Research Paper Abstract Template

Let’s face it, most of us are used to writing essays and research papers. We’ve written them throughout our entire academic careers. The abstract, on the other hand, is likely a relatively new endeavor.

Without a lot of practice and experience writing abstracts, it can be pretty daunting. Heck, it’s enough to leave your fingers paralyzed and leave you staring at a blank screen.

Worse yet, it might make you want to abandon your work altogether and find something more interesting to do—like watch cat videos for the next hour.

Don’t give up hope yet! If you’re struggling to get started with writing your abstract, here are 10 good abstract examples that will kickstart your brain.

10 Good Abstract Examples That Will Kickstart Your Brain

The 10 examples I’ve included here are all published, professionally written abstracts. While some of them are a little more technical than others, they all follow the basic rules of what it takes to write a good abstract.

If you want a quick refresher on writing abstracts, read How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper.

(And if you’re just getting started on your research paper, I recommend starting here instead: How to Write a Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide.)

Abstract example #1

Video Game Addiction and College Performance Among Males: Results from a 1 Year Longitudinal Study

The abstract:

“This study explored the pattern of video game usage and video game addiction among male college students and examined how video game addiction was related to expectations of college engagement, college grade point average (GPA), and on-campus drug and alcohol violations. Participants were 477 male, first year students at a liberal arts college. In the week before the start of classes, participants were given two surveys: one of expected college engagement, and the second of video game usage, including a measure of video game addiction. Results suggested that video game addiction is (a) negatively correlated with expected college engagement, (b) negatively correlated with college GPA, even when controlling for high school GPA, and (c) negatively correlated with drug and alcohol violations that occurred during the first year in college. Results are discussed in terms of implications for male students’ engagement and success in college, and in terms of the construct validity of video game addiction.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract doesn’t specifically state why the problem is worth researching, though it is implied as the study focuses on addiction.

Also, this abstract doesn’t overtly state the implications. It states only that the paper discusses the implications. While in most cases it’s better to briefly summarize the results of the study, sometimes it’s impossible to summarize the information in only a few sentences.

If that’s the case, it’s best to include a statement, as this abstract does, simply to indicate that the results and/or implications are discussed within the research paper.

Abstract example #2

Study Skills and their Correlation with Academic Satisfaction and Achievement among Medical and Pharmacy Students in Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (2013)

The abstract:

Introduction: Study skills and students’ satisfaction with their performance positively affect their academic achievement. The current research was carried out to investigate the correlation of study skills with academic achievement among the medical and pharmacy students in 2013.

Methods: This descriptive-analytical study was conducted on 148 students of basic medical sciences and pharmacy through convenience sampling. Data were collected by a valid and reliable questionnaire, consisting of two sections: Demographic information and questions about daily study hours, study skills in six domains, and students’ satisfaction with study skills. Collected data sets were analyzed by SPSS-16 software.

Results: In total, 10.9% of students were reported to have favorable study skills. The minimum score was found for preparation for examination domain. Also, a significantly positive correlation was observed between students’ study skills and their Grade Point Average (GPA) of previous term (P=0.001, r=0.269) and satisfaction with study skills (P=0.001, r=0.493).

Conclusion: The findings indicated that students’ study skills need to be improved. Given the significant relationship between study skills and GPA, as an index of academic achievement, and satisfaction, it is necessary to promote the students’ study skills. These skills are suggested to be reinforced, with more emphasis on weaker domains.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract uses headings instead of writing all the information in one paragraph. In some ways, it can be easier to use headings because you don’t need transitions to link sections.

However, you should always check with your professor to make sure that this is an acceptable format for your assignment.

Abstract example #3

The Sandra Bland story: How social media has exposed the harsh reality of police brutality

The abstract:

“This quantitative research study was conducted to illustrate the relationship(s) between social media use and its effect on police brutality awareness. In 2015, social media was used to assist in revealing an act of impulsive police brutality on an adult black woman in Waller County, Texas. This act was one of a few examples of a substantial number of law enforcement officers around the United States and other countries that are abusing their power by using excessive force against citizens without penalty. The study found there is a relationship between social media use and its impact on police brutality. The study also found that social media gave a voice to people who may have feared isolation and/or negative consequences against police brutality. Over 100 undergraduates at Bowie State University in Maryland completed a survey questionnaire instrument. The instrument consisted of 10; of which 2 were directly related to the hypothesis. The author’s result of data analyses presented that there is a significant relationship between independent and dependent variables.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

In this abstract, the results are discussed before the methods—usually it makes sense to write it the other way around. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you’ll need to check with your professor to see if you must write the elements of your abstract in a specific order.

