If you’re writing an in-depth research paper following APA guidelines, you most likely need to include an abstract. If you’re confused about where to start – don’t be. We’ve got you covered! In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of formatting and writing an abstract in APA format.
What Is an Abstract?
An abstract is a brief summary of a larger academic text, such as a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, typically located at the very beginning of the paper before the introduction. Its main purpose is to give readers a clear and concise overview of your key points, objectives, results, and conclusion. Essentially, it lets the reader know the purpose and premise of your study and what to expect from your paper.
How to Write an Abstract Using APA Style
If you’re following APA guidelines, your abstract should include:
Note that you should provide a short overview of these points and not an in-depth analysis (which will come later in your paper) – each should be around one to two sentences long. The total length will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as your university/journal specifications, topic, and the length of your paper, but APA guidelines recommend that abstracts shouldn’t exceed 250 words.
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How to Format an Abstract in APA Format
How should you format your abstract if you’re using APA style? To start, the abstract should be located on the second page of your paper, after the title page. To format your abstract:
● Set one-inch margins on all sides.
● Label the section “Abstract” on the first line of the page, centered, and using bold font.
● Use a clear, readable, widely available font, such as Times New Roman (12 pt.) or Calibri (11 pt.).
● Begin writing the text one line below the “Abstract” label.
● Do not indent and write text as a single paragraph.
APA guidelines state that three to five keywords can be included at the end of your abstract, which makes your paper searchable in a database. Be sure to choose brief, relevant keywords or phrases that reflect the most important aspects of your study. Keywords should be written one line below the text of the abstract immediately following the label “Keywords” in italics. Keywords can be listed in any order and should be separated using commas.
For example, for a journal article titled Biodiversity and Environmental Resilience: Strategies for Sustainability, the keywords section could look like this:
Keywords: biodiversity conservation, water pollution control, sustainable agriculture
Note that keywords should be written in lowercase (unless they’re proper nouns) and no end punctuation is necessary after the final keyword.
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