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APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024.

An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem , hypotheses , methods , results , and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.

Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.

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Table of contents

How to format the abstract, how to write an apa abstract, which keywords to use, frequently asked questions, apa abstract example.

APA abstract (7th edition)

Formatting instructions

Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style:

  • Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number.
  • Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm).
  • Write “Abstract” (bold and centered) at the top of the page.
  • Do not indent the first line.
  • Double-space the text.
  • Use a legible font like Times New Roman (12 pt.).
  • Limit the length to 250 words.
  • Indent the first line 0.5 inches.
  • Write the label “Keywords:” (italicized).
  • Write keywords in lowercase letters.
  • Separate keywords with commas.
  • Do not use a period after the keywords.

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abstract page in apa format examples

The abstract is a self-contained piece of text that informs the reader what your research is about. It’s best to write the abstract after you’re finished with the rest of your paper.

The questions below may help structure your abstract. Try answering them in one to three sentences each.

  • What is the problem? Outline the objective, research questions , and/or hypotheses .
  • What has been done? Explain your research methods .
  • What did you discover? Summarize the key findings and conclusions .
  • What do the findings mean? Summarize the discussion and recommendations .

Check out our guide on how to write an abstract for more guidance and an annotated example.

Guide: writing an abstract

At the end of the abstract, you may include a few keywords that will be used for indexing if your paper is published on a database. Listing your keywords will help other researchers find your work.

Choosing relevant keywords is essential. Try to identify keywords that address your topic, method, or population. APA recommends including three to five keywords.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.

In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

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Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords. Scribbr. Retrieved April 9, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-abstract/

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How to Write an Abstract APA Format

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

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BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

An APA abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of an article, research paper, dissertation, or report.

It is written in accordance with the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is a widely used format in social and behavioral sciences. 

An APA abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of between 150–250 words, the major aspects of a research paper or dissertation in a prescribed sequence that includes:
  • The rationale: the overall purpose of the study, providing a clear context for the research undertaken.
  • Information regarding the method and participants: including materials/instruments, design, procedure, and data analysis.
  • Main findings or trends: effectively highlighting the key outcomes of the hypotheses.
  • Interpretations and conclusion(s): solidify the implications of the research.
  • Keywords related to the study: assist the paper’s discoverability in academic databases.

The abstract should stand alone, be “self-contained,” and make sense to the reader in isolation from the main article.

The purpose of the abstract is to give the reader a quick overview of the essential information before reading the entire article. The abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper.

Although the abstract will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s good practice to write your abstract after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

Note : This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), released in October 2019.

Structure of the Abstract

[NOTE: DO NOT separate the components of the abstract – it should be written as a single paragraph. This section is separated to illustrate the abstract’s structure.]

1) The Rationale

One or two sentences describing the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated. You are basically justifying why this study was conducted.

  • What is the importance of the research?
  • Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • For example, are you filling a gap in previous research or applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data?
  • Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer can experience an array of psychosocial difficulties; however, social support, particularly from a spouse, has been shown to have a protective function during this time. This study examined the ways in which a woman’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue, and her spouse’s marital satisfaction predict the woman’s report of partner support in the context of breast cancer.
  • The current nursing shortage, high hospital nurse job dissatisfaction, and reports of uneven quality of hospital care are not uniquely American phenomena.
  • Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are more likely to exhibit behavioral difficulties than their typically developing peers. The aim of this study was to identify specific risk factors that influence variability in behavior difficulties among individuals with SEND.

2) The Method

Information regarding the participants (number, and population). One or two sentences outlining the method, explaining what was done and how. The method is described in the present tense.

  • Pretest data from a larger intervention study and multilevel modeling were used to examine the effects of women’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue and average levels of mood, pain, and fatigue on women’s report of social support received from her partner, as well as how the effects of mood interacted with partners’ marital satisfaction.
  • This paper presents reports from 43,000 nurses from more than 700 hospitals in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Germany in 1998–1999.
  • The study sample comprised 4,228 students with SEND, aged 5–15, drawn from 305 primary and secondary schools across England. Explanatory variables were measured at the individual and school levels at baseline, along with a teacher-reported measure of behavior difficulties (assessed at baseline and the 18-month follow-up).

3) The Results

One or two sentences indicating the main findings or trends found as a result of your analysis. The results are described in the present or past tense.

  • Results show that on days in which women reported higher levels of negative or positive mood, as well as on days they reported more pain and fatigue, they reported receiving more support. Women who, on average, reported higher levels of positive mood tended to report receiving more support than those who, on average, reported lower positive mood. However, average levels of negative mood were not associated with support. Higher average levels of fatigue but not pain were associated with higher support. Finally, women whose husbands reported higher levels of marital satisfaction reported receiving more partner support, but husbands’ marital satisfaction did not moderate the effect of women’s mood on support.
  • Nurses in countries with distinctly different healthcare systems report similar shortcomings in their work environments and the quality of hospital care. While the competence of and relation between nurses and physicians appear satisfactory, core problems in work design and workforce management threaten the provision of care.
  • Hierarchical linear modeling of data revealed that differences between schools accounted for between 13% (secondary) and 15.4% (primary) of the total variance in the development of students’ behavior difficulties, with the remainder attributable to individual differences. Statistically significant risk markers for these problems across both phases of education were being male, eligibility for free school meals, being identified as a bully, and lower academic achievement. Additional risk markers specific to each phase of education at the individual and school levels are also acknowledged.

4) The Conclusion / Implications

A brief summary of your conclusions and implications of the results, described in the present tense. Explain the results and why the study is important to the reader.

  • For example, what changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work?
  • How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

Implications of these findings are discussed relative to assisting couples during this difficult time in their lives.

  • Resolving these issues, which are amenable to managerial intervention, is essential to preserving patient safety and care of consistently high quality.
  • Behavior difficulties are affected by risks across multiple ecological levels. Addressing any one of these potential influences is therefore likely to contribute to the reduction in the problems displayed.

The above examples of abstracts are from the following papers:

Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Sloane, D. M., Sochalski, J. A., Busse, R., Clarke, H., … & Shamian, J. (2001). Nurses’ reports on hospital care in five countries . Health affairs, 20(3) , 43-53.

Boeding, S. E., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Baucom, D. H., Porter, L. S., Kirby, J. S., Gremore, T. M., & Keefe, F. J. (2014). Couples and breast cancer: Women’s mood and partners’ marital satisfaction predicting support perception . Journal of Family Psychology, 28(5) , 675.

Oldfield, J., Humphrey, N., & Hebron, J. (2017). Risk factors in the development of behavior difficulties among students with special educational needs and disabilities: A multilevel analysis . British journal of educational psychology, 87(2) , 146-169.

5) Keywords

APA style suggests including a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. This is particularly common in academic articles and helps other researchers find your work in databases.

Keywords in an abstract should be selected to help other researchers find your work when searching an online database. These keywords should effectively represent the main topics of your study. Here are some tips for choosing keywords:

Core Concepts: Identify the most important ideas or concepts in your paper. These often include your main research topic, the methods you’ve used, or the theories you’re discussing.

Specificity: Your keywords should be specific to your research. For example, suppose your paper is about the effects of climate change on bird migration patterns in a specific region. In that case, your keywords might include “climate change,” “bird migration,” and the region’s name.

Consistency with Paper: Make sure your keywords are consistent with the terms you’ve used in your paper. For example, if you use the term “adolescent” rather than “teen” in your paper, choose “adolescent” as your keyword, not “teen.”

Jargon and Acronyms: Avoid using too much-specialized jargon or acronyms in your keywords, as these might not be understood or used by all researchers in your field.

Synonyms: Consider including synonyms of your keywords to capture as many relevant searches as possible. For example, if your paper discusses “post-traumatic stress disorder,” you might include “PTSD” as a keyword.

Remember, keywords are a tool for others to find your work, so think about what terms other researchers might use when searching for papers on your topic.

The Abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

Lengthy background or contextual information: The abstract should focus on your research and findings, not general topic background.

Undefined jargon, abbreviations,  or acronyms: The abstract should be accessible to a wide audience, so avoid highly specialized terms without defining them.

Citations: Abstracts typically do not include citations, as they summarize original research.

