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MXC Library Dental Research

A guide to dental hygiene resources available at the Carter G. Woodson Library at Malcolm X College

Different types of Abstracts

Remember to follow your instructors guidelines for your assignment. Different types of abstracts that you may be asked to create:

Critical Abstract - The researcher describes main findings and information or judgements about research compared to others on the same subject. 

Descriptive Abstract - Summarizes the type of information found in the work. No judgements are made about the research, but may include details about purpose, methods and scope of the research. Usually very short. 

Informative Abstract - The researcher presents the main arguments of the paper, important results and evidence. Might also include the details of a descriptive abstract but also list conclusions and summary from the authors. 


What is an abstract? 

An abstract provides an overview of the purpose and the contents of a paper including findings and conclusions. According to the Purdue OWL (2019), the abstract should contain "your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions." The abstract is typically brief and should only be about 250 words, but always follow instructions set by your instructor. 

Format and content of an APA Abstract

  • Should be written in active voice
  • Explain the problem or topic
  • State the hypothesis
  • Reference relevant literature
  • Summarize your findings using present tense to discuss results and conclusions
  • Your summary should be able to stand alone
  • Place abstract on second page after title page
  • Label page with the word Abstract, centered and bold
  • Summary should be written underneath in a single paragraph, double space, no indent
  • Approximately 250 words

Strategy for Writing your Abstract

  • The abstract should be written after your paper is complete
  • Take sentences or phrases from your paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents
  • Revise and add phrases or words to connect the sentences into an easy to read narrative.