Effective Research Abstract Examples

By , Staff Writer
woman working on research paper
    woman working on research paper
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You’ve put a lot of time into your research paper. But, those thousands of words can get a little daunting. Break your research paper and questions into a quick, easy-to-read highlight. The abstract of your paper provides a quick rundown of the aim, method and results of your research. See how to write an effective research abstract by exploring several examples.

What Is a Research Abstract?

A professional or academic research paper abstract provides the gist of the paper without having to read the whole thing.

It breaks down not only why the research was completed, but also the findings and what those findings mean. This is a great way to synthesize thousands of words of research into an easy-to-scan paragraph. It also offers a perfect way for researchers to highlight key points. You can even use abstracts to determine if a research study will be a helpful source.


Components of a Research Abstract

Research abstracts are created in high school, colleges and even at the professional level. They are typically about one paragraph (about 100 to 150 words) in length and include:

  • Aim of the paper and topic
  • Data, research and methods used
  • Findings
  • Significance

Real-World Research Abstracts

To get a good understanding of what makes a good abstract, it can be helpful to look at the best. To really sink your teeth into formatting effective abstracts, check out a real-world abstract example for a report and research paper.

Video Game Addiction and College Performance Among Males

This study explored the pattern of video game usage and video game addiction among male college students and examined how video game addiction was related to expectations of college engagement, college grade point average (GPA), and on-campus drug and alcohol violations. Participants were 477 male, first year students at a liberal arts college. In the week before the start of classes, participants were given two surveys: one of expected college engagement, and the second of video game usage, including a measure of video game addiction. Results suggested that video game addiction is (a) negatively correlated with expected college engagement, (b) negatively correlated with college GPA, even when controlling for high school GPA, and (c) negatively correlated with drug and alcohol violations that occurred during the first year in college. Results are discussed in terms of implications for male students' engagement and success in college, and in terms of the construct validity of video game addiction.

In this video game addiction research abstract, you’ll see that the information follows a formal structure.

For example, the first sentence provides the topic of the research. It then breaks down who was in the study and how the study was conducted. The third and final section discusses the correlation of video games and college engagement, along with the validity of video game addiction. You’ll also notice the past tense wording since the abstract is created after the research is finished.


The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students

The cell phone is ever-present on college campuses and is frequently used in settings where learning occurs. This study assessed the relationship between cell phone use and actual college grade point average (GPA) after controlling for known predictors. As such, 536 undergraduate students from 82 self-reported majors at a large, public university were sampled. A hierarchical regression (R2 = .449) demonstrated that cell phone use was significantly (p < .001) and negatively (β = −.164) related to actual college GPA after controlling for demographic variables, self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, self-efficacy for academic achievement, and actual high school GPA, which were all significant predictors (p < .05). Thus, after controlling for other established predictors, increased cell phone use was associated with decreased academic performance. Although more research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms, findings suggest a need to sensitize students and educators about the potential academic risks associated with high-frequency cell phone use.

In the cell phone abstract example, the beginning breaks out the background information for the study before going into what was studied. In the middle, you can see the parameters that were used for the research. It concludes with the findings and significance. Not only is it keyword rich, but the abstract provides only the facts of the research and stays true to the research.


Original Sample Abstract for a Project

College or high school level research might be on a lower level than a professional paper. View this original abstract for a high school research project on sleep to see how it is still effective.

This research paper analyzes the correlation that exists between sleep and high school student performance in class. To answer this question, we compared academic performance against questionnaires that detailed the sleep schedules of 122 high school students. Our results showed that there was a positive correlation between poor academic performance and getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep a night. The results also revealed that poor sleep patterns can lead to concentration and behavior issues. The implications of this study could be used to promote high schoolers sleeping at least 8 hours a night.

This original abstract clarifies the aim of the research to test sleep and student performance. The method included the questionnaires, while the results clarified the correlation between the two factors being studied. The significance of how these results could be used rounds out the abstract. This offers the reader a clear outline of what they will find if they read the student research project paper.


Providing a Snippet

Abstracts are a great way for you to provide an overview of your research to readers. It highlights what is being researched, what methods were used, and the results of the study. To ace that abstract, think about pumping up your academic writing skills.