Incomplete sentences or bulleted lists: The abstract should be a single, coherent paragraph written in complete sentences.

New information not covered in the paper: The abstract should only summarize the paper’s content.

Subjective comments or value judgments: Stick to objective descriptions of your research.

Excessive details on methods or procedures: Keep descriptions of methods brief and focused on main steps.

Speculative or inconclusive statements: The abstract should state the research’s clear findings, not hypotheses or possible interpretations.

  • Any illustration, figure, table, or references to them . All visual aids, data, or extensive details should be included in the main body of your paper, not in the abstract. 
  • Elliptical or incomplete sentences should be avoided in an abstract . The use of ellipses (…), which could indicate incomplete thoughts or omitted text, is not appropriate in an abstract.

APA Style for Abstracts

An APA abstract must be formatted as follows:

Include the running head aligned to the left at the top of the page (professional papers only) and page number. Note, student papers do not require a running head. On the first line, center the heading “Abstract” and bold (do not underlined or italicize). Do not indent the single abstract paragraph (which begins one line below the section title). Double-space the text. Use Times New Roman font in 12 pt. Set one-inch (or 2.54 cm) margins. If you include a “keywords” section at the end of the abstract, indent the first line and italicize the word “Keywords” while leaving the keywords themselves without any formatting.

Example APA Abstract Page

Download this example as a PDF

APA Style Abstract Example

Further Information

  • APA 7th Edition Abstract and Keywords Guide
  • Example APA Abstract
  • How to Write a Good Abstract for a Scientific Paper or Conference Presentation
  • How to Write a Lab Report
  • Writing an APA paper

How long should an APA abstract be?

An APA abstract should typically be between 150 to 250 words long. However, the exact length may vary depending on specific publication or assignment guidelines. It is crucial that it succinctly summarizes the essential elements of the work, including purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions.

Where does the abstract go in an APA paper?

In an APA formatted paper, the abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper. It’s typically the second page of the document. It starts with the word “Abstract” (centered and not in bold) at the top of the page, followed by the text of the abstract itself.

What are the 4 C’s of abstract writing?

The 4 C’s of abstract writing are an approach to help you create a well-structured and informative abstract. They are:

Conciseness: An abstract should briefly summarize the key points of your study. Stick to the word limit (typically between 150-250 words for an APA abstract) and avoid unnecessary details.

Clarity: Your abstract should be easy to understand. Avoid jargon and complex sentences. Clearly explain the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of your study.

Completeness: Even though it’s brief, the abstract should provide a complete overview of your study, including the purpose, methods, key findings, and your interpretation of the results.

Cohesion: The abstract should flow logically from one point to the next, maintaining a coherent narrative about your study. It’s not just a list of disjointed elements; it’s a brief story of your research from start to finish.

What is the abstract of a psychology paper?

An abstract in a psychology paper serves as a snapshot of the paper, allowing readers to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, results, and implications of the research without reading the entire paper. It is generally between 150-250 words long.

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How to write an APA abstract

An APA abstract is a short summary designed to help a reader decide if they are going to read the entire paper. An effective abstract will communicate your hypothesis, method, and results while also creating credibility for yourself as the author. An abstract will also make it easier for new readers to find your work.

In this guide, you will learn how to format an APA abstract. It begins with an overview of the key aspects included with an abstract and ends with a set of real APA abstract examples that you can look at.

The information in this guide comes straight from the source: The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7 th edition. Most of the relevant information comes from Section 2.9.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

What is an APA abstract page?

How to format an apa abstract, paragraph format vs. structured format, adding a keywords section after your apa abstract, about apa formatting and the apa style guide.

While the abstract page plays an important role in getting the reader interested, it is not a sales pitch. It’s about reporting, not commenting. That means that it should accurately reflect each key aspect of your paper.  In other words, it is a concise, comprehensive summary of your paper.

This is where you describe the problem you were exploring, the methods you used to explore it, and the results or conclusions of your exploration. In some cases, you might also be required to state the significance of your conclusions.

Here are some of the key aspects of an APA abstract that might be requested by the publication:

  • Basic problem : Why did this work need to be done?
  • Clearly-stated hypotheses: What was your hypothesis?
  • Methods of investigation: How did you do your research? How did you design your experiment or argument? For scientific papers, include basic sample information.
  • Results: What was the result of your study?
  • Implications: What is the significance of your findings?

Remember, the specific sections or labels in your abstract might vary based on who you are submitting to.

Qualities of a good abstract

In addition to the formatting requirements, the Publication Manual also provides some guidance on what other qualities make for a good abstract.

Here are the qualities of a good abstract as defined by APA. You can find more information on how to formulate a great abstract in chapter 3.

  • Accurate: The most important thing is that your abstract accurately reflects the contents and purpose of your paper. The general rule of thumb for accuracy is, if it doesn’t appear in your paper, it should not appear in the abstract.
  • Non-evaluative: The APA instructs us to “Report rather than evaluate” (p.73). It is inappropriate to add any opinions or comments to the abstract.
  • Coherent and readable: Your abstract needs to be as clear as possible. Use concise, deliberate language. It helps to use verbs instead of nouns when possible (e.g., “investigated” rather than “an investigation of”).
  • Concise: Make sure every sentence is as informative as possible. There should be no “extra” words in an abstract; it’s all about getting the point across as efficiently as possible. Because abstracts are often used for academic search engines, it is good practice to use specific terms that you think people would use to find your paper.

In large part, the abstract page is formatted just like any APA paper. That means that it should be 12pt font and double-spaced the whole way through.

A properly formatted abstract will also be:

  • No more than 250 words in length.
  • Placed on its own page, immediately following the APA title page .
  • Labeled with a bold, center-justified “Abstract” at the top

It is important to note that some publications will have their own instructions on how to format the abstract. In addition, some publications require a statement of significance in addition to the abstract.

If you are submitting your paper to a journal, be sure to check the publication’s author instructions.

The abstract page of an APA paper can be presented in two ways. As the author, you have the option of presenting your abstract in either paragraph format or structured format .

Paragraph format is more common with student papers. This is a single paragraph with no indentation on the first line. The objective, method, results, and conclusions are presented one after another in a simple, narrative manner.

Structured format is similar in formatting with one key difference. This format calls for the insertion of specific labels to identify the different parts of the abstract. In other words, “Objective,” “Method,” “Results,” and “Conclusions” are presented as labels before their corresponding sentences in the abstract.

It’s important to remember that some publications have different labeling requirements. If you’re submitting your paper to a journal, be sure to check the formatting standards.

APA abstract example: Paragraph format

Let’s move on to a specific example of a properly formatted APA abstract written in paragraph format.

The following abstract is from the paper “Movement, wildness, and animal aesthetics” by Tom Greaves. Note how the first line is not indented like a normal paragraph.

The key role that animals play in our aesthetic appreciation of the natural world has only gradually been highlighted in discussions in environmental aesthetics. In this article I make use of the phenomenological notion of ‘perceptual sense’ as developed by Merleau-Ponty to argue that open-ended expressive-responsive movement is the primary aesthetic ground for our appreciation of animals. It is through their movement that the array of qualities we admire in animals are manifest qua animal qualities. Against functionalist and formalist accounts, I defend and develop an account of expressive-responsive movement as the primary perceptual sense of animals. I go on to suggest that the primacy of movement in the aesthetic appreciation of animals is also the primary sense of animal ‘wildness’, and that a key part of the rewilding paradigm should be the development of such appreciation.

In the paragraph above, Greaves uses his first sentence to explain the basic problem, and the next two sentences to describe the method. The fourth sentence presents the results, and the fifth sentence wraps things up with a conclusion.

It’s only five sentences, and it tells the reader everything they need to know about the contents of the paper.

APA abstract example: Structured format

Next up is an example of a properly formatted APA abstract written in structured format. This example uses the same abstract as above, with the addition of identifying labels.

Structured abstracts are only necessary when specifically requested by the class, institution, or journal you are submitting to. For all APA journals, these labels are bold, italicized, and capitalized.

