The importance of the Abstract in essay writing
How do you select what sources to read for writing an exam or an assignment? The obvious answer is: by reading the abstract. What makes reading the abstract so important? Again, your answer would be: because the abstract contains a summary of all the content in the paper, it gives us a preview of what we can expect to find in it. So, we can select those papers that are relevant to us, without poring through the whole paper.
An abstract serves as a roadmap. 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. But how can you write the abstract without writing the other parts of the essay? That, my friend, is the secret: the abstract, like even the introduction sometimes, is always written at the end, although they are placed in the beginning. The reason for doing this is because the abstract can be structured and written meticulously only after the whole paper has been written.
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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 a 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 the full document. Reading an abstract ensures that you save valuable time, which would otherwise have been lost in reading through. This is especially true when you have to sift through a lot of articles that are generated from the keyword search. The keywords would point to hundreds of articles and reference sources. But they may be relevant to your research. A well-written abstract is the quickest way to selecting the most appropriate source.
In the case of student assignments, writing an abstract not only provides the general reader with a summary of the assignment, but it is also an indicator to the tutor who is grading your paper. A good, well-written abstract attracts the attention of the grader to pay more attention to your paper, than the others’ assignments. So, in fact, it can get you more points in the evaluation.
Then, what are the main requirements of a good abstract?
A good abstract requires the following things to be followed:
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 concise. Words are precious and cannot be wasted: hence, all unnecessary flourishes should be avoided. Long and complicated sentences are confusing to the reader. Moreover, you tend to make more grammatical mistakes when you write long sentences. Abstracts are never more than 200 words, even when the paper is very long. So, after writing the abstract, trim it down by cutting any unnecessary words or phrases.
The abstract should be written in a simple, and clear language which even a non-specialist can understand. Jargon and colloquialisms should be avoided. Short sentences would get rid of the ambiguity and make even the most complex or technical subject comprehensible to the ordinary layman.
- The sentence structure should be appropriate.
Complete sentences should be used. For instance, the language of a scientific article is different from one on psychology or literature. Make use of suitable vocabulary and usages.
- 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. Check to see that all parts of the text are summarized in the abstract. Remove all long descriptions or arguments that can best be read later.
- It should be accurate and readable.
Incomplete sentences or inaccurate information would deter, rather than encourage the reader to read on. The precision of the language does not mean the imprecision