Abstract example #4

An Examination of Concussion Injury Rates in Various Models of Football Helmets in NCAA Football Athletes

The abstract:

“While newer, advanced helmet models have been designed with the intentions of decreasing concussions, very little research exists on injury rates in various football helmets at the collegiate level. The aim of this study was to examine concussion injury rates in various models of football helmets in collegiate football athletes. In addition, to compare injury rates of newer, advanced football helmets to older, traditional helmets among collegiate football athletes, a total of 209 concussions and 563,701 AEs (athlete-exposures) Among 2,107 collegiate football athletes in seven helmet models were included in the analyses. Concussion injury rates revealed that the Riddell Revolution® had the highest rate of 0.41 concussions per 1,000 AEs. The Schutt ION 4D TM helmet had the lowest rate of 0.25 concussions per 1,000 AEs. These newer helmet models did not significantly differ from one another (P=0.74), however all models significantly differed from the older, traditional helmet model (P<0.001). The findings of this study suggest that concussion rates do not differ between newer and more advanced helmet models. More importantly, there are currently no helmets available to prevent concussions from occurring in football athletes.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

Do you know what the research paper is about by only reading the abstract? Of course you do! This abstract clearly summarizes all components of a traditional abstract and makes it easy for readers to understand the focus of the research.

Abstract example #5

Diet and obesity in Los Angeles County 2007–2012: Is there a measurable effect of the 2008 “Fast-Food Ban”?

The abstract:

“We evaluate the impact of the “Los Angeles Fast-Food Ban”, a zoning regulation that has restricted opening/remodeling of standalone fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles since 2008. Food retail permits issued after the ban are more often for small food/convenience stores and less often for larger restaurants not part of a chain in South Los Angeles compared to other areas; there are no significant differences in the share of new fast-food chain outlets, other chain restaurants, or large food markets. About 10% of food outlets are new since the regulation, but there is little evidence that the composition has changed differentially across areas. Data from the California Health Interview Survey show that fast-food consumption and overweight/obesity rates have increased from 2007 to 2011/2012 in all areas. The increase in the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity since the ban has been significantly larger in South Los Angeles than elsewhere. A positive development has been a drop in soft drink consumption since 2007, but that drop is of similar magnitude in all areas.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract begins with the word “we.” In many cases, use of first person isn’t acceptable. (Your prof may ask you to avoid first person in your own abstract.) If you were the person (or part of a group) who did the actual research, first person is typically okay if you conducted primary research.

This abstract was submitted to a specific journal, so it’s clear that submission guidelines permitted use of first person.

Abstract example #6

The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students

The abstract:

“The cell phone is ever-present on college campuses and is frequently used in settings where learning occurs. This study assessed the relationship between cell phone use and actual college grade point average (GPA) after controlling for known predictors. As such, 536 undergraduate students from 82 self-reported majors at a large, public university were sampled. A hierarchical regression (R2 = .449) demonstrated that cell phone use was significantly (p < .001) and negatively (β = −.164) related to actual college GPA after controlling for demographic variables, self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, self-efficacy for academic achievement, and actual high school GPA, which were all significant predictors (p < .05). Thus, after controlling for other established predictors, increased cell phone use was associated with decreased academic performance. Although more research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms, findings suggest a need to sensitize students and educators about the potential academic risks associated with high-frequency cell phone use.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

“A hierarchical regression (R2 = .449) demonstrated…” Yeah, I’m not sure what that means, either. If you’re a math expert, you can certainly write the results of your research in this way, but in most cases, you won’t be required to write in such technical terms.