Objective. The key role that animals play in our aesthetic appreciation of the natural world has only gradually been highlighted in discussions in environmental aesthetics. Method. In this article I make use of the phenomenological notion of ‘perceptual sense’ as developed by Merleau-Ponty to argue that open-ended expressive-responsive movement is the primary aesthetic ground for our appreciation of animals. It is through their movement that the array of qualities we admire in animals are manifest qua animal qualities. Results. Against functionalist and formalist accounts, I defend and develop an account of expressive-responsive movement as the primary perceptual sense of animals. Conclusions. I go on to suggest that the primacy of movement in the aesthetic appreciation of animals is also the primary sense of animal ‘wildness’, and that a key part of the rewilding paradigm should be the development of such appreciation.

A paper’s keywords section is intended to help people find your work. These are the acronyms, phrases, or words that describe the most important elements of your paper. Any papers submitted to an APA journal should include three to five keywords.

The keywords section is generally only required for professional papers. However, some professors and universities specifically request that it be included in student papers.

Formatting the keywords section

The keywords are presented on the same page as the abstract, one line below the end of the abstract paragraph. It begins with the label “Keywords:”, and it is italicized and indented 0.5in from the margin.

Next comes a list of the keywords separated by commas. The keywords should be lowercase, unless the keyword is a proper noun. There is no punctuation at the end of a keyword list.

APA abstract with keywords example

Take another look at the abstract example that was provided above. Here is what a set of keywords might look like for that paper, pulling between 3-5 specific terms from the abstract itself.

The keywords are placed one line below the abstract without any additional spaces.

Keywords: animals, animal aesthetics, wildness, rewilding

The information in this guide came from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7 th ed.). Chapter 2 of this book lays out the basic formatting elements for APA 7, including how to write an APA abstract.

You can also consult chapter 3.3 for more in-depth recommendations on how to formulate your abstract based on what type of paper you are writing.

Published October 27, 2020.

APA Formatting Guide

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How to Write an Abstract in APA Format

How to Write an Abstract in APA Format

3-minute read

  • 2nd November 2023

If you’re writing an in-depth research paper following APA guidelines, you most likely need to include an abstract . If you’re confused about where to start – don’t be. We’ve got you covered! In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of formatting and writing an abstract in APA format.

What Is an Abstract?

An abstract is a brief summary of a larger academic text, such as a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, typically located at the very beginning of the paper before the introduction. Its main purpose is to give readers a clear and concise overview of your key points, objectives, results, and conclusion. Essentially, it lets the reader know the purpose and premise of your study and what to expect from your paper.

How to Write an Abstract Using APA Style

If you’re following APA guidelines, your abstract should include:

●  Your clearly stated hypothesis or hypotheses

●  The key takeaways of the literature review

●  Your research questions and/or objectives

●  The methods used in your study

●  The research design and sample/sample size

●  Your results and key findings

●  The significance of your study and the implications of your findings

Note that you should provide a short overview of these points and not an in-depth analysis (which will come later in your paper) – each should be around one to two sentences long. The total length will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as your university/journal specifications, topic, and the length of your paper, but APA guidelines recommend that abstracts shouldn’t exceed 250 words.

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How to Format an Abstract in APA Format

How should you format your abstract if you’re using APA style? To start, the abstract should be located on the second page of your paper, after the title page. To format your abstract:

●  Set one-inch margins on all sides.

●  Label the section “Abstract” on the first line of the page, centered, and using bold font.

●  Use a clear, readable, widely available font, such as Times New Roman (12 pt.) or Calibri (11 pt.).

●  Begin writing the text one line below the “Abstract” label.

●  Do not indent and write text as a single paragraph.

APA guidelines state that three to five keywords can be included at the end of your abstract, which makes your paper searchable in a database. Be sure to choose brief, relevant keywords or phrases that reflect the most important aspects of your study. Keywords should be written one line below the text of the abstract immediately following the label “Keywords” in italics . Keywords can be listed in any order and should be separated using commas.

For example, for a journal article titled Biodiversity and Environmental Resilience: Strategies for Sustainability , the keywords section could look like this:

Note that keywords should be written in lowercase (unless they’re proper nouns ) and no end punctuation is necessary after the final keyword.

If you want to ensure your abstract grabs your reader’s attention and leaves a lasting impression, then have it professionally proofread by our expert team. Our editors are skilled at editing a wide range of academic subjects – from astronomy to zoology. Send in your free sample to get started today!

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APA Citations (7th ed.)

  • General Formatting
  • Professional Paper Elements - Title Page
  • Student Paper Elements - Title Page
  • In-text Citation Basics
  • In-text Citation Author Rules
  • Citing Multiple Works
  • Personal Communications
  • Classroom or Intranet Resources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Periodicals
  • Books and Reference Works
  • Edited Book Chapters and Entries in Reference Works
  • Reports and Gray Literature
  • Conference Sessions and Presentations
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Data Sets and Software
  • Tests, Scales, & Inventories
  • Audiovisual Works
  • Audio Works
  • Visual Works
  • Social Media
  • Webpages & Websites
  • Basics & Formatting
  • Avoiding Plagiarism

More Resources

Need more examples of abstracts?

Check out the APA 7th Ed. Manual! It has multiple sample papers, including abstract examples!

Examples start on p. 50 of the manual (available in the reference section, second floor of the library).

Information on the various types of abstracts for different paper styles begins on p. 74.

Abstracts Introduction

Often, abstracts are included in professional papers to provide a short summary of a larger work. Abstracts allow the reader to quickly decide if they want to read the larger work.

For some student papers, you may be asked by your instructor to include an abstract. The page will cover how to format an abstract, the qualities of a good abstract, and an example abstract.

Again, please check with your instructor to know if you need to include an abstract with your paper or research project .

Qualities of a Good Abstract

A good abstract is:

  • Accurate : Ensure that the abstract reflects the purpose and content of the paper. If the study extends or replicates previous research, cite the relevant work with an author-date citation.
  • Nonevaluative : Report rather than evaluate; do not add to or comment on what is in the body of the paper.
  • Coherent and readable : Write in clear and deliberate language. Use active rather than passive voice. Use present tense ro describe conclusions or results. Use past tense to describe variables that were manipulated or outcomes measured.
  • Concise : Be brief and begin the abstract with the most important points. Include only the four or five most important concepts, findings, or implications.

Formatting for Abstracts

Follow these rules for correct formatting of your abstract:

  • Abstracts should appear on their own page after the title page (i.e., page 2)
  • Write the second label "Abstract" in bold title case, centered at the top of the page, and place the abstract below the label
  • Abstracts are typically limited to no more than 250 words
  • Abstracts may appear in paragraph or structured format. Both are written as a single paragraph without indentation. If you are using structured format, labels are inserted to identify various sections (e.g., Objective, Method, Results, Conclusions).
  • Include keywords one line below the abstract if requested. Write the label " Keywords:"  (in italics), indented 0.5 in. like a regular paragraph, followed by the keywords in lowercase (capitalize proper nouns), separated by commas. Second line (if needed) is not indented.

Example Abstract

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How to craft an APA abstract

Last updated

16 December 2023

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An APA abstract is a brief but thorough summary of a scientific paper. It gives readers a clear overview of what the paper is about and what it intends to prove.

The purpose of an abstract is to allow researchers to quickly understand the paper's topic and purpose so they can decide whether it will be useful to them.

  • What is the APA style?

APA style is a method of formatting and documentation used by the American Psychological Association. This style is used primarily for papers in the field of education and in the social sciences, including:

Anthropology

What is an abstract in APA format?

Writing an abstract in APA format requires you to conform to the writing rules for APA-style papers, including the following guidelines:

The abstract should be 150–250 words

It should be brief but concise, containing all the paper's main points

The abstract is a separate page that comes after the title page and before the paper's main content

  • Key elements of an APA abstract 

While the rules for constructing an APA abstract are straightforward, the process can be challenging. You need to pack a great deal of relevant content into a short piece.

The essential elements of an APA abstract are:

Running header containing the title of the paper and page number

Section label, centered and in bold, containing the word "abstract"

The main content of the abstract, 150–250 words in length and double-spaced

A list of keywords, indented and introduced with the word "keywords" in italics

Essential points to cover in an APA abstract  

When you’re creating your APA abstract, consider the following questions.

