Writing an impressive Abstract for your Research Paper

Every research paper begins with  the abstract  of the  research carried out. Abstract is a summary of a research paper explaining  the problem investigated, the methods applied, the main results and conclusions. Abstracts are a good way to summarize  the key contents of a paper from the research that it uses to the ideas that you want to share with the reader. It is a single paragraph containing minimum 200 words  up to 300 words. An abstract offers a preview, highlights key points and helps the reader to decide whether to read the entire paper. Many of the conference proceedings only publish abstracts for indexing. Many journal editorial boards screen manuscripts only on the basis of the abstract. For the referees  and  few readers who wish to read  the sections beyond abstract, the abstract sets the tone for the rest of the paper. If the abstract does not attract the attention of the reviewer  then  there’s a good chance your paper will be rejected before reading the complete content. It is therefore the duty of the author to ensure that the abstract is a proper representative of the entire paper. Moreover, even after your paper is published, your abstract will be the first and possibly only thing readers will access through electronic searches. Thus, for the vast majority of readers, the paper does not exist beyond its abstract.

Invisible sections of an Abstract

A good abstract  has four basic pieces of content. Most of the research publications  publish abstracts that are written as a paragraph  without sections. Few  journals require abstracts to adhere to a specific structure within a  limited word count of 200–300 words. Usually  the structure of  the abstract comes with  four sections namely i) Background  ii) Methods    iii) Results and  iv) Conclusions. Some researchers add  Objectives between Background and Methods and Limitations at the end of the abstract.


This section is the smallest  part of the abstract. It should  briefly outline what is already known and what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to carry out. Background can be prepared in just 2–3 sentences with each sentence describing a different aspect of the information referred to above; sometimes, even a single sentence is sufficient. The purpose of the background is to provide the  reviewer or reader with a background to the research and hence to smoothly lead into a description of the methods employed in the investigation.  A word of caution : A lengthy background  section  may lead to less space  for the  methods and results section and this in turn leads to poor representation of the paper.


This section should contain enough details to make the reader to understand what was done in the research and how it was done.  Methods section  throw a light on  the  algorithms,  processes  and  data sets used for the research.


The results section is the critical part of the abstract. This is because readers who scan an abstract  usually want to take a decision about their future course of research  based on your findings. The results section should therefore be the longest part of the abstract and should contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits. While writing  summary on obtained results care should be taken  regarding comparative analysis statements.  For example, it is wrong to  write  “Leaf Disease detection  rates differed significantly between C-Means Fuzzy based clustering   and K-Means Clustering”.  From this no conclusion can be drawn by the reader.  It can be written  as  “Leaf Disease detection rate was higher in C-Means Fuzzy based clustering than in  K-Means Clustering ” Some authors even write ” Our results are excellent as compared to the method employed by John[]”.  No authors work should be degraded. It can be stated as “Our results are comparable to the results obtained through Back propagation network implemented  in the earlier work” .


This section should contain the most important message the researcher  wants  to convey to the reader about the work carried out  in a few clearly worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcome measure; however, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary but not essential, for the authors to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. No emotions  should be attached to your conclusions  but a commentary  as a third person is required.  Being the final portion of abstract, the conclusion serves as the researcher’s final say on the subject of the research. The  tone of conclusion should match that of the results and the rest of the data collection process.  The conclusion should be able to wrap up the entire work from the formulation of  research objectives up to the satisfaction of such objectives.

10 Simple Steps  for writing an Abstract

Now how to go about fitting the critical  points from the entire paper— why the research was carried out, what were the objectives, how these were addressed with different methodologies, what the main findings were and what were the unexpected outcomes—into a paragraph of just 200-300 words. It’s not an easy task, but here’s a 10-step guide that should make it easier:

  1. Start writing the abstract only after completing the paper write up.
  2. Explain the domain, sub domain and  the  historical development in the sub domain  in 20-40 words
  3. List the major challenges identified ( from  research gap of the survey  section) in 20-40 words
  4. Explain the objectives you have set for the research 20-40 words
  5.  Describe the Methodology you have used to solve the problem in  30-50 words
  6.  Explain how the results are presented( in the form of graphs, charts or tables etc)in 20-30 words
  7. Share your opinion on the results obtained and unexpected observations made while listing the results in 10-20 words
  8. Make sure that the  abstract does not contain
    • new information that is not present in the paper
    • undefined abbreviations or group names
    • a discussion of previous literature or reference citations
  9. There  must be consistency between the information presented in the abstract and in the paper.
  10. Verify whether the abstract meets the guidelines of the target journal (word limit, type of abstract, recommended subheadings, etc).

Example of  an Abstract for a Research Paper

Extraction of   meaningful leaf disease features by  applying image processing  techniques  is a problem that has been studied by the image processing community for decades.  Image processing  research  for leaf spot disease identification has matured significantly throughout the years, and many advances image processing techniques continue to be made, allowing  new  techniques  to be applied to new and more demanding pathological problems. In this paper, a method for detection and classification of leaf spot diseases affecting Pomegranate crop  is  developed using  Deep learning Neural networks. Throughout, we  have presented tables and charts  to compare the performance of  the proposed method  with state of the art techniques. Experimental results show that  the Deep Neural Networks  handle uncertainty effectively and  they can be trained with limited data sets. The paper has also  made suggestions for  future research  directions.

Example of  an Abstract for a Survey Paper

Extraction of   meaningful leaf disease features by  applying image processing  techniques  is a problem that has been studied by the image processing  community for decades.  Image processing  research  for leaf disease identification has matured significantly throughout the years, and many advances image processing techniques continue to be made, allowing  new  techniques  to be applied to new and more demanding pathological problems. In this paper, we have reviewed recent advances in data extraction of  diseased leaf images , focusing primarily on three important Soft computing techniques namely  : Neural networks, Fuzzy logic and  Genetic algorithms. Throughout, we have  presented tables that summarize and draw distinctions among key ideas and approaches. Where available, we have provided comparative analyses, and  made suggestions for analyses yet to be done.

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