Answered By: Elyse Wolf
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2018     Views: 376

A summary or abstract is an overview of the whole article in a short paragraph or two, usually following the title of the article and before the article itself, describing what the article is about and its key points.  A good abstract should include the research question or problem addressed in the article, the sources and methodology used by the author(s), and the results or conclusions drawn from the research.  These are each described briefly in a sentence or two.  Sometimes they are presented as a list instead of in paragraph form.

A complete, well-written abstract should tell you, in as few words as possible:

  1. The problem or question being researched – the topic
  2. Why the topic is important in the field or discipline – the broader context
  3. How the research was done – the methodology
  4. The research findings and how they are useful – the conclusion(s)

Here’s an example of a good abstract:

There has been a recent growth of interest in determining whether sound (specifically music and soundscapes) can enhance not only the basic taste attributes associated with food and beverage items (such as sweetness, bitterness, sourness, etc.), but also other important components of the tasting experience, such as, for instance, crunchiness, creaminess, and/or carbonation.  In the present study, participants evaluated the perceived creaminess of chocolate.  Two contrasting soundtracks were produced with such texture-correspondences in mind, and validated by means of a pre-test.  The participants tasted the same chocolate twice (without knowing that the chocolates were identical), each time listening to one of the soundtracks.  The ‘creamy’ soundtrack enhanced the perceived creaminess and sweetness of the chocolates, as compared to the ratings given while listening to the ‘rough’ soundtrack.  Moreover, while the participants preferred the creamy soundtrack, this difference did not appear to affect their overall enjoyment of the chocolates.  Interestingly, and in contrast with previous similar studies, these results demonstrate that in certain cases, sounds can have a perceptual effect on gustatory food attributes without necessarily altering the hedonic experience (Reinoso, Wang, van Ee, Persoone, Spence, 2017, p. 383).

For help with writing an abstract or for other writing questions, contact the Wolak Learning Center at 603.645.9690 (UC/On-Campus Students) or the Online Writing Center at 866.721.1662 (Online/COCE Students).

You may also want to consider:


Reinoso Carvalho, F., Wang, Q., van Ee, R., Persoone, D., & Spence, C. (2017).  'Smooth operator': Music modulates the perceived creaminess, sweetness, and bitterness of chocolate.  Appetite, 108 383-390.  doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.10.026

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