Citation Styles and Writing Formats

How to Write an Abstract APA?

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APA formatting style is a style established by the American Psychological Association and is widely used in science-related disciplines. The common guidelines of the APA style define different aspects of the document`s layout and presentation including the use of citations, the structure of pages, the organization of the reference list, etc.

What is more, this format stipulates the use of an abstract that aims to briefly introduce the key details discussed in the paper without including too much detail. If you are going to create an APA paper, you should definitely know how to write an abstract APA.

Why an Abstract Is So Important in APA?

What is an abstract APA? Whereas many students mistakenly overlook it, an abstract plays a particularly important role in the APA paper. Such a brief overview aims to summarize the key points the paper contains. Basically, it helps your reader find out what is your paper about. When conducting scientific research, the individual pays attention only to the abstracts in order to find out if the source fits the project or not.

If you find it difficult to create an abstract, you may look through our suggestions and learn how to create a piece that will cause interest in your readers.

How to Write an Abstract APA?

Below, you will find some helpful tips that will allow you to understand how to write an abstract APA example:

First of all, you should start writing your abstract only when the rest of the paper is written. Whereas an abstract is the start of your paper, it should be the very last thing you write. So, once you are done with the final draft of your paper, use it for writing an abstract;

Keep your abstract short. In accordance with the APA guidelines, the length of the abstract should vary from 150 to 250 words. Of course, the exact word count varies from paper to paper. If your professor provided you with specific guidelines, including the length of the abstract, you should follow them precisely. The abstract should take only one page without indentation;

Your abstract should be written on a separate page. Make sure to structure your abstract in accordance with the structure of the whole paper. As such, you need to start with an introduction and then continue with the description of methods, results, and findings sections.

Have a look at the abstracts written by other researchers in order to find out how such a piece should look like. Looking through the well-written abstract examples, you will see what points to include and how to organize them properly. Use these papers as your source of inspiration but do not copy-paste from them. Remember that to bring you the best grade, your abstract should be absolutely unique and authentic;

Write a rough draft of your abstract. Whereas you have to be focused on brevity, you should not make your abstract too short. Ideally, you need to write one-two sentences for each section. Once you are done with the rough draft of your paper, you may check it for clarity and edit all the grammatical, punctuation, and spelling mistakes;

Ask your friend or classmate to read your abstract and provide their feedback. Sometimes, asking your friend to check the flow and mechanics of your abstract may help you understand what should be improved. Besides, they may help you fix the mistakes you could overlook.

How Long Your Abstract Should Be?

The common length of the abstract is between 150 and 250 words. At the same time, each professor has their own requirements that should be followed by the students. If you are writing an abstract for a research paper assigned by your teacher, feel free to double-check with your professor how long your abstract be. 

As well as in any other abstract, an abstract for a journal article should also include the essential points that are discussed further. Remember that although an abstract appears at the very beginning of the article, it should be written at the end of the writing process.

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Things to Consider When Working on an Abstract

The structure and format of your abstract greatly depend on the type of paper you are writing. For instance, an abstract written for an experimental research paper will differ from the abstract for a case study or a dissertation. Let`s have a closer look at two types of abstracts:

When working on an abstract for an experimental report, you need to:

  • Begin your abstract by identifying the problem. For example, you may state the research question that is created in order to investigate your hypothesis;
  • Mention all the participants of the study. Make sure to tell how many participants took part in the experiment and how they were selected. For instance, you may write the following: “In this study, 60 college student participants were randomly assigned to [the title of the project.]”
  • Briefly explain the study methods used. For example, you can mention if you used a between-subjects, within-subjects, or mixed design;
  • Provide basic findings. This point is crucially important for understanding the results of your findings;
  • Explain some implications of your study. What directions would you suggest to take to other researchers and what might your results indicate?

When working on an abstract for a literature review, you need to:

  • Indicate the problem of interest. In other words, you need to explain what topic you will examine in the main body of your paper;
  • Describe the criteria that helped you understand what studies to include in your literature review. Of course, if you are writing your literature review on some well-known topic, there will be dozens or even hundreds of sources. However, you need to pick up the best ones that are credible and peer-reviewed. Then, you need to indicate why did you select the specific sources;
  • Mention the participants of the study. As well as in an abstract for an experimental report, you need to explain who has participated in your study. Were they undergraduate students? How they were selected?
  • Indicate the main results of your study. Once again, it is particularly important to familiarize your readers with the results of your study. Do not try to include everything but focus mainly on the most important findings;
  • Include any implications and conclusions. In the last sentences of your abstract, make sure to explain what your results mean and in what way they help understand the particular topic.


Writing an abstract APA requires a high level of concentration, advanced writing skills, and the ability to squeeze the big amount of information in a short paragraph. To create a great abstract, you should know the essential peculiarities of this formatting style and have a manual that will provide you with the answers to all your questions.

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