What is an abstract and for what

Abstract is the first part of a paper. For some authors is probably the most important part because it may be the only part that some will read. It is a short summary of the complete content of the paper.  Some universities stipulate a maximun length, often 300-500 words. This enables those who are not sure whether they wish to read the complete report to make an informed decision. For those intend to read the whole report the abstract prepares them for what is to come. It should contain four short paragraphs with the answers to the following questions:

  1. What were my research questions, and why were these important?
  2. How did I go about answering the research question?
  3. What did I find out in response to my research questions?
  4. What conclusions do I draw regarding my research questions?


Lewis, Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009



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