Tips on Writing a Compelling Executive Summary for a Research Paper

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Writing a Compelling Executive Summary

The executive summary should include the conclusions and main ideas of the research paper.

It should be an indication of the author’s contribution to the particular topic, the level of novelty of the research, and the prospects for the practical application of the work.

Below you will find information and tips on how to write an executive summary willingly provided by an academic expert from SmartWritingService agency. You can use most of these recommendations when writing an abstract for your thesis or dissertation. Here are the main points.

Functions of the executive summary

1. Informational – informs readers about the structure of the dissertation or research paper, the relevance of the subject matter, subject itself, object, purpose, and objectives of the research, the author’s personal contribution to the development of the research problem;

2. Indicative – describes the methods developed by the author;

3. Signaling – informs that the thesis or research was prepared and will be presented. It is also used as a source for obtaining reference data on the scientific research conducted and the results obtained;

4. Descriptive – gives an idea of the scientific potential of the author.

Possible flaws you should avoid

1. Structural sections are confusing, there is no logic of exposition, which leads to the discussion about the structure and content of the abstract and the methodological part of the research paper;

2. A lot of space is given to the analysis used in the preparation of the dissertation literature and relevant links, which sometimes takes more than 25% of the text;

3. An unjustifiably large volume is occupied by the general sections of the abstract: the general characteristic, the urgency of the research, the scientific novelty, the object and the subject of research, the theoretical and methodological basis of the research, its purpose, and objectives, the degree of scientific elaboration of the problem, approbation;

4. Often there are no own conclusions and generalizations after the presentation of points of view of specific authors;

5. An unclear formulation of the novelty of the work carried out;

6. Often this is no description of a very definite result, but only some reminders of the general patterns of almost any study referred to in the research paper;

7. There are no final conclusions and recommendations, or they do not reflect the results of the work.


How to Write a Stellar Executive Summary

Writing an executive summary you should first of all pay attention to the following parts of the document:

Introduction. It contains a general description of the work with the justification of the novelty and relevance of the study, a description of the author’s personal contribution to the study of the problem, the formulation of the subject, and the object of the research. In the introduction, it is necessary to clearly articulate and concretize the tasks and objectives of the research.

Main/Body part. It reveals the essence of the research paper – research approaches and methods, the main stages of work, the methodology used, describes the structure and scope of the research and the conclusions. Any conclusions must be confirmed with objective, accurate data. Any assumptions and theories should be highlighted with an indication that these are only assumptions.

Bibliography. You should make a literature review and show how those books and articles contributed to your research. Sometimes professors ask students to make this part limited and put it after the introduction.

Any executive summary should include the description of the topicality of the particular research. When justifying the relevance of the research, you can focus on the following points:

New conditions and prerequisites, which determine the urgency of the phenomenon under study;
Lack of coverage of this problem in the official documents;
Requests of the society, which can be satisfied with the solution to this problem;
Lack of coverage of the issue in the scientific literature;
The scientific problems with which the research problem is connected;
The scientific needs, which can be satisfied with the solution to this problem;
Substantiation of the problem from the perspective of the development of other sciences;
The reasons why the problem is currently becoming urgent;
The reasons why this problem attracts the attention of field experts;
Practical needs that can be met by solving this problem;
The available achievements, which should be summarized and analyzed.

Justification of the relevance of the research problem can be carried out using different approaches. The multidimensional evidence of relevance, the applicant’s attempt to consider the relevance of the chosen problem from different perspectives is extremely important.


General Tips on Formatting an Executive Summary

The style of presentation of information in the executive summary should be purely scientific. All the wording should be capacious, concise, and clear. The statement of the problem, the promotion of hypotheses, conclusions – all this should be logical, specific, and objective. In addition, the information should be compressed – present only the essence, nothing superfluous. For the sake of brevity, these methods are often used:

Repeated terms are replaced by abbreviations;
Complex proposals, heavyweight designs, should be replaced with simpler ones;
Definitive subordinate clauses are replaced by sacramental turns.

In case if you need to use figures, diagrams, illustrations, graphics, and other images in the executive summary, in order to occupy the minimum area on the sheets, the following methods are used:

Reduce the scale of the drawings (but to the extent that they can be seen);
The graphs on a reduced scale are combined in one figure;
All the drawings in the executive summary should be placed in the text compactly, harmoniously, and orderly, following the example of the location of photographs in popular science magazines.

Unfortunately, the demands of different educational institutions vary from one college to another, from one university to another. It means that not all of these tips will be suitable for your particular case.

Pay attention to the requirements and use only those ideas from this article that are applicable to your situation. Save this article to your bookmarks and use it anytime you need it. Good luck!

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