Q: What is an abstract?
In an academic manuscript, the abstract is a self-contained summary that briefly condenses the entire study and its findings. It provides the study objectives, methods, and key results and takeaways in a clear and crisp manner. The abstract precedes the main text and is the first section of a paper that is read. Therefore, a good abstract goes a long way in making a great “first impression” on the journal editor and reviewers (before publication) and a reader (after publication).
An abstract is typically 150 to 300 words long. It may be (i) a single, unstructured paragraph or (ii) structured, with a few headings, akin to a mini version of the full paper. Note that the structure and format may vary across journals, and an author should ensure that the abstract meets the given guidelines for the target journal.
Here is a handy resource for you to understand how to write a great abstract: VIDEO: 11 Tips for writing a great research paper abstract
An in-depth guide with more details is available here: A 10-step guide to make your research paper abstract more effective
You can also opt for in case your need to polish your abstract before submission.
Did you know that some journals even ask for “graphical” or “visual” abstracts? A graphical abstract is a pictorial summary that depicts the content of a study at a single glance. What is more, video abstracts are a new entry: these are short videos (up to 2 minutes) that serve to increase the visibility and “shareability” of one’s research.