to understand the correct pattern of abstract writing.

2. Write first and edit later. Avoid using the same words over and over again. If necessary, use a thesaurus to find synonyms.

3. Look at the voice of your verbs. Minimize the use of the passive voice.

• Flabby: According to study it was found that. (7 words)

• Lean: We found that. (3 words)

4. Avoid excessive hedging. Replace phrases with single, active and descriptive verbs.

• Obese: As per the findings, it was concluded that… (8 words)

• Slender: We concluded… (2 words)

5. Avoid pleonasms (redundancies).

6. Stay away from meaningless sentences. Every sentence should be well reflected and filled with innovative ideas.

7. Read your abstract loudly and proofread as you write. Listen carefully to how it sounds and correct problems as you go.

8. Read through your abstract several times.

9. Consult a friend with a good grasp of language to review your abstract.

10. Try not to leave your abstract till the last moment. Time helps you to see errors and avoid repetitions.

These few techniques will put your writing in shape and help you stay within the word limits.

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