Reading time: 3 minutes - The Abstract Section of a Lab Report is the first taste of your work that the reader gets.

Get inside your reader’s head and get them to expect an amazing Lab Report based on your abstract.

There are three ways that people’s Abstracts say “this is going to be a rubbish Lab Report”.

We’ll show you how to avoid making that mistake.

Error 1/3

The Error: Poor Formatting

If you’re using APA or most other formatting styles, the abstract should look a certain way.

Never mind the content for a second, just consider what a perfect Abstract looks like.

Your reader and your marker will have that ideal Abstract format in their head, and they’ll be expecting it. Essentially, they’re ready and waiting for a game of spot-the-difference.

If your Abstract looks the same as that piece of work that won the Nobel Prize, that will certainly put your reader in a good frame of mind regarding the rest of your work. It might even take a few errors for them to change their opinion that “this is a good piece of work”.

In APA, the Abstract should have double line spacing, it will have keywords, it won’t have sub-sections, and more.

Find out what your Abstract should look like, and then do exactly that. It makes more of a difference than you could possibly believe.

Stop just looking at the content of your work. It should look good. See it as a work of art.

Error 2/3

The Error: Missing Out Information

The Abstract is going to summarise each part of your Lab Report.

If you start the Abstract at the Methods Section, something has gone wrong.

If you end the Abstract at the Results Section, something has gone wrong.

Make sure that you have at least one sentence that mentions and summarises your Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion.

Your marker may be simply checking that you have mentioned all parts of the Lab Report. After all, that’s the main thing an Abstract should do.

You can use buzzwords here to help you.

“The methods of the study were…”

“The results found that…”

“To conclude…”

Error 3/3

The Error: Even More Poor Formatting

We can’t stress this enough. There are more rules than you are probably aware of, for how to format an Abstract.

Is it on the same page as the Introduction or not?

Should the Abstract title be in bold or not?

Should the first line have indentation or not?

Are the keywords in italics or not?

Should it contain citations? Numbers?

Don’t let this get you down. In fact, you should be utterly happy!

There are rules for Abstract Sections! This means that if you find out the rules and follow them, you’ll know that you’re on track!

This is a bit different to how an essay can feel. Sometimes you don’t know if you’ve done well or not.

With Lab Reports you should hopefully get to the stage where you’re happy to get a Lab Report assignment, because it’s a guaranteed good grade. You just know you can do well.

Find out the rules, and follow them. Treat your Abstract, and in fact your whole Lab Report, as a technical, minimalist piece of art.

You might even enjoy it.

That’s all for now. Well done for bossing it and reading a useful article on writing Abstract Sections.

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