Q: How to write an abstract?
An abstract is one of the most important parts of a research paper. Most readers would read this section and form an impression about your entire paper and would accordingly decide whether the paper is worth reading. The journal editor is also likely to focus on the abstract when they read your paper briefly before deciding whether or not to send it out for peer review. Therefore, writing an effective abstract is of utmost importance.
An abstract can be structured or unstructured based on your the conventions in your field and your target journal's preferences. However, irrespective of the format, here are a few points that you must include in your abstract:
- Statement of purpose: Why did you choose to conduct this study? Why is the problem significant? What gap exists in previous literature that your research aims to fill?
- Methods or approach: What did you actually do to get your results? How did you do it? (For instance, mention whether you have conducted interviews, analyzed novels or paintings, etc.)
- Results: What did you learn or find as a result of conducting these procedures?
- Conclusions: How are your findings significant? What are the larger implications of your findings, and how do they relate to the gap in research that you have identified?
Here are some great resources that will provide you more detailed guidance:
Once you submit your manuscript, the exact course of the peer review process depends on the specific journal that you have submitted to. For your current submission, the status change you have described indicates that your manuscript had passed the admin check and the reviewer selection process had started.
However, it appears that your manuscript has not yet undergone the peer review process. One possibility is that the journal editor was having difficulty finding suitable peer reviewers for your paper. It is also possible that the handling editor did find suitable reviewers, but they were not available to review your paper at the time. This would explain the status change from "Awaiting Reviewer Assignment" back to "Awaiting Reviewer Selection."
I don't think you should worry because this does not look like a case of desk rejection. If the editor is still looking for suitable reviewers for your paper, then he/she intends to send your paper for peer review.