What is an Abstract?

An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper or academic journal article. Typically a single paragraph in length, the abstract appears at the beginning of the text in order to provide the reader with an overview of the main points so he or she can then decide whether to continue reading or not.


Most abstracts follow the same basic structure, which means they reflect the basic structure of a typical research paper. Most papers and journal articles are broken down like this:

  • Introduction
  • Purpose
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion

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