Example Of An Abstract Page For A Research Paper

Sample Physical and Life Sciences Abstract

Do Voles Select Dense Vegetation for Movement Pathways at the Microhabitat Level?

Biological Sciences
The relationship between habitat use by voles (Rodentia: Microtus) and the density of vegetative cover was studied to determine if voles select forage areas at the microhabitat level.  Using live traps, I trapped, powdered, and released voles at 10 sites.  At each trap site I analyzed the type and height of the vegetation in the immediate area.  Using a black light, I followed the trails left by powdered voles through the vegetation.  I mapped the trails using a compass to ascertain the tortuosity, or amount the trail twisted and turned, and visually checked the trails to determine obstruction of the movement path by vegetation.  I also checked vegetative obstruction on 4 random paths near the actual trail, to compare the cover on the trail with other nearby alternative pathways.  There was not a statistically significant difference between the amount of cover on a vole trail and the cover off to the sides of the trail when completely covered; there was a significant difference between on and off the trail when the path was completely open.  These results indicate that voles are selectively avoiding bare areas, while not choosing among dense patches at a fine microhabitat scale.

Sample Social Science Abstract

Traditional Healers and the HIV Crisis in Africa:  Toward an Integrated Approach
Anthropology
The HIV virus is currently destroying all facets of African life. It therefore is imperative that a new holistic form of health education and accessible treatment be implemented in African public health policy which improves dissemination of prevention and treatment programs, while maintaining the cultural infrastructure. Drawing on government and NGO reports, as well as other documentary sources, this paper examines the nature of current efforts and the state of health care practices in Africa. I review access to modern health care and factors which inhibit local utilization of these resources, as well as traditional African beliefs about medicine, disease, and healthcare. This review indicates that a collaboration of western and traditional medical care and philosophy can help slow the spread of HIV in Africa. This paper encourages the acceptance and financial support of traditional health practitioners in this effort owing to their accessibility and affordability and their cultural compatibility with the community.

Sample Humanities Abstracts

Echoes from the Underground
European and American Literature
Friedrich Nietzsche notably referred to the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky as “the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn.” Dostoevsky’s ability to encapsulate the darkest and most twisted depths of the human psyche within his characters has had a profound impact on those writers operating on the periphery of society. Through research on his writing style, biography, and a close reading of his novel Notes from the Underground I am exploring the impact of his most famous outcast, the Underground Man, on counterculture writers in America during the great subculture upsurge of the 1950s and 60s. Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac employ both the universal themes expressed by the Underground Man as well as more specific stylistic and textual similarities. Through my research I have drawn parallels between these three writers with respect to their literary works as well as the impact of both their personal lives and the worlds that they inhabit. The paper affirms that Dostoevsky has had a profound influence on the geography of the Underground and that this literary topos has had an impact on the writers who continue to inhabit that space.

Passersby
Creative Writing
Richard Hugo wrote in his book of essays, The Triggering Town, that “knowing can be a limiting thing.” His experiences, however brief, in many of the small towns that pepper Montana’s landscape served as the inspiration to much of his poetry, and his observations came to reveal more of the poet than of the triggering subject. For Hugo, the less he knew of a place, the more he could imagine. My project, “Passersby,” is a short collection of poems and black and white photographs that explore this notion of knowing and imagination. Place is the triggering subject in “Passersby” and will take the audience or viewer to a variety of national and international locations, from Rome and Paris to Beaver, Utah and the Oregon Coast, and from there, into an exploration of experience and imagination relished by the poet. Hugo believed that as a writer “you owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.” While reality will play a role in “Passersby,” this work aims to blur the lines between knowing and imagination in order, perhaps, to find a truer place for the poet.

Sample Visual and Performing Arts Abstract

The Integration of Historic Periods in Costume Design 
Theatre
As productions turn away from resurrecting museum pieces, integrating costumes from two different historical periods has become more popular. This research project focuses on what makes costume integration successful. A successful integration must be visually compelling, but still give characters depth and tell the story of the play. By examining several Shakespearean theatre productions, I have pinpointed the key aspects of each costume integration that successfully assist the production. While my own experiences have merged Elizabethan with the 1950s, other designers have merged Elizabethan with contemporary and even a rock concert theme. By analyzing a variety of productions, connecting threads helped establish “rules” for designers.

Through this research, I have established common guidelines for integrating two periods of costume history while still maintaining a strong design that helps tell a story. One method establishes the silhouette of one period while combining the details, such as fabric and accessories, of another period, creating an equal representation of the two. A second option creates a world blended equally of the two periods, in which the design becomes timeless and unique to the world of the play. A third option assigns opposing groups to two different periods, establishing visual conflict. Many more may exist, but the overall key to costume integration is to define how each period is represented. When no rules exist, there is no cohesion of ideas and the audience loses sight of character, story, and concept. Costumes help tell a story, and without guidance, that story is lost.

