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How Long Should an Abstract be?

By Laura Brown on 14th February 2019

The length of an abstract may vary depending on the type of research. However, ideally, an abstract should be something around 100 to 500 words. Now, there are many factors that play an important role in identifying how long should an abstract be for a dissertation.

In this post, we will discuss the ideal length of your abstract. But, to be aware of the required length of an abstract, it is mandatory to understand the word “abstract” and be aware of the question, “is abstract included in word count?“.

What Is An Abstract?

The brief summary of any paper is termed as an abstract. It can contain all the main points of the paper. That’s the reason authors of essay writing service consider it the most vital part of any composition. In some publications, it is also termed a synopsis or a precis. A good abstract is one that gives all the information of the paper. It gives the idea to the reader whether they should read the complete paper or not.

Is Abstract Included In Word Count?

Everything before the main text, including abstracts, acknowledgements, content tables, executive summaries, etc., is not included in the word count of the dissertation. Similarly, all the components after the main text, i.e., bibliography, references, and appendices, are not included in the word count.

Now, to write a good abstract, a few things must be kept in mind. An important point to consider is the word count of an abstract. It should not exceed more than the required limit. The length of an abstract varies with the discipline, the total word count and the requirement of the publisher.

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How Long Should An Abstract Be

How Long Should A Dissertation Abstract Be?

The length of an abstract fluctuates with the requirement. However, the typical length of an abstract is from 100 to 500 words, but it is suggested that an abstract should not be more than one page. Rarely it can go more than one page but just fewer words.


According to the APA style manual, the suggested word count in an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words. However, some professors may have definite word requirements, so it is better to ask. Also, the abstract should be written in paragraph format.


Most MLA abstracts range between 150 – 250 words. It is also said that too-long abstracts are useless because they do not give specific information about the complete written paper.


In Harvard styles, abstracts mostly range from 100 to 300 words in length. But it is better to ask the professor because some universities have their own requirements for the abstract.


As per AMA style guidelines, the abstract length is restricted to 175 words. The abstract in AMA style should give key components of the complete research.


In Chicago style, the synopsis or abstract word count must remain below 300. But it is compulsory to put all the essential points in the synopsis.

In A Scientific Paper

Every paper has its own requirements, where the scientific paper is concerned; the abstract length of scientific papers are limited to 250 words maximum. So, it is better to write fewer words than the given limit.

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10000-Word Dissertations

As mentioned above, the word count of an abstract also varies with the size of the dissertation. Do students often look for the answers on how long an abstract should be for a 10000-word dissertation? Well, if your dissertation is around 10000 words, then the abstract should be 300 – 350 words long. It is because such dissertations contain much information, and making the summary of all the information requires some more words.

For A Conference Paper

As the abstract is a snapshot of the complete paper, it should be concise and informative. The requirement of length of an abstract paper varies with the publisher’s requirement. However, the suggested range is a maximum of 250 words.

Thesis / Dissertation

After completing the dissertation of the thesis, the last part should be the abstract. It gives a brief idea and highlights the main points of the whole dissertation. It usually embraces the reader to read the rest of the dissertation. So as not to take much time for the reader, the abstract should be 200 to 350 words in range. Also, it is suggested not to write the abstract in the future tense.

Journal Article

The range of abstracts of journal articles is between 75 to 150 words. It is good to present all the information in the most concise way, so it is suggested not to go beyond the limit.

Lab Report

The abstract of the lab report should be one paragraph, like 100 – 200 words. The report abstract should contain important facets of the report. It can include purpose, key findings, significance and conclusion.

For A Literature Review

The summary of a literature review should be according to the length of the literature. Typically, the literature review ranges from 3000 to 5000 words, so the abstract should be between 100 – 150 words. The abstract must not evaluate the original work but should just summarise it.

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How Long Should An Abstract Be For A Research Paper?

The abstract recaps the major and important aspects of the whole research paper, and it should not be more than 300 words. However, it is good that words should be less than 300 words.

For A Presentation

The length of the presentation abstract should be around 200 to 250 words. The abstract for the presentation should contain concise and informative information.

Any Other Paper

The abstract of the paper should be 100 – 500 words long. Just make sure that all essential points should be covered in the same abstract.

How To Write An Abstract Under Limited Words

While writing an abstract, you will always need to keep an eye on the word limit. We have very often observed abstracts being returned to students for making them shorter. It is easy for the reviewers to ask you to be more concise, but when you have already summed up your hardships and workings of some months or years in a 200-300 word statement, it becomes arduous to reduce it more.

We have come up with some simple tips that will help you to write an abstract within a word limit.

Bonus Tip: Keep tracking your abstract word count by enabling the word count feature in MS Word or pressing ctrl+shift+c if you are working in Google Docs.

An impressive way to start your abstract is by writing a draft. Keep in consideration your complete paper and the whole journey. There is no need to be concerned about the number of words at this stage. The first draft is more about understanding and papering down the essential aspects of your paper.

Creating First Draft

  1. Extract the objectives from the paper’s introduction and conclusion from the discussion.
  2. Highlight the information from the methodology section and make sure it is relevant.
  3. Bracket the findings from the result section.
  4. Combine the above-highlighted information into a single paragraph.
  5. Now, condense this information based on research keywords without explaining the methods used.
  6. Delete extra words or any irrelevant background information.
  7. Revise the paragraph to convey only essential information.

Don’ts Of Writing An Abstract

  1. Avoid writing information that is not in the original paper.
  2. Do not add abbreviations until a term appears two or more times.
  3. Skip background information, detailed methodology and literature review.
  4. Omit bibliography, citation, references, graphs and tables.

Revision & Editing

  1. Finally, work on the conciseness of the abstract.
  2. Check for the flow of English and logical sentences.
  3. Look for grammatical errors and make suitable corrections.

With the help of these tips and the word guide provided in the article, you will be able to understand how many words an abstract should be and create an eye-catching abstract for your paper. Still, if you face any difficulty, don’t forget to concern our experts.


  • What is an abstract?

    The abstract is a brief summary of the paper.

  • Does abstract count in the word count of the paper?

    No, the abstract is not counted with the word count of the paper.

  • How long is an abstract for a dissertation?

    Typically an abstract should be around 100 to 500 words.


  • APA: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-write-an-abstract-2794845
  • MLA: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Abstract-in-MLA-Style
  • Harvard: https://gsas.harvard.edu/degree-requirements/dissertations/formatting-your-dissertation
  • AMA: https://www.ama.org/journal-of-international-marketing-submission-guidelines/
  • Chicago: https://www.ieee-pvsc.org/PVSC46/authors-abstracts.php
  • Scientific Paper: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/how-to-write-a-science-fair-project-abstract
  • 10,000 Words Dissertation: https://www.sfu.ca/~jcnesbit/HowToWriteAbstract.htm
  • Conference Paper: https://www.ul.ie/ctl/sites/default/files/how_to_write_an_abstract_for_a_conference_paper.pdf
  • Lab Report: https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/lab-report/
  • Research Paper: http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/abstract
  • Presentation: https://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-write-an-abstract-for-a-presentation.html
Author Bio:
Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.