Answered By: Rachel Willard
Last Updated: May 02, 2017     Views: 5521

An abstract is "a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010, p. 25). It usually comes at the very beginning of your work and is separate from your text. This summary is intended to share the topic, argument, and conclusions of a research study or course paper, similar to the text on the back cover of a book. Abstracts are required elements of Walden capstone projects and may be required for certain course assignments. 

When composing your abstract, keep in mind that it should be:

  • Direct. Do not include too much detail, context, or any in-text or parenthetical citations. Save this content for the body of the paper.
  • Concise. Abstracts should be no more than one page in length. For a dissertation, doctoral study, or capstone the abstract may not exceed 250 words.
  • Complete. The abstract should give the reader the full scope of the arguments made or conclusions drawn in the paper. You should summarize your paper in the abstract, rather than introducing it.


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