Sample Journalism Abstract

International Headlines 3.0: Exploring Youth-Centered Innovation in Global News Delivery
Traditional news media must innovate to maintain their ability to inform contemporary audiences. This research project analyzes innovative news outlets that have the potential to draw young audiences to follow global current events. On February 8, 2011, a Pew Research Center Poll found that 52 percent of Americans reported having heard little or nothing about the anti-government protests in Egypt. Egyptians had been protesting for nearly two weeks when this poll was conducted. The lack of knowledge about the protests was not a result of scarce media attention. In the United States, most mainstream TV news sources (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC) ran headline stories on the protests by January 26, one day after the protests began. Sparked by an assignment in International Reporting J450 class, we selected 20 innovative news outlets to investigate whether they are likely to overcome the apparent disinterest of Americans, particularly the youth, in foreign news. Besides testing those news outlets for one week, we explored the coverage and financing of these outlets, and we are communicating with their editors and writers to best understand how and why they publish as they do. We will evaluate them, following a rubric, and categorize them based on their usefulness and effectiveness.

Questions about UMCUR may be directed to the conference coordinator, Michelle Eckert.

APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association and is use in psychology writing as well as other social sciences. These style guidelines specify different aspects of a document's presentation and layout, including how pages are structured, the organization of references, and how citations are made. This format also stipulates the use of an abstract designed to very briefly summarize the key details contained in a paper without providing too much detail.

Why Is an Abstract Important In APA Format?

While it is sometimes overlooked or only an afterthought, an abstract is an important part of any academic or professional paper. This brief overview serves as a summary of what your paper contains, so it should succinctly and accurately represent what your paper is about and what the reader can expect to find.

Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you can create an abstract that generates interest in your work and help readers quickly learn if the paper will be of interest to them.

The Basics of an APA Format Abstract

The abstract is the second page of a lab report or APA-format paper and should immediately follow the title page. Think of an abstract as a highly condensed summary of your entire paper.

The purpose of your abstract is to provide a brief yet thorough overview of your paper. The APA publication manual suggests that your abstract should function much like your title page—it should allow the person reading it too quickly determine what your paper is all about.

The APA manual also states that the abstract is the single most important paragraph in your entire paper. It is the first thing that most people will read, and it is usually what informs their decision to read the rest of your paper. A good abstract lets the reader know that your paper is worth reading.

According to the official guidelines of the American Psychological Association, a good abstract should be:

  • Brief but packed with information. Each sentence must be written with maximum impact in mind. To keep your abstract short, focus on including just four or five of the essential points, concepts, or findings.
  • Objective and accurate. The abstract's purpose is to report rather than provide commentary. It should also accurately reflect what your paper is about. Only include information that is also included in the body of your paper.

How to Write an Abstract

  1. First, write your paper. While the abstract will be at the beginning of your paper, it should be the last section that you write. Once you have completed the final draft of your psychology paper, use it as a guide for writing your abstract.
  2. Begin your abstract on a new page and place your running head and the page number 2 in the top right-hand corner. You should also center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
  3. Keep it short. According to the APA style manual, an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words. Exact word counts can vary from journal to journal. If you are writing your paper for a psychology course, your professor may have specific word requirements, so be sure to ask. The abstract should also be written as only one paragraph with no indentation. In order to succinctly describe your entire paper, you will need to determine which elements are the most important.
  1. Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper. Begin with a brief summary of the Introduction, and then continue on with a summary of the Method, Results, and Discussion sections of your paper.
  2. Look at other abstracts in professional journals for examples of how to summarize your paper. Notice the main points that the authors chose to mention in the abstract. Use these examples as a guide when choosing the main ideas in your own paper.
  3. Write a rough draft of your abstract. While you should aim for brevity, be careful not to make your summary too short. Try to write one to two sentences summarizing each section of your paper. Once you have a rough draft, you can edit for length and clarity.
  1. Ask a friend to read over the abstract. Sometimes having someone look at your abstract with fresh eyes can provide perspective and help you spot possible typos and other errors.

Things to Consider When Writing an Abstract

The format of your abstract also depends on the type of paper you are writing. For example, an abstract summarizing an experimental paper will differ from that of a meta-analysis or case study.

For an abstract of an experimental report:

  • Begin by identifying the problem.
  • Describe the participants in the study.
  • Briefly, describe the study method used.
  • Give the basic findings.
  • Provide any conclusions or implications of the study.

For an abstract of a meta-analysis or literature review:

  • Describe the problem of interest.
  • Explain the criteria that were used to select the studies included in the paper.
  • Identify the participants in the studies.
  • Provide the main results.
  • Describe any conclusions or implications.

How Long Should Your Abstract Be?

The sixth-edition APA manual suggests that an abstract be between 150 and 250 words. However, they note that the exact requirements vary from one journal to the next. If you are writing the abstract for a class, you might want to check with your instructor to see if he or she has a specific word count in mind.

Psychology papers such as lab reports and APA format articles also often require an abstract. In these cases as well, the abstract should include all of the major elements of your paper, including an introduction, hypothesis, methods, results, and discussion. Remember, although the abstract should be placed at the beginning of your paper (right after the title page), you will write the abstract last after you have completed a final draft of your paper.

In order to ensure that all of your APA formatting is correct, consider consulting a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

A Word From Verywell

The abstract may be very brief, but it is so important that the official APA style manual identifies it as the most important paragraph in your entire paper. It may not take a lot of time to write, but careful attention to detail can ensure that your abstract does a good job representing the contents of your paper. 

Some more tips that might help you get your abstract in tip-top shape:

  1. Look in academic psychology journals for examples of abstracts.
  2. Keep on hand a copy of a style guide published by the American Psychological Association for reference.
  3. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for assistance.

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