Writing an Abstract in MLA Style

An MLA-style abstract is a concise review of a finished research paper that inspires its readers to read the whole document on the topic. Writing an abstract in MLA style usually aims to summarise the objective, subject-matter, methods, discussions, and conclusions of a paper. An abstract is a reduced form of a lengthy piece of writing. It highlights the key points, briefly describes the content and scope of the paper and reviews the content in a shortened form. Writing an abstract in MLA style is one of the most commonly used modes to write abstracts in the arts and humanities courses.

Writing a high-quality abstract need the explanation of what was done and what was found by the study in an easy, concise and direct language so that readers can ultimately decide whether to read the complete paper or not. The general rules provided in the present article will guide you in writing an abstract in MLA style.

General Rules for Writing an Abstract in MLA Style

  • While writing an abstract in MLA style, it is firstly needed to summarise the objective of the research and the methods used.
  • MLA-style abstract should comprise a short description of the objective, methods, findings and convincing conclusions of the study.
  • MLA-style abstract for humanities topics should be short and snappy. It should be about 150–250 words long.
  • MLA format does not generally need an abstract. In case an abstract is required, it should be placed after the title page, but before the main text of the document.
  • State why you decided to conduct a research on the subject and why the readers should be concerned about the topic of your research.
  • Give a detailed account of the research methods used in the study. Also, describe how the results of the study were obtained.
  • Give an account of the findings and include what was found as the result of your research.
  • In case, the findings have larger implications, comprise them in the conclusion section.
  • Avoid ambiguous and unnecessary words, phrases and sentences that hamper the real value of the abstract.
  • Ensure there are no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors in the abstract. The abstract should be error-free in order to achieve the readers’ confidence.
  • Abstract should be double-spaced throughout. Use decipherable fonts, like Times New Roman, Arial, etc., in 12-point font size.
  • When citing a long work in the abstract, use italics instead of quotation marks.
  • Read and revise the abstract several times to make it perfect and faultless.
  • Ensure that the final form of the abstract is kept within the word limit.

By following the given rules you can learn the basic manner by which an abstract is written in MLA style. The above mentioned general rules will help you to learn and also guide you in writing an abstract in MLA style.


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