What belongs in the abstract?

An abstract is a brief summary of the work – and sometimes it can bring even seasoned scientists to despair.

Read abstracts – write abstracts

An abstract is needed to quickly provide the scientific audience with the information needed to decide whether the study is interesting for its own field of activity. If the short summary is well designed, it can be checked at a glance.


At any rate, writing an abstract requires more than a glimpse of the essentials; if the work is not clearly designed, if it lacks a focus, then this can hardly be concealed in the summary.
Abstracts have a clear structure, although this may vary from university to university, faculty to faculty or faculty to faculty.

The structure

The first part – often only one or a few sentences – consists in the presentation of the topic, a short factual introduction and a description of the content. It also makes sense to name the type of work, such as “empirical study” or “literature review”. In the second section, the methodology should be described in terms of key concepts and theoretical concepts. This serves to give the reader the necessary means to understand the approach quickly.

The presentation of the results forms the main section, which may also be more comprehensive in terms of the textual scope; Here the results of the work are named. Finally, an interpretation, a classification into the previous research as well as a short reference to the limits of the work as well as if necessary reference to open research questions takes place.

Especially in academic theses, where the energy and motivation towards the end can greatly decrease, the abstract should not be treated lightly, especially since it provides the first and perhaps most important impression of the entire work.