Writing Tips: How Long Your Abstract Should Be

Writing Tips: How Long Your Abstract Should Be
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If you’re not sure how long your abstract should be, check out this guide from College Writers team. But first, let’s figure out what an abstract is.

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper. It’s quite important because it contains key ideas from all the other parts of the paper. Sometimes, an abstract is also called a synopsis or précis. A properly written abstract should help your readers understand whether they should read the whole paper.

When writing an abstract, keep in mind the word count. You should strictly meet the necessary requirements, and these requirements may vary depending on your discipline or the publisher. Usually, abstracts are 100-500 words long and don’t exceed one page.


The APA style manual suggests that an abstract should be 150-250 words long. However, your professor may also have different requirements so we recommend that you clarify this issue before writing your paper. The abstract must be presented in the form of a paragraph.


Usually, MLA abstracts are also 150-250 words long. Your abstract shouldn’t be too long because it won’t present specific information on your paper.


Harvard styles imply writing an abstract that is 100-300 words long but different universities have their own requirements.


According to AMA guidelines, an abstract should be up to 175 words long, presenting only the key point from the complete paper.


In Chicago style, an abstract or synopsis must be up to 300 words long. Make sure to include all the important points in the synopsis.

Scientific Papers

Every type of scientific paper has its own requirements. The length of an abstract is usually limited to 250 words. We recommend that you don’t exceed this limit.

10,000-Word Dissertations

The length of an abstract depends on the length of the dissertation. If your dissertation is about 10,000 words long, we recommend that you write 300-350 words in the abstract section. Such dissertations contain lots of information so your summary should also be long enough.

Conference Papers

An abstract must be concise and informative, being a brief summary of your paper. Depending on the requirements of your publisher, an abstract may be up to 250 words long.


We recommend that you write an abstract when the whole dissertation has already been written. Include the main points from your dissertation and make sure that your readers will want to read the whole paper. Your abstract must be 200-350 words long. We also recommend that you don’t write it in the future tense.

Journal Articles

When writing a journal article, the abstract must be 75-100 words long. We recommend that you stick with this word limit, presenting only crucial points.

Lab Reports

When writing a lab report, write one paragraph of an abstract and make it 100-200 words long. The abstract must include the purpose of your experiment, its significance, key findings, and conclusions.

Literature Reviews

The length of your abstract depends on the length of a literature review. For example, usually, reviews are 3,000-5,000 words long. In this case, an abstract must be between 100 and 150 words. Just summarize the work without evaluating it.

Research Papers

Make sure to cover all the key aspects of your research and make your abstract no longer than 300 words.


Presentation abstracts are usually 200-250 words long. Such an abstract must be informative yet concise.

Other Papers

If there are no particular requirements, make your abstract 100-500 words long, depending on the length of the whole paper. Include only essential points.

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