10 Fabulous Tips for Writing a Good Journal Abstract

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Writing a good journal abstract is a prerequisite for publishing a good journal article. An abstract does not need to be long, but a well-structured and sharp abstract will produce a quality academic or scholarly article.

This article shares some fabulous (and practical) tips for writing a good journal abstract that will help a researcher to effectively communicate their findings and attract the attention of potential readers.


An abstract is a concise summary of an academic paper, providing a glimpse into the depth of your research. It is often the first thing that potential readers see, and it can greatly influence whether or not they choose to read your full paper. Similarly, an abstract is the earliest thing a peer reviewer will see when reviewing a manuscript. Therefore, it’s crucial to nail your abstract.

Writing a good journal abstract

What is a Journal Abstract?

A journal abstract is a short synopsis, typically around 150-250 words long, that summarizes the content of your research paper. An abstract includes information about the problem or issue addressed, the research method used, the major findings, and the conclusions.

The abstract serves as a standalone entity and should be intelligible without having to read the whole paper. It does not cite references and focuses on describing what you have studied and what you have found. The abstract is essential as it lets readers grasp the essence of your paper quickly, helping them decide whether it’s relevant to their interests.

The 10 Tips

Following are the 10 tips for writing a good journal abstract.

1. Understand the Importance and Purpose

Before you start writing an abstract, it’s crucial to understand its purpose. An abstract is more than just a simple summary of your paper. It’s a mini-version of your research and serves as a bridge between you and your potential audience, enticing them to read the full paper. By understanding the role of the abstract, you can tailor your writing to meet the needs of your potential readers.

Understanding the importance of writing a good journal abstract is not rocket science. It is simple and straightforward. But this simple change in approach will do you good and transform how you work on your academic writing.

2. Be Concise and Clear

Abstracts are usually limited by word count, so every word counts! Generally, a journal will limit your abstract to 150-250 words, but this is just a guideline. You must get the precise word count from the journal’s submission guidelines. A reputable academic journal usually provides comprehensive manuscript submission guidelines an author must comply with.

Aim for clarity and conciseness in your writing. Avoid complex sentences and jargon that might confuse the reader. Remember, an abstract is written for a broad audience, so it should be understandable to people of various backgrounds.

Keep your sentences short and straightforward, and use clear language that communicates your points effectively.

3. Summarize Your Paper’s Main Points

Although the abstract is the first part of your paper, it should be written last. Even when you have begun constructing it before the main manuscript content, you must go back to it at the final stage of manuscript writing and polish it.

An abstract is best done in the final part because it encapsulates your research’s main points and ideas. Hence, it’s best constructed after you’ve completed the manuscript writing.

Writing a good journal abstract requires focusing on the most significant results and formulating your abstract around these points. By summarizing your findings effectively, you provide potential readers with a snapshot of your work, giving them a reason to read your full paper.

4. Use Active Voice

Using active voice can make your abstract more engaging and direct.

Active voice is a style of writing where the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed by the verb, typically structured as “subject-verb-object.” For example:

We measured the reaction rates of the enzyme at various pH levels.

Compared to passive voice, active voice is more straightforward and eliminates ambiguity. It also tends to be more concise, which is beneficial considering the strict word limit of abstracts. So, when writing your abstract, try to use active voice as much as possible.

5. Use Relevant Keywords and Phrases

Keywords play a crucial role in abstract writing. They help potential readers discover your paper when conducting research using search engines. When selecting keywords, think about the terms that best represent your paper and that readers might use when searching for papers on your topic. Including these keywords in your abstract can increase its visibility and accessibility.

6. Keep it Interesting

Remember, one of the purposes of an abstract is to persuade the audience to read your paper. So, keep it interesting! While remaining factual and concise, try to write in a way that captures the reader’s attention and sparks their interest. Use compelling language, highlight the significance of your research, and convey the impact of your findings.

7. Proofread and Edit

Like any other documentation, writing a good journal abstract must be accompanied by solid proofreading and editing. Even minor mistakes can distract the reader and detract from the credibility of your research. In fact, I have had some hands-on cases where a journal’s editor-in-chief decided to reject a manuscript because the abstract contained poor language command.

After you finish writing your abstract, take some time to review it carefully. Check for spelling and grammatical errors, ensure your sentences are clear and concise, and verify that all the necessary information is included.

8. Seek Feedback

It’s always helpful to get a second opinion on your writing. Consider asking a colleague or mentor to review your abstract. They can provide valuable feedback and point out any areas needing improvement. Receiving constructive criticism can help refine your abstract and make it more effective.

9. Follow Journal Guidelines

Different journals have different formatting and requirement guidelines for abstracts. Before you start writing, familiarize yourself with the specific criteria of the journal you are submitting to.

This includes word count limitations, formatting rules, and any specific information that needs to be included. Adhering to these guidelines can increase the likelihood of your paper being accepted for publication.

10. Practice Makes Perfect

Finally, remember that writing a good journal abstract comes with practice. The more you write, the better you’ll become. So don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts at writing an abstract don’t turn out as well as you’d hoped. Keep practicing, seek feedback, and continually strive to improve.

A Final Thought in Writing a Good Journal Abstract

In conclusion, writing an engaging journal abstract is both an art and a science. It requires precision, conciseness, and a clear understanding of the essence of your paper. By keeping these tips in mind, you can craft an abstract that effectively communicates the significance of your research and entices readers to delve into your full paper.

Remember, the abstract is your chance to make a great first impression. It’s the gateway to your research. Make it count!

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