Skip to main content

Writing an Abstract

Do you find it difficult to condense a 2,000-word document into a clear and engaging abstract? Writing an effective abstract is an important skill to have, especially if you’re a research student or academic. Here, we take you through the ‘moves’ in abstracts and how to apply them to your writing.

About this course

This is a free, self-paced online course.

Writing an effective abstract is critical in the era of publish or perish. The abstract is the first section that is read by reviewers and researchers, so it’s important to not only provide an overview of your paper, but more importantly, to effectively communicate the argument you are presenting. Millions of research articles are published each year, and often only your abstract is presented. For this reason, you’ll want to grab your readers’ attention, ensuring your abstract is engaging enough to persuade those readers to click through and read your paper. 

In this course, you will learn about the hallmark ‘moves’ of effective abstracts, you will analyse abstracts and practice applying the moves to your own writing. You’ll also have the chance to submit your abstract to AcaWriter, our automated feedback tool, where you will receive feedback on the moves in your abstract.

Course structure

The following content will be covered:

  • The purpose of an abstract
  • What abstracts are made of
  • Analysing an abstract
  • Starting your abstract
  • Finding the moves
  • Moves in your discipline
  • Connecting the moves
  • Bringing it all together.


Learning outcomes

  • Improve your academic writing skills
  • Identify the moves in abstracts
  • Learn how to write an effective abstract
  • Improve your writing process.

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for postgraduate students who are writing research papers, but is also relevant for anyone who wishes to improve their abstract writing skills.

Free course


Start anytime




Self paced

Meet the Expert

Sophie Abel

Sophie Abel
Academic Language and Learning Educator

Sophie Abel is an academic writing specialist who has taught academic writing for over 10 years to undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree research students in a variety of disciplines. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) at UTS, where she is investigating how writing analytics can be used to help develop research students’ scholarly writing.

More Less
We use cookies

We use cookies to help personalise content, tailor and measure ads, plus provide a safer experience. By navigating the site, you agree to the use of cookies to collect information. Read our Cookie Policy to learn more.

Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.