Writing an abstract

APA citation format (as well as Chicago Manual style) usually requires an abstract submitted with the paper.  

The abstract is a brief summary of a paper's content.  It is usually not longer than 100 words or two paragraphs.

The abstract should state the thesis, the major points of the paper, and the conclusions drawn. 

In APA format, the abstract is placed after the title page and is numbered with the running header as page 2.

Sample descriptive abstracts:

Sample 1:

Sense of Humor 2

            Our society has become so politically correct that humor itself has become dangerous.  Seemingly inoffensive jokes, whether they are simple jokes for children or political jokes for adults, can ultimately be offensive to someone.  The result is that humor isn't safe anymore.

Sample 2:

CDC and AIDS Virus 2

            The CDC's mission is to promote health and quality of life by informing the public about dangerous diseases.  Its work on the AIDS virus has taught people how the disease is transmitted and what can be done to prevent its transmission.  However, since disseminating the knowledge on how to prevent the disease doesn't guarantee its prevention, the CDC is also working on a vaccine to prevent is spread and on treatments for those who have the disease or will get it.

Sample 3:

Primate Similarities 2

             This study was designed to determine how humans have a relationship to other primates.  The DNA of humans (homo sapiens) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) illustrated a 97% similarity.  Likewise, the embryo development in both species showed similar process.  However, differences were clear in skull and limb structures.


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