How to write an abstract apa

The abstract page is the second page of your APA paper. This abstract page is a summary of the major ideas contained in your research paper, readers often base on this to decide whether to read the whole paper. In writing the abstract, use no more than 120 words.

Formatting your APA Abstract page:
Location: Place this page after your title page, on a new page. The abstract always falls on page 2.
Heading: Use the same heading like on your title page:– 1 inch from the top– shortened title in uppercase, align left

– page number 2, align right

Title: Enter the title “Abstract” (without the quotes) below the heading, centered.
Tips: The abstract should observe the following conventions:

– Summarize your paper’s most important points– Reflect accurately the purpose and content of your paper– Be coherent so that it is easy to read

– Remain objective in its point of view

apa format abstract page

Sample APA Format Abstract Page

For a full APA sample paper, please visit this page:


– Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.– Writing the Research Paper, 7th Edition. 

Format of an Abstract

There are two general formats—“structured” and “unstructured.” A structured abstract helps the reader find pertinent information very quickly. It is divided into sections clearly defined by headings as follows:

  • Background: Latest information on the topic; key phrases that pique interest (e.g., “…the role of this enzyme has never been clearly understood”).
  • Objective: Your goals; what the study examined and why.
  • Methods: Brief description of the study (e.g., retrospective study).
  • Results: Findings and observations.
  • Conclusions: Were these results expected? Whether more research is needed or not?
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Authors get tempted to write too much in an abstract but it is helpful to remember that there is usually a maximum word count. The main point is to relay the important aspects of the study without sharing too many details so that the readers do not have to go through the entire manuscript text for finding more information.

The unstructured abstract is often used in fields of study that do not fall under the category of science. This type of abstracts does not have different sections. It summarizes the manuscript’s objectives, methods, etc., in one paragraph.

Lastly, you must check the author guidelines of the target journal. It will describe the format required and the maximum word count of your abstract.

The Introduction

Your introduction is the first section of your research paper. It is not a repetition of the abstract. It does not provide data about methods, results, or conclusions. However, it provides more in-depth information on the background of the subject matter. It also explains your hypothesis, what you attempted to discover, or issues that you wanted to resolve. The introduction will also explain if and why your study is new in the subject field and why it is important.

It is often a good idea to wait until the rest of the paper is completed before drafting your introduction. This will help you to stay focused on the manuscript’s important points. The introduction, unlike the abstract, should contain citations to references. The information will help guide your readers through the rest of your document. The key points to remember while drafting the introduction:

  • Beginning: The importance of the study.
  • Tone/Tense: Formal, impersonal; present tense.
  • Content: Brief description of manuscript but without results and conclusions.
  • Length: Generally up to four paragraphs. May vary slightly with journal guidelines.
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Once you are sure that possible doubts on the difference between the abstract and introduction are clear, review and submit your manuscript.

What struggles have you had in writing an abstract or introduction? Were you able to resolve them? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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