What is the main topic the paper is addressing?

People searching for research on your topic will probably be browsing many papers and studies. The way your abstract is crafted will help to determine whether they feel your paper is worth reading.

Are your research methods quantitative or qualitative?

Quantitative research is focused on numbers and statistics, typically gathered from studies and polls where the questions are in yes/no or multiple-choice format.

Qualitative research is based on language and gathered using methods such as interviews and focus groups. It is more detailed and time-consuming to gather than quantitative research but can yield more complex and nuanced results.

Did you use primary or secondary sources?

Another key element is whether your research is based on primary or secondary sources. 

Primary research is data that you or your research team gathered. Secondary research is gathered from existing sources, such as databases or previously published studies.

Is your research descriptive or experimental?

Your research may be descriptive, experimental, or both.

With descriptive research , you’re describing or analyzing existing studies or theories on the topic. You may be using surveys, case studies, or observation to study the topic.

Experimental research studies variables using the scientific method. With an experiment, your objective is to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables (or show the lack of one).

What conclusion did you reach?

Readers will want to know upfront what your paper is claiming or proving. Your APA abstract should give them a condensed version of your conclusions. Summarize your most significant findings.

It's customary to place your findings and conclusion in the final sentence of the abstract. This should be directly related to the main topic of the paper.

What is the relevance of your findings?

Show readers that your paper is a significant contribution to the field. While staying accurate and not overstating your case, boast a bit about why people need to read your paper.

Briefly describe the implications and importance of your findings. You can also point out any further research that is needed concerning this topic.

Did you choose the most appropriate keywords?

Including keywords is useful for indexing if your paper is eventually included in a database. Choose keywords that are relevant to the paper and as specific as possible.

For example, if your paper is about signs of learning disabilities in elementary-age children, your keyword list might include:

Learning disability symptoms

Elementary education

Language-based learning disabilities

Any other terms discussed in the paper

  • How to format an APA abstract

Use standard APA formatting with double spacing, 12pt Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins.

Place a running head at the top left-hand side of the page. This is an abbreviated version of the paper's title. Use all capital letters for the running header. This is not usually required for academic papers but is essential if you are submitting the paper for publication. The page number “2” should follow the running header (Page 1 is the title page).

Just under the running head, in the center, place the word "abstract."

Place your list of keywords at the end. The list should be indented and, according to APA guidelines, contain three to five keywords.

  • What are the 3 types of abstracts?

There are certain variations in different types of APA abstracts. Here are three of the most common ones.

Experimental or lab report abstracts

An abstract for an experimental or lab report needs to communicate the key purpose and findings of the experiment. Include the following:

Purpose and importance of the experiment

Hypothesis of the experiment

Methods used to test the hypothesis

Summary of the results of the experiment, including whether you proved or rejected the hypothesis

Literature review abstracts

A literature review is a survey of published work on a work of literature. It may be part of a thesis, dissertation, or research paper .

The abstract for a literature review should contain:

A description of your purpose for covering the research topic

Your thesis statement

A description of the sources used in the review

Your conclusions based on the findings

Psychology lab reports

Psychology lab reports are part of the experiment report category. Psychology experiments, however, may contain distinctive elements.

Describe the goal or purpose of the experiment

If the experiment includes human subjects, describe them. Mention the number of participants and what demographic they fit

Describe any tools, equipment, or apparatus you used for the experiment. For example, some experiments use electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves. You may have also used tools such as questionnaires , case studies , or naturalistic observation. Describe the procedure and parameters of the experiment.

Summarize your conclusions

  • What not to include in an APA abstract

As this section is 250 words maximum, it's important to know what should not be included.

Avoid the following in an APA abstract:

Jargon, acronyms, or abbreviations

Citations. These should appear in the body of the paper.

Lengthy or secondary information. Keep it brief and stick to the main points. Readers should want to read your paper for more detailed information.

Opinions or subjective comments

Anything not covered in the paper

  • Guidelines for writing an APA abstract

While an abstract is the shortest section of your paper, it is nevertheless one of the most important parts. It determines whether or not someone decides that the paper is worth reading or not. What follows are some guidelines to keep in mind when creating your APA abstract. 

Focus on your main point. Don't try to fit in multiple conclusions. The idea is to give readers a clear idea of what your main point or conclusion is. On a similar note, be explicit about the implications and significance of your findings. This is what will motivate people to read your paper.

Write the abstract last. Ensure the abstract accurately conveys the content and conclusions of your paper. You may want to start with a rough draft of the abstract, which you can use as an outline to guide you when writing your paper. If you do this, make sure you edit and update the abstract after the full paper is complete.

Proofread your abstract. As the abstract is short and the first part of the paper people will read, it's especially important to make it clear and free of spelling, grammatical, or factual errors. Ask someone in your field to read through it.

Write the abstract for a general audience. While the paper may be aimed at academics, scientists, or specialists in your field, the abstract should be accessible to a broad audience. Minimize jargon and acronyms. This will make the paper easier to find by people looking for information on the topic.

Choose your keywords with care. The more relevant keywords you include, the more searchable your paper will be. Look up papers on comparable topics for guidance.

Follow any specific guidelines that apply to your paper. Requirements for the abstract may differ slightly depending on the topic or guidelines set by a particular instructor or publication.

APA style is commonly used in the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and education.

If you’re writing an abstract in APA style, there are certain conventions to follow. Your readers and people in your industry will expect you to adhere to particular elements of layout, content, and structure.

Follow our advice in this article, and you will be confident that your APA abstract complies with the expected standards and will encourage people to read your full paper.

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How to Write an APA Abstract

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

abstract page in apa format examples

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

abstract page in apa format examples

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee 

  • Writing Your Abstract
  • How to Use Keywords

An APA abstract is a concise but comprehensive summary of a scientific paper. It is typically a paragraph long, or about 150 to 250 words. The goal of the abstract is to provide the reader with a brief and accurate idea of what a paper is about.

The APA abstract should appear on a separate page immediately after the title page and before the main content of your paper. While professional papers that appear in scientific journals and other publications require an APA abstract, they may not be required for student papers. However, you should always check with your instructor for specific requirements.

What Is APA Format?

APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association. It is used in writing for psychology and other social sciences. These style guidelines specify different aspects of a document's presentation and layout, including how pages are structured, how references are organized, and how sources are cited.

This article explains how to create an abstract in APA format for your psychology papers or other types of scientific writing. It covers the basic rules you should follow as well as specific guidelines for writing abstracts for experimental reports, literature reviews, and other articles.

What Is an Abstract in APA Format?

In addition to providing guidance for the general style and organization of a paper, APA format also stipulates using an abstract designed to briefly summarize the key details in a paper.

While it is sometimes overlooked or only an afterthought, an abstract is an integral part of any academic or professional paper. The abstract is a critical component of an APA-formatted paper. This brief overview summarizes what your paper contains. It should succinctly and accurately represent what your paper is about and what the reader can expect to find.

Following a few simple guidelines, you can create an abstract following the format. Done well, an abstract generates interest in your work and helps readers learn if the paper will interest them.

APA Format Abstract Basics

The abstract is the second page of a lab report or APA-format paper and should immediately follow the title page . Think of an abstract as a highly condensed summary of your entire paper.

The purpose of your abstract is to provide a brief yet thorough overview of your paper. It should function much like your title page—it should allow the person reading it to quickly determine what your paper is all about. Your abstract is the first thing that most people will read, and it is usually what informs their decision to read the rest of your paper.

The abstract is the single most important paragraph in your entire paper, according to the APA Publication Manual. A good abstract lets the reader know that your paper is worth reading.

According to the official guidelines of the American Psychological Association, an abstract should be brief but packed with information. Each sentence must be written with maximum impact in mind. To keep your abstract short, focus on including just four or five of the essential points, concepts, or findings.

An abstract must also be objective and accurate. The abstract's purpose is to report rather than provide commentary. It should accurately reflect what your paper is about. Only include information that is also included in the body of your paper.

