Composing a Strong MLA Term Paper Format Abstract
An abstract is more of a condensed version of the write up. You will need to review everything, from your research problem to conclusion and recommendations. By reading it, the reader should gain new or additional knowledge on the topic in question. In all cases, it is only a few sentences long. Here are things to consider when writing an MLA term paper abstract:
- Write it being the last: As already said, it is a summary of the rest of the paper. Indeed, you will need to fully understand all issues in the write up before making the summary. This helps to focus on only the main ideas. The most common mistake would be to think you know or understand the flow of the paper and hence decide to compose it first - but what happens if new ideas evolve later?
- Read the paper twice: This will help in understanding of the term paper better, which improves the ability to summarize it better. You can then make a summary of each of the sections, and use this summary to generate the abstract. Truth is not all statements will qualify for inclusion and thus, each of these summaries should contain the most outstanding arguments - unless you are dealing with the introduction where specific statements such as the thesis statement and objects/hypothesis must feature.
- Consider the audience: Consider that the abstract should assist readers to decide whether the work is helpful in relation to issues they are seeking answers for. In most cases, other researchers will only pass through it before deciding whether the work is worth their time. It is thus important to stay brief and to the point, whilst delivering real value. Even your experienced supervisor/lecturer can grade the work by just reading through it. Thus, you need to avoid things that can put readers off, for instance, repeating ideas and statements. They might end up forming a negative attitude if the work is monotonous, has grammatical and formatting errors and relays no points.
- Write it at the beginning: Your abstract should be the first thing in the whole write up.
- Use a convincing flow of ideas and use third party research evidence: Readers will question the authority of your thesis statement - which is basically a generalization about the topic. You can avoid being put off by presenting evidence (such as statistical evidence) from authoritative peer reviewed journal articles. For instance, don't directly state the problem; say what other researchers have found out and areas they left hanging.
- Make use of MLA guidelines: MLA guidelines specify exactly how the term paper should be formatted and styled. In addition, it specifies how to cite different papers from other authors. For instance, you can indicate the name of the third party author and the specific page from which ideas were derived. These guidelines can be downloaded from the internet free of charge. Make sure to use the latest MLA abstract writing guide. Note that teachers and lecturers penalize those who do not follow the style guide to the letter.