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An abstract is a brief summary of your essay or technical report that goes at the beginning of the paper.

What to Include

  • thesis/purpose of the essay or technical report
  • the main ideas
  • keywords that categorize your essay or technical report

If applicable, include the following topics:

  • research methods/results
  • what your research means and how it can be applied to future use

How to Create Keywords

Keywords allow the reader to quickly see the subject areas that will be addressed.

Keywords can be

  • major concepts/topics
  • specific key terms or concepts in your field of study
  • descriptive words or phrases

Tip: Keywords only name an overa​​​​ll category instead of a detailed point.

Apples – detailed point                   Fruit – overall category

Begin your list of keywords with the word "Keywords" in italics. Think of keywords as hashtags in a tweet.  They are used to categorize an overall idea and are used as search terms in the social media world.  Keywords do the same thing in the academic world.

How to Write the Abstract

  1. Write your abstract after your paper.  Although it is the first thing the reader reads, it is the last task you complete in your writing.
  2. Reread your essay.
  3. Write only the main ideas without looking at your essay or report.
  4. Eliminate wordiness and repetitive ideas.
  5. Make sure the ideas in your abstract follow the order that they appear in your essay or report.

How to Format the Abstract

Abstracts are on a separate page after the title page and usually in the following format; however, ask your instructor for specifics.

  • typically one paragraph in length
  • block style format – no indentation
  • approximately 75 – 200 words in length
  • keywords indented and positioned below the paragraph

Example of an Abstract