Key Elements of an APA Abstract

Your abstract page should include:

  • A running head , which is a shortened version of your title that appears in all caps at the top left of each page of your paper
  • A section label , which should be the word "Abstract" centered and bolded at the top of the page
  • A page number , which should be the second page of your paper (the title page should be page 1)
  • A double-spaced paragraph of about 150 to 250 words
  • An indented list of keywords related to your paper's content. Include the label "Keywords:" in italics and list three to five keywords that are separated by commas

How to Write an Abstract in APA Format

Before you write your abstract, you first need to write your paper in its entirety. In order to write a good abstract, you need to have a finished draft of your paper so you can summarize it accurately.

While the abstract will be at the beginning of your paper, it should be the last section you write.

Once you have completed the final draft of your psychology paper , use it as a guide for writing your abstract.

  • Begin your abstract on a new page . Place your running head and page number 2 in the top right-hand corner. Center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
  • Know your target word count . An abstract should be between 150 and 250 words. Exact word counts vary from journal to journal . If you are writing your paper for a psychology course, your professor may have specific word requirements, so be sure to ask. The abstract should be written as only one paragraph with no indentation.
  • Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper . Begin with a brief summary of the introduction , and then continue on with a summary of the method , results , and discussion sections of your paper.
  • Look at other abstracts in professional journals for examples of how to summarize your paper . Notice the main points that the authors chose to mention in the abstract. Use these examples as a guide when choosing the main ideas in your own paper.
  • Write a rough draft of your abstract . Use the format required for your type of paper (see next sections). While you should aim for brevity, be careful not to make your summary too short. Try to write one to two sentences summarizing each section of your paper. Once you have a rough draft, you can edit for length and clarity.
  • Ask a friend to read over the abstract . Sometimes, having someone look at your abstract with fresh eyes can provide perspective and help you spot possible typos and other errors.

The abstract is vital to your paper, so it should not be overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Spend time writing this section carefully to ensure maximum readability and clarity.

It is important to remember that while the abstract is the last thing you write, it is often the most read part of your paper.

Experimental Report Abstracts

The format of your abstract also depends on the type of paper you are writing. For example, an abstract summarizing an experimental paper will differ from that of a meta-analysis or case study . For an experimental report, your abstract should:

  • Identify the problem . In many cases, you should begin by stating the question you sought to investigate and your hypothesis .
  • Describe the participants in the study . State how many participants took part and how they were selected. For example: "In this study, 215 undergraduate student participants were randomly assigned to [the experimental condition] or [the control condition]."
  • Describe the study method . For example, identify whether you used a within-subjects, between-subjects, or mixed design.
  • Give the basic findings . This is essentially a brief preview of the results of your paper. 
  • Provide any conclusions or implications of the study . What might your results indicate, and what directions does it point to for future research?

Literature Review Abstracts

If your paper is a meta-analysis or literature review, your abstract should:

  • Describe the problem of interest . In other words, what is it that you set out to investigate in your analysis or review?
  • Explain the criteria used to select the studies included in the paper . There may be many different studies devoted to your topic. Your analysis or review probably only looks at a portion of these studies. For what reason did you select these specific studies to include in your research?
  • Identify the participants in the studies . Inform the reader about who the participants were in the studies. Were they college students? Older adults? How were they selected and assigned?
  • Provide the main results . Again, this is essentially a quick peek at what readers will find when they read your results section. Don't try to include everything. Just provide a very brief summary of your main findings. 
  • Describe any conclusions or implications . What might these results mean and what do they reveal about the body of research that exists on this particular topic?

Lab Reports and Articles

Psychology papers such as lab reports and APA format articles also often require an abstract. In these cases as well, the abstract should include all of the major elements of your paper, including an introduction, hypothesis, methods, results, and discussion.

Remember, although the abstract should be placed at the beginning of your paper (right after the title page), you will write the abstract last after you have completed a final draft of your paper.

To ensure that all of your APA formatting is correct, consider consulting a copy of the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .

Keywords in an APA Abstract

After the paragraph containing the main elements of your abstract, you can also include keywords related to your paper. Such keywords are used when indexing your paper in databases and can help researchers and students locate your paper when searching for information about those topics.

Because keywords help people find your paper, it is essential to choose the right ones. The APA suggests including between three and five keywords.

You can identify keywords by thinking about what your paper is about. For example, if your paper focuses on how social media use is related to depression in teenagers, you might include the keywords: social media, mood, depression, adolescents, social networking sites 

A Word From Verywell

The abstract may be very brief, but it is so important that the official APA style manual identifies it as the most important paragraph in your entire paper. Careful attention to detail can ensure that your abstract does a good job representing the contents of your paper. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for assistance.

Nagda S. How to write a scientific abstract. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2013;13(3):382–383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x

Kumar A. Writing an abstract: Revealing the essence with eloquence .  J Indian Soc Periodontol . 2022;26(1):1-2. doi:10.4103/jisp.jisp_634_21

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards: Reporting Standards for Studies With an Experimental Manipulation .

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards: Quantitative Meta-Analysis Article Reporting Standards .

Tullu MS. Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key .  Saudi J Anaesth . 2019;13(Suppl 1):S12-S17. doi:10.4103/sja.SJA_685_18

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association; 2019.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Table of Contents

Collaboration, information literacy, writing process, apa abstracts.

The abstract is a succinct, single-paragraph summary of your paper’s purpose, main points, method, findings, and conclusions, and is often recommended to be written after the rest of your paper has been completed.

abstract page in apa format examples

What are APA Abstracts?

APA Abstracts are a type of Abstract , which is a genre of discourse . Like other abstracts (e.g., MLA Abstracts or Executive Summaries )m, APA Abstracts summarize the critical parts (aka essential parts) of a longer paper.

What makes an APA Abstract unique are the following elements:

  • the abstract must be a single-paragraph summary of the paper’s content that is between 150 to 250
  • This enables the work to be indexed correctly in the archive and associated with appropriate scholarly conversations.

Key Concepts:  Attribution ;  Citation ;  Discourse Community ;  Textual Research

Examples of APA Abstracts

The information provided in the APA abstract is determined by the genre of the paper, the intended audience or community, prevailing conventions, and conventions related to organizing the Archive, humanities’ textual record of knowledge, scholarly conversations, and record of past works on particular topics.

For instance, when investigators used empirical research methods, their abstract will often have one or two sentences for each major section, such as

  • Introduction
  • Conclusion.

Or, if the investigators used textual research methods , then their abstract may follow a CARS (Create a Research Space) Model:

  • The writer, Speaker, Knowledge Worker . . . will define the ongoing scholarly conversations that inform the topic
  • The writer will identify a gap in the literature, an unresolved question.
  • Occupy the niche.

Why Do APA Abstracts Matter?

People who are in a hurry (and who isn’t?) tend to decide whether or not they’ll read a document by scanning its abstract. When investigators search the peer-reviewed literature seeking to better understand the current conversations about topics of interest to them, they are likely to scan the abstracts.

Where Do Abstracts Appear in Report Documents?

APA Abstract s are placed after the Title Page before the Introduction .

How to Write an Abstract APA

The bottom line is that good writing, even writing that is extremely technical and invariably full of jargon, is best conveyed as a story. This truism is expecially true for abstracts. After spending years perhaps on an investigation, it can be difficult to distill it into the smallest, most important parts.

So, when writing an abstract, your first consideration should be identifying the simplest narrative, the through line, that will help contextualize your research.

How should the Abstract Page be Formatted?

The abstract’s length should be a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of 250 words; it should be confined within a single paragraph. Unlike in other paragraphs in the paper, the first line of the abstract should not be indented five spaces from the left margin.

Like the rest of the paper, the pages of the abstract should be double-spaced and typed in Times New Roman, 12 pt. The margins are set at 1” on all sides. While the running head is flush with the upper left-hand corner of every page, the page number is flush with the upper right-hand corner of every page. Note that all letters of the running head should be capitalized and should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation, letters, and spaces.

The title of the abstract is centered at the top of the page; there is no extra space between the title and the paragraph. Avoid formatting the title with bold, italics, underlining, or quotation marks, or mislabeling the abstract with the title of the research paper.

When writing the abstract, note that the APA recommends using two spaces after sentences that end in a period; however, sentences that end in other punctuation marks may be followed by a single space. Additionally, the APA recommends using the active voice and past tense in the abstract, but the present tense may be used to describe conclusions and implications. Acronyms or abbreviated words should be defined in the abstract.

