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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The samples below represent the five highest scoring samples submitted to the selection committee for the ninth annual graduate student history conference, 2012-2013. Two of the samples below were subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History. Outstanding papers presented at the graduate student history conference are recommended for publication by panel commentators. Papers go through a peer review process before publication.

Sample 1: “Asserting Rights, Reclaiming Space: District of Marshpee v. Phineas Fish, 1833-1843”

From May of 1833 to March of 1834, the Mashpee Wampancag tribe of Cape Cod Massachusetts waged an aggressive campaign to gain political and religious autonomy from the state. In March of 1834, the Massachusetts legislature passed an act disbanding the white guardians appointed to conduct affairs for the Mashpee tribe and incorporated Mashpee as an Indian district. The Mashpee tribe's fight to restore self-government and control over land and resources represents a significant "recover of Native space." Equally significant is what happened once that space was recovered.

The topic of this paper addresses an understudied and essential period in the history of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Despite a growing body of literature on the Mashpee, scholars largely neglect the period between 1834 and 1869. This paper looks as the Mashpee tribe's campaign to dismiss Harvard appointed minister Phineas Fish; the fight to regain the parsonage he occupied, its resources, and the community meetinghouse. This paper will argue the tribe asserted its power within the political and physical landscape to reclaim their meetinghouse and the parsonage land. Ultimately, this assertion contributed to shaping, strengthening, and remaking Mashpee community identity. This study examines legislative reports, petitions, letters, and legal documents to construct a narrative of Native agency in the antebellum period. [Note: This is part of my larger thesis project (in progress0 "Mashpee Wampanoag Government Formation and the Evolving Community Identity in the District of Marshpee, 1834-1849."]

Note: This paper, entitled "Testing Rights in Contested Space: The District of Marshpee versus Reverend Phineas Fish, 1833-1839" was subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History.

Sample 2: “Private Paths to Public Places: Local Actors and the Creation of National Parklands in the American South”

This paper explores the connections between private individuals, government entities, and non-governmental organizations in the creation of parklands throughout the American South. While current historiography primarily credits the federal government with the creation of parks and protection of natural wonders, an investigation of parklands in the Southern United States reveals a reoccurring connection between private initiative and park creation. Secondary literature occasionally reflects the importance of local and non-government sources for the preservation of land, yet these works still emphasize the importance of a national bureaucracy setting the tone fore the parks movement. Some works, including Jacoby's Crimes Against Nature examine local actors, but focus on opposition to the imposition of new rules governing land in the face of some outside threat. In spite of scholarly recognition of non-government agencies and local initiative, the importance of local individuals in the creation of parklands remains and understudies aspect of American environmental history. Several examples in the American South raise concerns about the traditional narrative pitting governmental hegemony against local resistance. This paper argues for widespread, sustained interest in both nature preservation and in creating spaces for public recreation at the local level, and finds that the "private path to public parks" merits further investigation.

Note: This paper, entitled "Private Paths to Public Parks in the American South" was subsequently selected for publication in the NC State Graduate Journal of History.

Sample 3: Untitled

Previous generations of English Historians have produced a rich literature about the Levellers and their role in the English Civil Wars (1642-1649), primarily focused on the Putney Debates and their contributions to Anglophone legal and political thought. Typically, their push to extend the franchise and espousal of a theory of popular sovereignty has been central to accounts of Civil War radicalism. Other revisionist accounts depict them as a fragmented sect of millenarian radicals whose religious bent marginalized and possibility that they could make lasting contributions to English politics or society. This paper seeks to locate a Leveller theory of religious toleration, while explaining how their conception of political activity overlapped their religious ideas. Rather than focusing on John Lilburne, often taken as the public face of the Leveller movement, this paper will focus on the equally interesting and far more consistent thinker, William Walwyn. Surveying his personal background, published writings, popular involvement in the Leveller movement, and attacks launched by his critics, I hope to suggest that Walwyn's unique contribution to Anglophone political thought was his defense of religious pluralism in the face of violent sectarians who sought to wield control of the Church of England. Although the Levellers were ultimately suppressed, Walwyn's commitment to a tolerant society and a secular state should not be minimized but rather recognized as part of a larger debate about Church-State relations across early modern Europe. Ultimately this paper aims to contribute to the rich historiography of religious toleration and popular politics more broadly.

Sample 4: “Establishing a National Memory of Citizen Slaughter: A Case Study of the First Memory Site to Mass Murder in United States History - Edmond, Oklahoma, 1986-1989”

Since 1989, memory sites to events of mass murder have not only proliferated rapidly--they have become the normative expectation within American society. For the vast majority of American history, however, events commonly labeled as "mass murder" have resulted in no permanent memory sites and the sites of perpetration themselves have traditionally been either obliterated or rectified so that both the community and the nation could forget the tragedy and move on. This all changed on May 29, 1989 when the community of Edmond, Oklahoma officially dedicated the "Golden Ribbon" memorial to the thirteen people killed in the infamous "post office shooting" of 1986. In this paper I investigate the case of Edmond in order to understand why it became the first memory site of this kind in United States history. I argue that the small town of Edmond's unique political abnormalities on the day of the shooting, coupled with the near total community involvement established ideal conditions for the emergence of this unique type of memory site. I also conduct a historiography of the usage of "the ribbon" in order to illustrate how it has become the symbol of memories of violence and death in American society in the late 20th century. Lastly, I illustrate how the notable lack of communication between people involved in the Edmond and Oklahoma City cases after the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing--despite the close geographic and temporal proximity of these cases--illustrates this routinely isolated nature of commemorating mass murder and starkly renders the surprising number of aesthetic similarities that these memory sites share.

Sample 5: “Roman Urns and Sarcophagi: The Quest for Postmortem Identity during the Pax Romana”

"If you want to know who I am, the answer is ash and burnt embers;" thus read an anonymous early Roman's burial inscription. The Romans dealt with death in a variety of ways which incorporated a range of cultural conventions and beliefs--or non-beliefs as in the case of the "ash and embers." By the turn of the first century of this era, the Romans practiced cremation almost exclusively--as the laconic eloquence of the anonymous Roman also succinctly explained. Cremation vanished by the third century, replaced by the practice of the distant past by the fifth century. Burial first began to take hold in the western Roman Empire during the early second century, with the appearance of finely-crafted sarcophagi, but elites from the Roman world did not discuss the practices of cremation and burial in detail. Therefore archaeological evidence, primarily in form of burial vessels such as urns and sarcophagi represented the only place to turn to investigate the transitional to inhumation in the Roman world. This paper analyzed a small corpus of such vessels in order to identify symbolic elements which demarcate individual identities in death, comparing the patterns of these symbols to the fragments of text available relating to death in the Roman world. The analysis concluded that the transition to inhumantion was a movement caused by an increased desire on the part of Romans to preserve identity in death during and following the Pax Romana.

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