Creating A Research Paper Abstract And Outline: Things To Remember


An abstract is a summary of your research paper. It is usually not longer than 350 words and it describes in general terms what you are writing about. So if you are discussing the effects of the dark on cacti, then you will explain your hypothesis, experiment, and methods in summary form. An outline is similar to a roadmap, and it will guide you through the research and writing phases of this essay. Follow these rules as you work on it.

Steps for the Abstract

  1. Write the paper first-The paper needs to be written first even though the abstract is the first thing in the paper, you have to write the paper before you can actually summarize it.
  2. Know all of the teacher guidelines-the teacher should tell you how long to make the abstract, which style to use such as APA or MLA, and whether or not this paper will be written in anticipation of being published.
  3. Know the abstract type you are required to compose-there are different types of abstracts:
    • Informative- an informative style will tell everything your research involved as well as the results. As a rule this style makes for a much longer piece of writing than the descriptive style.
    • Descriptive-it will give the goal, reason, and methods of your research. The results will be omitted in this style of writing.

Rules for the Outline

The outline, unlike the abstract, is written before the paper. In fact, it is often composed before the research even begins. It needs to be detailed and it should evolve as the project moves along. An outline that never changes is not a very good one. It should be edited, added to, and parts deleted as the entire process moves from beginning to end. You need to find out what kind of outline is used, the two types are:

  • Topic-in this style, there are no sentences beyond the thesis statement and any quotes. Other than those words, all of the different steps are phrases of about 4-5 words.
  • Sentence-in this style, all of the different steps are written in complete sentences.

Your abstract and your outline will have very specific rules and guidelines. When you get ready to write one, then you can use this guide to help you follow the correct rules and complete it properly.

Writing Resources

Prepare Final Copy

Set your paper aside before you start writing a revised and edited copy

Revision means you look for ways to re-organize your paper for effectiveness.

After a revision you will proofread and edit your final copy, ensuring all the grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes are corrected.

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