  • Academic Essay for Undergraduate Writing Course Fat women feel enormous pressure to be thin. This pressure is exacerbated by media portrayals of fat women that show characters who are unruly, miserable, or comical. The series Shrill (2019-2021) combats fatphobic representations by offering Annie, a fat woman, as a lead character. She is neither a punchline nor a cautionary tale. Shrill elucidates the societal stigmas of being fat without victimizing its main character. In this essay, I offer an autoethnographic critical media analysis of Shrill . I explore the Western Body Positivity movement, the effects of the United States’ hegemonic beauty ideologies, and my experiences as a white, fat woman alongside Shrill . I argue though the representation of Annie is a huge step forward, some narrative arcs remain problematic. The focus on self-love and reliance on a Black character to facilitate that self-love mirror the real-life dependency on and erasure of Black women in the Body Positivity movement.
  • Recommendation Report Students struggle with stress and anxiety: they struggle to manage their time to study, complete coursework, and excel (citation; specifics needed here). Thus, we designed a healthy coping mechanism to help USF students deal with depression, anxiety, and stress: dog therapy. This will help combat these difficulties and promote mental health awareness. For our primary research, we made a poll on Instagram where people (mainly college students) responded whether or not they would take advantage of the puppy shelter as a way to ease anxiety and stress. We found that the large majority of people reported that they would benefit from having this resource available on campus. The shelter will also bring job opportunities, volunteer work, experience, and a higher morale for students.
  • Product Pitch Millennials’ desire for environmentally-friendly coffee is sweeping the industry, and Coffi™ is perfectly positioned to bring this to the campuses nationwide. “91% of college students say they agree their place of study should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development” (UNESCO 2018). Coffi™ will focus on two different models suited to different customers:  an atmosphere where customers can purchase quality coffee and go about their business in peace, and a vending machine model that maximizes product value and convenience. Beyond our goal to create a successful business through incorporation of modern technology, we seek to serve quality products in reusable and biodegradable cups.
  • NSF Commercial Potential Abstract The Total Available Market for this product is the 35.4M students in high school and postsecondary education. Assuming 2.5% market share of the target market (2.8M students taking first-year composition) and price-point of $35/year/student by two courses, MyReviewers will generate approximately $4.9M/year in revenue or $19.6M with a 10% market share. Higher revenues are feasible once the software is adopted more broadly in general education and high school English courses. This commercialization effort has the potential to disrupt reductionist assessment practices in education and to address shifting demographic populations so that all students may secure rights to literacy.

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Module 8: APA Citations

Apa abstract page.

The abstract acts as the second major section of the document and typically begins on the second page of the paper. It follows directly after the title page and precedes the main body of the paper.

The abstract is a succinct, single-paragraph summary of your paper’s purpose, main points, method, findings, and conclusions, and is often recommended to be written after the rest of your paper has been completed.

General Format

How should the abstract page be formatted.

The abstract’s length should be a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of 250 words; it should be confined within a single paragraph. Unlike in other paragraphs in the paper, the first line of the abstract should not be indented five spaces from the left margin.

Like the rest of the paper, the pages of the abstract should be double-spaced and typed in Times New Roman, 12 pt. The margins are set at 1” on all sides. While the running head is flush with the upper left-hand corner of every page, the page number is flush with the upper right-hand corner of every page. Note that all letters of the running head should be capitalized and should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation, letters, and spaces.

The title of the abstract is centered at the top of the page; there is no extra space between the title and the paragraph. Avoid formatting the title with bold, italics, underlining, or quotation marks, or mislabeling the abstract with the title of the research paper.

When writing the abstract, note that the APA recommends using two spaces after sentences that end in a period; however, sentences that end in other punctuation marks may be followed by a single space. Additionally, the APA recommends using the active voice and past tense in the abstract, but the present tense may be used to describe conclusions and implications. Acronyms or abbreviated words should be defined in the abstract.

How should the list of keywords be formatted?

According to your professor’s directives, you may be required to include a short list of keywords to enable researchers and databases to locate your paper more effectively. The list of keywords should follow after the abstract paragraph, and the word Keywords should be italicized, indented five spaces from the left margin, and followed by a colon. There is no period at the end of the list of keywords.

  • Formatting the Abstract Page (APA). Authored by : Jennifer Janechek. Provided by : Writing Commons. Located at : http://writingcommons.org/open-text/writing-processes/format/apa-format/1100-formatting-the-abstract-page-apa-sp-770492217 . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

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Note:  This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style  can be found here .

Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper  ,  APA Sample Professional Paper

This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader

Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student  and  professional  papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.

However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in  student style and one in  professional  style.

Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7. 

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Apa 7 professional paper:.

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The Basic Format of an APA Abstract with Examples

Tonya Thompson

The first thing you'll notice on an APA abstract is the running head, in all caps. Directly to the right of it, you'll see the page number, which should be "2".

This is because the running head and page number are required in all APA papers, and continued at the top right-hand side of the page in all capital letters, along with the page number denoting the second page of the paper, following the title page.

Basic format of an APA abstract

In the basic format of an APA abstract, the word "Abstract" is centered and without additional font changes. Then the abstract content begins beneath it—all in one paragraph with no indentation and one-inch margins on either side.

Here is an example of the basic format of an APA abstract:

This is the format all APA abstracts should follow

Notice that the running title of the paper and the page number are at the header of the page. The abstract itself is beneath the title "Abstract", which is centered and without additional format at the center of the page. Additionally, the keywords are included at the bottom—this time with an indentation and the word "Keywords" italicized. Each keyword is separated by a comma.

The abstract, itself, should be correctly formatted. Specifically, it should be one paragraph that is NOT indented, and it should include the following information:

  • An introduction to previous studies
  • The main problems with the previous studies that are address in the new study.
  • How the new study has been conducted.
  • What the new study reveals that adds to previous studies.
  • Conclusions of the new studies that add to the literature on the topic.
  • Keywords related to the topic, indented, with the title of "Keywords" italicized and the keywords themselves separated by commas.

Below is an example of a correctly formatted and written APA abstract.

This is a sample APA abstract in the field of Education

This shows you the formatting required for an APA abstract, as well as an example abstract written. Notice how the opening sentence summarizes what the paper explores. The second and third sentences state the problem in research that the paper aims to address. And the abstract closes with the final aims of the paper, along with the results of the study.

Keywords are then included at the bottom. Notice how they are indented and separated by commas.

Also notice the white space at the bottom of the page. This is what you should aim for when writing your abstract. An abstract that takes up an entire page is often an overwritten, wordy one—and one that goes beyond the recommended 150 to 250-word abstract.

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APA Style 7th Edition Tutorials for Students in Psychology and Social Work

What is apa style.

  • The Importance of Citing

Why is APA Style needed?

How do i get started with apa style, let us practice what we have learned, attribution and acknowledgement.

  • Basics of APA Style Tutorial
  • Reference Entry Elements
  • Reference Examples
  • Reference List
  • In-Text Citations
  • Student Paper Format
  • Managing References - Zotero

Origination of APA Style

  • Where did APA Style come from?

Commonly Used APA Related Terms

Abstract : Abstract is a brief synopses of article. It provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the article. 

Citing : In the context of academic writing, citing is the act of acknowledging the sources of information you have used when writing your work.

Citation:  A citation gives credit to a source, and contains publication information such as author(s), title and date.

DOI (digital object identifier): It is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, mainly a scholarly article, to provide a persistent link to its location on the internet. 

In-Text Citation : It is a brief note that appears within the body of the paper and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. An in-text citation should always match the corresponding entry in the reference list at the end of paper.

Paraphrasing : A paraphrase restates another’s idea (or your own previously published idea) in your own words. 

Plagiarism : It is the act of presenting the words, ideas, or images of another as your own; it denies creators of content the credit they are due. 

Quoting : It is the act of reproducing the exact wording used by the original author. Direct quotations appear within quotation marks and end with a citation.

Reference : It contains details about one cited work, generally including four elements:  author, date, title, and source.  

