Sometimes you will be asked to write what is called an abstract for a research paper. Many people do not even know what an abstract is. To clarify, an abstract is basically a summary of the research paper. It allows the reader a peek at the contents without reading the whole research paper. On average they are 100 to 250 words in length and give a general and overall view of the paper itself. Now you may be asking yourself why you would ever need to write an abstract at all. Here are some times it may be needed.
Some teachers and/or professors may require that you write an abstract. Some research papers are given as assignments well in advance to give the student proper time to work on the paper and do well on it. Research takes time. Having to hand in an abstract midway through the deadline can give the professor or teacher an idea of how far you have come in this amount of time. It can also show how well you are doing and whether or not you are struggling with the assignment or are just plain slacking off.This is a common reason to write an abstract.
In many fields they have a saying, publish or perish. This means that in order to stay relevant and get funding for your work you must publish in journals common to your field. You may write an abstract in order to give people an idea of what this paper will say in order to get them to read it or even to get the journal to publish it. The better an idea they have of the topic and point, the more likely they are to want to add it to their list of must read papers.
Much like in the professional field, you may want to generate more interest. There may be a research paper that you wrote on your own time for your own personal reasons for a cause or idea that you believe in. if you want people to read it, handing out 20 page copies of your findings is probably not the best way to go about it. Reading a few hundred words on the other hand might be something that people are more willing to do. This might get them to read your paper because they are hooked on the ideas in the abstract.
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