Abstract example #7

Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood

The abstract:

“The present study experimentally investigated the effect of Facebook usage on women’s mood and body image, whether these effects differ from an online fashion magazine, and whether appearance comparison tendency moderates any of these effects. Female participants (N = 112) were randomly assigned to spend 10 min browsing their Facebook account, a magazine website, or an appearance-neutral control website before completing state measures of mood, body dissatisfaction, and appearance discrepancies (weight-related, and face, hair, and skin-related). Participants also completed a trait measure of appearance comparison tendency. Participants who spent time on Facebook reported being in a more negative mood than those who spent time on the control website. Furthermore, women high in appearance comparison tendency reported more facial, hair, and skin-related discrepancies after Facebook exposure than exposure to the control website. Given its popularity, more research is needed to better understand the impact that Facebook has on appearance concerns.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract clearly summarizes the research process and results of the study. In this case, the study is inconclusive, and the writer feels that more research is required. Remember, your study might not always produce the results you anticipated.

Abstract example #8

The Process of Adapting a Universal Dating Abuse Prevention Program to Adolescents Exposed to Domestic Violence

The abstract:

“Adolescents exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk of dating abuse, yet no evaluated dating abuse prevention programs have been designed specifically for this high-risk population. This article describes the process of adapting Families for Safe Dates (FSD), an evidenced-based universal dating abuse prevention program, to this high-risk population, including conducting 12 focus groups and 107 interviews with the target audience. FSD includes six booklets of dating abuse prevention information, and activities for parents and adolescents to do together at home. We adapted FSD for mothers who were victims of domestic violence, but who no longer lived with the abuser, to do with their adolescents who had been exposed to the violence. Through the adaptation process, we learned that families liked the program structure and valued being offered the program and that some of our initial assumptions about this population were incorrect. We identified practices and beliefs of mother victims and attributes of these adolescents that might increase their risk of dating abuse that we had not previously considered. In addition, we learned that some of the content of the original program generated negative family interactions for some. The findings demonstrate the utility of using a careful process to adapt evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to cultural sub-groups, particularly the importance of obtaining feedback on the program from the target audience. Others can follow this process to adapt EBIs to groups other than the ones for which the original EBI was designed.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract provides a clear synopsis of why this research is needed (the fact that no programs have been specifically designed for adolescents exposed to domestic violence).

This abstract also uses first person. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re using first person, make sure it’s allowed by your instructor and appropriate to the type of research you’ve conducted.

Abstract example #9

Children’s consumption behavior in response to food product placements in movies

The abstract:

“Almost all research on the effects of product placements on children has focused on brand attitudes or behavioral intentions. Drawing on the important difference between attitudes or behavioral intentions on the one hand and actual behavior on the other, this paper tests the effects of brand placements on children’s food consumption. Children from 6 to 14 years old were exposed to an excerpt of the popular movie Alvin and the Chipmunks, including placements for the product Cheese Balls. Three versions were created: one without placements, one with moderate placement frequency, and one with high placement frequency. Results showed that exposure to high-frequency product placements exerted a significant effect on snack consumption, but no effect on brand or product attitudes. These effects were independent of children’s ages. The findings are of great importance to consumer behavior scholars, nutrition experts, and policy regulators.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

Notice how specific the methods section is in this abstract? Including the specific details of how the study was conducted provides a clear and effective summary for readers.

Abstract example #10

Looks and Lies: The Role of Physical Attractiveness in Online Dating Self-Presentation and Deception

The abstract:

“This study examines the role of online daters’ physical attractiveness in their profile self-presentation and, in particular, their use of deception. Sixty-nine online daters identified the deceptions in their online dating profiles and had their photograph taken in the lab. Independent judges rated the online daters’ physical attractiveness. Results show that the lower online daters’ attractiveness, the more likely they were to enhance their profile photographs and lie about their physical descriptors (height, weight, age). The association between attractiveness and deception did not extend to profile elements unrelated to their physical appearance (e.g., income, occupation), suggesting that their deceptions were limited and strategic. Results are discussed in terms of (a) evolutionary theories about the importance of physical attractiveness in the dating realm and (b) the technological affordances that allow online daters to engage in selective self-presentation.”

What’s notable about this abstract:

This abstract packs a lot into 136 words! All of the components are clearly described, and the abstract is an excellent example of how to make every word count.

Sufficiently Energized?

I trust these abstract examples have inspired you. But before you add your abstract to the final paper, check out these resources for some additional tips to help perfect your writing:

Here’s one final tip to help make your abstract (and your paper) the best it can be: let a Kibin editor provide some expert feedback.

Happy writing!

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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.

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