Reference List : It identifies all the sources you cited in the text of your paper. It generally is at the end of the paper and definitely on a new page after the text of your paper. 

APA Style is the most common writing style used in college and career. Its purpose is to promote excellence in communication by helping writers create clear, precise, and inclusive sentences with a straightforward scholarly tone. It addresses areas of writing such as how to

  • format a paper so it looks professional;
  • credit other people’s words and ideas via citations and references to avoid plagiarism; and
  • describe other people with dignity and respect using inclusive, bias-free language.

APA Style is primarily used in the behavioral sciences, which are subjects related to people, such as psychology, education, and nursing. It is also used by students in business, engineering, communications, and other classes. Students use it to write academic essays and research papers in college, and professionals use it to conduct, report, and publish scientific research.

In addition, APA Style provides you with a powerful tool that will hep you avoid deliberate or unintentional plagiarism. Please review the Avoiding Plagiarism Guide created by the APA experts to understand what two common types of plagiarism are and how to avoid them. 

Why is learning citations important? Citations help readers understand where the information used in your paper comes from, enabling them to trace the path of that information. When readers wish to explore a specific point or reference cited in the text, citations make it easier by providing information about your sources in a standardized format.

Besides showing readers where you obtained information, using citations also has a strong ethical purpose. In academic writing, it is important to credit ideas that are not your own. Citations allow you to integrate the ideas of others with your own thoughts in a fair and honest way.

The reference formats for APA Style manuals are as follows:

APA Style provides a foundation for effective scholarly communication because it helps authors present their ideas in a clear and concise, and organized manner.  Uniformity and consistency enable readers to (a) focus on the ideas being presented rather than formatting and (b) scan works quickly for key points, findings, and sources. When style works best, ideas flow logically, sources are credited appropriately, and papers are organized predictably and consistently. 

Students are encouraged to first learn about APA Style by reading works written in APA Style. A couple of guides created by APA experts from the American Psychological Association can help you with that:

Anatomy of a Journal Article   https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/anatomy-journal-article.pdf

Scholarly journal articles share a common anatomy or structure. Each part of an article serves a specific purpose. The handout of  Anatomy of a Journal Article explains how journal articles are structured and how to become more efficient at reading and understanding them. Understanding the structure of a scholarly article and the purpose of each part helps you grasp a strategy called targeted reading. Targeted reading means to read specific sections of research articles first to determine if the article seems useful for your research topic. This way you will save time, find useful article faster, and choose which articles to read in full.

Reading and Understanding Abstracts https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/reading-abstracts.pdf

Abstracts are short summaries of scientific research articles. The handout of Reading & Understanding Abstracts explains the definition and purpose of abstracts and the benefits of reading them, including analysis of a sample abstract. The skill of reading and understanding abstracts of scholarly articles not only saves time but also helps you conduct better research and write more effectively.

APA Style Writing Principles https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/writing-principles.pdf

The poster created by APA experts shows the three main principles of APA Style: clarity, precision, and inclusion and lists steps on how to achieve them. As a student writer, you always should write your academic paper with clarity, precision, and inclusion. 

Research Article Activity https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/apa-style-research-activity.pdf

Reading research articles is not an easy task for you as a student. The Research Article Activity designed by APA Style experts aims to make it easy to read and understand a scholarly article. This activity worksheet helps you find, cite, analyze, and summarize a research article. Completing this activity breaks down a lengthy research article into easily understandable chunks. This way helps you better understand the study in the article before you write about it. 

The information in this Guide   is courtesy of   the official APA Style website by the American Psychological Association.

Source Credit: Information on this LibGuide comes from APA Style website https://apastyle.apa.org/ This website has a wealth of free and authoritative resources designed to help anyone new to APA Style.

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  • Last Updated: Apr 6, 2024 12:06 PM
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Abstract Page in APA Format: How to Write Using Microsoft Word

This guide shows you how to create an abstract page in APA format using Microsoft Word.

The abstract plays a crucial role in your academic paper—whether you're working on a research paper, thesis, review, case study, report, or essay.

The abstract plays a significant role in your work, giving readers a quick glimpse of what your work is about and helping them decide if they want to read more.

What is an abstract?

Think of an abstract as a summary of your entire paper. It covers the main points of your work, like its purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.

See what makes a good abstract if you require further information.

Getting the APA format right for your abstract is important because it can impact your academic success.

Not complying with the APA format may affect your grades, or have your work published if that is your goal.

Let's dive into the step-by-step instructions on how to create your abstract page in APA format using Microsoft Word. I'll provide screenshots to make the process easier to follow.

Heading for the Abstract Page

Step 1 - create the heading for the abstract paper in apa format.

According to APA seventh edition guidelines, different font types and sizes are recommended.

However, it's essential to use the same font type and size throughout your paper, including the title page, abstract, headings, subheadings, and paragraphs.

APA format requires you to have the heading "Abstract" (without quotes) on your abstract page.

The heading for your abstract page in APA format should be:

  • use the same font type and size as the rest of your paper.

Figure 1 and the detailed instructions that follow show the font properties for the abstract label, using Times New Roman size 12 font as an example.

Font and Alignment Settings for the Abstract Label in APA Format

Figure 1 instructions (if required) are as follows:

  • Select the text "Abstract".
  • Select the Home tab.
  • Choose your font type , such as Times New Roman.
  • Select the appropriate  font size , for  example 12.
  • Set the alignment to center .
  • Set the  Font style  to  Bold .

Step 2 - Set Outline Level and Line Spacing for the Heading

Line Spacing Settings for the Abstract Label in APA Format

Instructions for Figure 2 (if needed) are:

  • Select the arrow located at the bottom right-hand corner of the Paragraph group.
  • If you're creating a Table of Contents, set the Outline level to Level 1 . Note that APA style does not specifically require a Table of Contents. However, if your instructor insists and you want the abstract heading to appear in the table of contents, then you should set the outline level to 1.
  • Make sure the Before and After Spacing are set to zero . This is because you will be double spacing the lines in the next step.
  • Set the Line spacing to Double . This will leave a blank line between the heading and the first line of the following paragraph.
  • Click on OK to apply these settings.

By following these steps, you will format your abstract heading correctly, and it will be ready to use in your APA-style document.

Abstract Paragraph

Figure 3 and the detailed instructions that follow demonstrate how to format the paragraph (or paragraphs) within an abstract in APA format.

Paragraph Settings for the Abstract in APA Format

Note:  The first line is NOT indented. Paragraphs in the main text are, but not the abstract paragraph.

Instructions for Figure 3 (if needed) are:

  • Select the Home tab at the top of the screen.
  • Choose the font you have selected for your paper, for example "Times New Roman".
  • Select the font size to the size you have chosen for your paper, for example size 12.
  • Set the alignment to the left , so the text lines up on the left-hand side.
  • Select Line and Paragraph Spacing  and set it to 2.0 , which means the lines will be double-spaced.

By following these steps and using Figure 3 as a visual reference, you can correctly format the paragraphs in your abstract page in APA format.

Example of an Abstract in APA Format

Figures 4 and 5 show an example of an abstract in APA format.

Figure 4 shows an abstract in a student paper.

Figure 5 shows an abstract in a professional paper.

What is the difference between a student paper and a professional paper?

A student paper is written for a course assignment whereas a professional paper is written for publication such as in a journal.

Example of an Abstract in APA Format

The only difference is that the professional paper (Figure 5) has the title (shortened if necessary) in the header.

Should You Use Microsoft Word Styles to Create the Abstract Page in APA Format?

Microsoft Word style refers to a predefined format for text, which includes aspects such as font type, font size, line spacing, bold, italic, and more.

Microsoft Word styles can be incredibly useful, as you only need to define the style once and then apply it consistently throughout your document.

You don't have to manually select the font, size, or formatting each time.

However, when it comes to writing abstracts, it is essential to consider how frequently you write them.

If you write only a few abstracts, you can follow the instructions provided in Figures 1 to 3 for formatting.

On the other hand, if you expect to write multiple abstracts during your academic writing career, it might be worthwhile to create a style for an abstract in APA format.

This will save you time and effort overall, as you can apply the predefined style consistently to all your abstracts.

