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Best Abstract Examples

Anytime students are required to write an APA style paper, they start googling for examples of abstract online. While some practical, real-life samples can prove pretty useful in your research, you still have to understand that even an amazing example abstract will be of no use if you do not understand why you need this section in your paper, or what purpose it serves. So, let's try to look at how to write abstract before we move to actual abstract examples.

Do you need abstract examples in every APA style paper?

No, an abstract is an optional section in APA format. Here, you have to focus not on the academic formatting guidelines you are working with, but on the actual paper you are writing. A simple, three to five pages long essay, for instance, can do perfectly well without any abstract. A thesis, on the other hand, requires one. So, before you start looking for an abstract example, ask yourself - what kind of paper you are working on? Consulting your professor about the issue is also a nice idea - after all, you could find a lot of research abstract examples online, but not every research paper necessarily presupposes this section.

Great example of an abstract: what you need to know

If you have already decided that the paper you are working on definitely needs an abstract, still - don't rush to download just any example of abstract you can find online. Start with the definition first. Looking at a sample abstract, students often think that this part is some kind of extension to their introduction. This, however, is completely wrong - an abstract is a part that should be able to stand separately from your paper. This is exactly why an abstract is essential for theses and dissertations - it serves as a synopsis for your entire paper.

So, any abstract example you may find should be:

  • less than one page
  • a separate synopsis of the papers
  • placing an emphasis on the results of your work
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Getting started with your own abstract example

Now that we know that all good examples of abstracts are, in fact, a precise but brief summary of your whole paper, it becomes pretty obvious that you cannot start working on an abstract until the paper is written - not unless you have a very detailed outline you plan to stick to in your work.

Here are some other formatting tips for all abstract examples that may prove handy in the process:

  • Use the same font and spacing: most examples of abstract are written in 12-point Times New Roman font, which is still a commonly accepted format in most educational establishments. However, official APA guidelines are not that strict - as long as the font is plain and easy to read, you can use any other analog.
  • More is not always better: if you are looking for dissertation abstract examples, you will see that some of them exceed one page. While some educational establishments allow it, you should still try to stay within a single-page limit.
  • Don't forget the keywords: those are the terms that appear most in your paper; for instance, research abstract examples in neuropsychology will probably have the brain scan, neurolinguistics, neurons, etc. as the keywords. You can include up to two lines of those. But remember that any example of an abstract will have an indented line with keywords, so try to highlight about 5-7 terms, no more.

Now that you know all the theory you need to know, let's take a look at more practical examples of abstract below.

Example of abstract from a literature essay

Abstract

This paper briefly analyses two short stories - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Two Kinds by Amy Tan. The short stories are contrasted and compared on the basis of the conflicts mentioned in both of them. The first and the most important conflict is the conflict of transportation: in The Metamorphosis - of a man into a bug, in Two Kinds - of a Chinese girl into an American one. Other important conflicts are in fact internal and external ones, internal being depicted as the conflict with an inner self, external revealing themselves in the relationship with family and closest relatives.

    Keywords: conflict, external, internal, transportation, theme, subject

The above example comes from a five-page literature essay, which is why the whole abstract takes no more than 100 words. Still, it does describe the issues raised in the paper and highlights the results the author comes to in the course of the literary analysis.

If you were to write an abstract for a lengthier academic paper, you'd have to dig into more detail. For example, an abstract for a thesis should highlight every main idea you discuss in your chapters. So, even if you summarize each section (intro, three chapters, and results) in one-two sentences, you'd get a lengthier, up to 300 words, abstract.

Also, as you go through examples of abstracts, pay attention to formatting. Even though it might seem that content takes precedence over form, you will still lose points on poor formatting.

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