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APA Citations (7th ed.): Abstracts

This guide will help you learn how to properly cite sources in APA style and how to avoid plagiarism.

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.

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.

Formatting for Abstracts

Follow these rules for correct formatting of your abstract:

  1. Abstracts should appear on their own page after the title page (i.e., page 2)
  2. Write the second label "Abstract" in bold title case, centered at the top of the page, and place the abstract below the label
  3. Abstracts are typically limited to no more than 250 words
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

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.

Example Abstract