What is an abstract?

An abstract is a one-paragraph summary of your paper’s overall focus. The purpose of an abstract is to provide readers with the main points of your paper; in other words, the abstract serves as a “snapshot” of the paper’s focus.

What are the steps involved in writing an abstract?

Use the “FUSE” Method to remember the steps:

  1. Format
  2. Use APA Style
  3. Summarize and capture the core of the paper’s topic
  4. Edit and proofread

What are the formatting guidelines?

  • The abstract is on a page of its own, inserted after the title page but before the introduction of your paper.
  • The abstract is double-spaced.
  • The word “Abstract” is centered and not in bold font.
  • The first line of the abstract should not be indented.

Please note that formatting requirements are different for dissertations. For help with formatting the dissertation abstract, see the Tips for Getting Final Approval Checklist.

What are the APA style guidelines?

  • The font should be size 12 Times New Roman.
  • The length of the abstract should be a minimum of 150 words to 250 words, maximum.

How do I summarize the core of the paper’s topic to build a cohesive abstract?

  • Write the abstract as the last step of the writing process.
  • Review the paper and isolate the main points of the essay.
  • Boil down those main points by summarizing the “who, what, where, and when” of your paper.
  • Do not quote.
  • Include your thesis or main argument and the overall conclusions of your paper.

What strategies can I use to edit and proofread?


Related Video Tutorial

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Watch this quick tutorial on how to write an abstract.

View a Sample