• Jake Magnum

How to Write an Abstract Quickly

Updated: Jul 5

Basic Structure for Writing an Abstract Quickly


A standard abstract serves six purposes, and so you can write an effective abstract by writing six sentences as described below.

  • The first sentence should give a broad, interesting statement about your general topic.

  • The second sentence should express a general problem related to your research.

  • The third sentence should express the specific problem that your study addressed.

  • The fourth sentence should very briefly describe your methodology.

  • The fifth sentence should express the main finding(s) of your study,

  • The sixth sentence should explain the most noteworthy implication(s) of your study.

The remainder of this article provides methods that you can use to quickly and effortlessly construct each of these sentences.


Sentence #1: Express the overarching topic/issue that your study fits into.


The information you need to write the first sentence of your abstract can almost always be found entirely within the first paragraph of your “Introduction” section. To give an example, the first paragraph of a research paper might read as follows:


Over 30 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS is among the ten most disabling conditions for adult males and among the five most common conditions reported in adult females. One of the leading causes of CFS is stress, suggesting that psychosocial approaches may be effective in treating this disorder.


The quickest way to write the first sentence of an abstract for this paper would be to simply copy and paste the first sentence.


Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).


However, you can improve your abstract by taking the most important parts of multiple sentences to form a unique sentence.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of the most common disabling conditions in the US, as it affects more than 30 million Americans, often due to stress.


Sentence #2: Summarize the problem statement.


The information you need for this sentence will usually be found near the end of the “Introduction” section (typically in the second-to-last or very last paragraph). The second-to-last paragraph of the hypothetical paper that I am drawing examples from might read as follows:


It is well-understood that stress is a strong indicator of CFS. However, it remains unknown whether some specific sources of stress are linked to CFS. Recent research has expressed the need to evaluate the effects of physical stress on CFS. Furthermore, a review of the literature reveals that no studies have examined whether physical stress due to obesity leads to CFS.


As with our first sentence, we can again simply copy-and-paste the most suitable sentence from this paragraph into our abstract.


However, it remains unknown whether some specific sources of stress are linked to CFS.


However, it is again advisable to construct a unique sentence based on this paragraph.

However, not much is known about the link between certain types of stress — particularly physical stress caused by obesity — and CFS.


Sentence #3: Provide your research objective.


It is standard practice to state the research objective in the final sentence of the “Introduction” section of a scientific paper. As such, this is where you will most likely go to extract the third sentence of your abstract. In our sample paper, the last sentence of the “Introduction” section might look like this:


Thus, this study aimed to explore whether obese adults living in the US are more likely than non-obese adults to suffer from CFS.


This sentence can be inserted into the abstract as it is. However, for the sake of variety, you might wish to reword it slightly.


This study explored whether being obese makes adults more likely to suffer from CFS.


Sentence #4: Summarize your methodology.


To form this sentence, you will need to go through your “Methods” section to gather three pieces of information: (1) the measurement tool(s) that you used, (2) the construct(s) that you measured, and (3) relevant information about your participants (sample size, gender, age, etc.). With this information, you can fill in the blanks of the following sentence pattern:

Using [measurement tool], we examined/assessed/evaluated/etc. the [construct] of [number and type of participants].


Continuing with the example we have been using so far, we could write the following sentence:


Using the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Assessment Scale (CFSAS), we analyzed the presence and extent of CFS in 212 obese and non-obese Americans aged 21-49 years old.


(In most cases, there is no simple copy-paste option for this sentence.)


Sentence #5: Express your primary finding.


This information will most likely be located near the beginning of your “Results” section. Specifically, the relevant information will be contained in any paragraphs that invite the reader to refer to a table or figure. For example, we might find the following passage in the “Results” section of a research paper:


Table 1 provides the means and standard deviations of the CFSAS scores of the obese and non-obese groups. The data show that obese individuals’ scores on the CFSAS were significantly higher than the scores of non-obese individuals (p < 0.01).


The simplest way to incorporate this into your thesis would be to copy and paste the second sentence.


The data show that obese individuals’ scores on the CFSAS were significantly higher than the scores of non-obese individuals.


You could also paraphrase this sentence to avoid repetition.


Our results indicate that obese individuals are significantly more likely than non-obese individuals to suffer from CFS.


Sentence #6: State the main implication of your primary finding.


You will often be able to generate this sentence based on the information given near the end of your “Conclusion” section (often the very last sentence). The last paragraph of a conclusion might read as follows:


The results presented in this study indicate that obesity might be an important determining factor in CFS, though additional research is needed to confirm obesity’s role in this disorder. Nevertheless, this study illustrates the importance of considering weight-management strategies as part of the treatment of CFS for obese patients.


The easiest way to write the final sentence of the abstract would be to use the last sentence (minus the transitional phrase).

This study illustrates the importance of considering weight-management strategies as part of the treatment of CFS.


Once again, it is advisable to paraphrase to avoid repetition.


Therefore, it could be worthwhile to implement weight-management strategies for treating obese patients suffering from CFS.


The Final Product


Below, I have combined the example sentences provided throughout this article to show how your abstract will read if you follow the methods provided above.


Copy-paste method


Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). However, it remains unknown whether some specific sources of stress are linked to CFS. Thus, this study aimed to explore whether obese adults living in the US are more likely than non-obese adults to suffer from CFS. Using the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Assessment Scale (CFSAS), we analyzed the presence and extent of CFS in 212 obese and non-obese Americans aged 21-49 years old. The data show that obese individuals’ scores on the CFSAS were significantly higher than the scores of non-obese individuals (p < 0.01). This study illustrates the importance of considering weight-management strategies as part of the treatment of CFS.


Paraphrase method


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of the most common disabling conditions in the US, as it affects more than 30 million Americans, often due to stress. However, not much is known about the link between certain types of stress — particularly physical stress caused by obesity — and CFS. This study explored whether being obese makes adults more likely to suffer from CFS. Using the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Assessment Scale (CFSAS), we analyzed the presence and extent of CFS in 212 obese and non-obese Americans aged 21-49 years old. The data show that obese individuals’ scores on the CFSAS were significantly higher than the scores of non-obese individuals. Therefore, it could be worthwhile to implement weight-management strategies for treating obese patients suffering from CFS.