Prepare an Abstract

How to Prepare an Abstract for American Archivist

Each submission to American Archivist should be accompanied by an abstract (250 words maximum). Abstracts are often presented on their own (without the associated article text) through aggregators or other access systems. They are also often read by individuals who are trying to determine whether to read an article or identify it for reference by themselves or colleagues. Therefore, it is important for abstracts to be written so that they can stand on their own. 

An abstract should summarize:

  • the topic or problem addressed;
  • the methods, process, or approach taken;
  • results or findings (when applicable); and
  • conclusions and implications.

The reader of an abstract should not be left to guess about what the article discusses or what it concludes. For example, if the article is reporting on a survey-based research study, it should indicate the research question(s) addressed, the population targeted by the survey, the number of respondents, the main findings, and conclusions.