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MHS Library | Extended Investigation (VCE)

Writing an abstract

Included in your word count. It will be read by oral examiners before your oral assessment.

An abstract is a concise summary of your research report. It is an original work, not an excerpted passage from your report. You can paraphrase parts of your report. It is written in the third person. An abstract must be self-contained and make sense by itself, without reference to outside sources or to your report. It is a well-developed single paragraph of (approximately 200 words) and the function of the abstract is to briefly outline all parts of the paper.

 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.

What to include in an abstract

1. Purpose for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in your work? 

2. Method: It may include specific models or approaches you used and the types of data found in the research. 

3. Results: It may include specific data that indicates the results of the project or it may discuss the findings in a general way. 

4. Problem: What problem or question does your report attempt to solve? What is the main argument of your report? 

5. Recommendations: How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic? Are there any findings or implications for future research? 


Edit carefully as your abstract is an important way to promote your report (to be read by oral examiners). Write a precise, concise summary of your paper which is clear, complete, and includes key terms used in your report.

Adapted from Academic Skills Writing an abstract Understanding and developing abstracts What is an abstract? Why write an abstract? When is it necessary to write abstracts? (2012).