Choose the option that suits your needs best, and you'll be on your way to creating well-formatted abstracts that meet the APA guidelines.

The abstract plays a significant role by giving readers a quick overview of your work and helping them decide if they want to read further.

The abstract is a summary of your entire paper, covering its main points, such as the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. By following the step-by-step instructions, you can create a clear and well-structured abstract that adheres to APA guidelines.

Figures and written explanations for setting up the abstract heading, outline level, line spacing, and paragraph formatting have been provided. Properly formatting the abstract is essential for academic success, as it can impact your grades or determine if your work gets accepted for publication.

If you expect to write several abstracts in your academic career, consider creating a Microsoft Word style for consistent formatting, saving you time and effort.

By following these guidelines and examples, you'll be well-equipped to create professional and accurate abstracts in APA format.

References - APA Abstract

American Psychological Association. (2020).  Publication manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

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Note : The version of Microsoft Word used is the latest Word for Microsoft 365. The functions should also work in the 2021, 2019, 2016 and 2013 versions .

© Copyright www.apaword.com    Privacy Policy     About Me Microsoft Word screenshots used with permission from Microsoft. APA style has been developed and maintained by the American Psychological Association. 

IMAGES

  1. The Basic Format of an APA Abstract with Examples

    abstract page in apa format examples

  2. Abstract Page in APA Format: Easily Created Using Microsoft Word

    abstract page in apa format examples

  3. Abstract In Apa Format

    abstract page in apa format examples

  4. How to Write an Abstract in APA: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    abstract page in apa format examples

  5. 1 How to write an abstract in APA Style

    abstract page in apa format examples

  6. Format the Abstract Page in APA Style, 6th Edition

    abstract page in apa format examples

VIDEO

  1. A quick guide for the perfect APA title, main body and reference page

  2. APA Format 7th edition pdf+Sample #youtubemadeforyou#shorts

  3. Research Methods: Theories, Hypotheses, Boolean Operators, and the Anatomy of a Research Article

  4. What should APA format include?

  5. How to write an abstract in APA

  6. How to Format APA 6th Edition Papers: Part 1

COMMENTS

  1. APA Abstract (2020)

    Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style: Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number. Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm). Write "Abstract" (bold and centered) at the top of the page. Place the contents of your abstract on the next line.

  2. PDF Abstract and Keywords Guide, APA Style 7th Edition

    1. Abstract Content. The abstract addresses the following (usually 1-2 sentences per topic): key aspects of the literature review. problem under investigation or research question(s) clearly stated hypothesis or hypotheses. methods used (including brief descriptions of the study design, sample, and sample size) study results.

  3. How to Write an Abstract in APA Format with Examples

    An APA abstract must be formatted as follows: Include the running head aligned to the left at the top of the page (professional papers only) and page number. Note, student papers do not require a running head. On the first line, center the heading "Abstract" and bold (do not underlined or italicize).

  4. How to write an APA abstract

    Formatting the keywords section. The keywords are presented on the same page as the abstract, one line below the end of the abstract paragraph. It begins with the label "Keywords:", and it is italicized and indented 0.5in from the margin. Next comes a list of the keywords separated by commas.

  5. PDF How to Write an Abstract: APA 7

    The Format of an Abstract in APA 7th Edition (APA 7 Manual, p. 38) No more than 250 words (typically 150-250 words) The abstract is on its own page after the title page and before the body of the paper begins (the second page, if title page and abstract are both required) The word "Abstract" should be centered at the top of the page and ...

  6. How to Write an Abstract in APA Format

    To format your abstract: Set one-inch margins on all sides. Label the section "Abstract" on the first line of the page, centered, and using bold font. Use a clear, readable, widely available font, such as Times New Roman (12 pt.) or Calibri (11 pt.). Begin writing the text one line below the "Abstract" label.

  7. Abstracts

    Formatting for Abstracts. Follow these rules for correct formatting of your abstract: Abstracts should appear on their own page after the title page (i.e., page 2) Write the second label "Abstract" in bold title case, centered at the top of the page, and place the abstract below the label. Abstracts are typically limited to no more than 250 words.

  8. Writing an abstract in APA format

    How to write an abstract in APA format. In APA format, the abstract is placed on a separate page, which typically comes after the title or cover page of the paper. Include the title "Abstract" at the top, bold it, and center align it. You want to ensure your abstract is factual but concise. Therefore, limit it to 250 words or less.

  9. How to Create an APA Abstract: Structure, Formatting, and Length

    The essential elements of an APA abstract are: Running header containing the title of the paper and page number. Section label, centered and in bold, containing the word "abstract". The main content of the abstract, 150-250 words in length and double-spaced. A list of keywords, indented and introduced with the word "keywords" in italics.

  10. How to Write an Abstract in APA Format

    While the abstract will be at the beginning of your paper, it should be the last section you write. Once you have completed the final draft of your psychology paper, use it as a guide for writing your abstract. Begin your abstract on a new page. Place your running head and page number 2 in the top right-hand corner.

  11. Sample papers

    This page contains sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style. The sample papers show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript for publication in a professional journal and that students should use to submit a paper to an instructor for a course assignment. ... an abstract and keywords are not required for APA Style ...

  12. APA abstract format + template

    The preferred font is 12 -point Times New Roman. Use double line spacing. Set 1 inch margins. Include a running head at the top left corner of every page. The title of the section should be labeled as " Abstract " in bold, centered at the top of the page. The text should be placed right below the title.

  13. APA Abstracts

    What are APA Abstracts? APA Abstracts are a type of Abstract, which is a genre of discourse. Like other abstracts (e.g., MLA Abstracts or Executive Summaries)m, APA Abstracts summarize the critical parts (aka essential parts) of a longer paper. What makes an APA Abstract unique are the following elements: . the abstract must be a single-paragraph summary of the paper's content that is ...

  14. Format the Abstract Page in APA Style, 6th Edition

    Parts of the Abstract Page. Let me elaborate on the individual parts that compose a correct Abstract page. Part 1: THE TITLE. The Abstract page should have a single-word title, "Abstract" at the top of the page, on the line just under the heading. The word Abstract is always singular, never plural (so never add an "s" to it). Center the title ...

  15. APA Abstract Page

    The abstract's length should be a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of 250 words; it should be confined within a single paragraph. Unlike in other paragraphs in the paper, the first line of the abstract should not be indented five spaces from the left margin. Like the rest of the paper, the pages of the abstract should be double-spaced and ...

  16. APA Sample Paper

    Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here. Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader

  17. APA Abstract

    Appearing right after the title page in APA format, the APA abstract is a short (less than 250 words) summary of the entire paper. The APA abstract page outlines the topic, research question ...

  18. The Basic Format of an APA Abstract with Examples

    Then the abstract content begins beneath it—all in one paragraph with no indentation and one-inch margins on either side. Here is an example of the basic format of an APA abstract: This is the format all APA abstracts should follow. Notice that the running title of the paper and the page number are at the header of the page.

  19. Writing Abstracts for a Literature Review in APA Format

    APA Abstract Format. The abstract page is the second page of your report, right after the title page. This page is numbered 2 on your report. On the first line of the page, center the word Abstract in bold. (Do not underline, italicize, or otherwise format the title.) On the second line, start your abstract.

  20. About APA Style 7th Edition

    Abstract: Abstract is a brief synopses of article.It provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the article. Citing: In the context of academic writing, citing is the act of acknowledging the sources of information you have used when writing your work.. Citation: A citation gives credit to a source, and contains publication information such as author(s), title and date.

  21. Abstract Page in APA Format: Easily Created Using Microsoft Word

    By following these steps and using Figure 3 as a visual reference, you can correctly format the paragraphs in your abstract page in APA format. Example of an Abstract in APA Format. Figures 4 and 5 show an example of an abstract in APA format. Figure 4 shows an abstract in a student paper. Figure 5 shows an abstract in a professional paper.

  22. Character strengths and social support as protective ...

    [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 32(5) of Journal of Child and Family Studies (see record 2023-77830-002). The article was originally published Online First without Open Access. After publication in volume 31, issue 9, page 2505-2517 the author decided to opt for Open Choice and to make the article an Open Access publication. Therefore, the copyright of the ...