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Writing Abstracts for a Literature Review in APA Format

Do you need to know how to write a literature review abstract in APA? You’ve come to the right place. This citation example focuses on abstract writing in an APA format style paper. Learning how to write an abstract in APA is an excellent skill to have, as it helps you develop the ability to summarize the essential points in your paper. In addition to a how-to, you can explore several APA abstract examples including a literature review abstract example.

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Types of Research Papers

You may be asked to prepare various kinds of research papers as a student, including:

  • Empirical study
  • Theory-oriented
  • Methodological
  • Case study

A literature review paper is one you’ll be asked to write frequently, as many times, there is not enough time in a class setting to complete extensive research. Therefore, it’s important to know how to create an abstract for your literature review.

What Is an Abstract?

An abstract is a concise summary of the purpose or aim of your research in your APA paper. You’ve probably seen an abstract a time or two when looking at a scholarly journal. These examples of abstracts in APA tell you whether the piece is worth your time to read. Abstracts vary by type but should include:

  • research questions, problems, and/or a hypothesis
  • research methods
  • study results and conclusions
  • Recommendations and implications
  • critical points of a literature review

example APA abstract

The official writing style of the American Psychological Association, APA format is designed for psychology and social science papers. Therefore, abstracts you create in this writing style are for this purpose. Additionally, per the 7th edition of APA writing style, abstracts and keywords are no longer required for student papers, unless required by your teacher. 

Abstract Word Limits

The maximum word count for an APA abstract is 250 words. However, your instructor may ask for fewer words or provide you with additional guidance. Some instructors or publications may restrict the word count to 150.

Note: Do not include evaluative remarks or add any information.


How to Write an Abstract in APA

Since the abstract is a concise summary of your paper, you write it after you have finished your paper. Therefore, you have a clear idea of what to include in this short paragraph. Now, let’s explore the details of how to write and format an abstract for your APA paper.

APA Abstract Format

The abstract page is the second page of your report, right after the title page. This page is numbered 2 on your report.

  • On the first line of the page, center the word Abstract in bold. (Do not underline, italicize, or otherwise format the title.)
  • On the second line, start your abstract. (Do not indent.)
  • Use a readable font like Times New Roman 12-point or Calibri 11-point.
  • Write the abstract as a single paragraph.
  • Double-space, 1-inch margins on all sides.

Inserting Keywords into an APA Abstract

In today’s digital world, it is vital to think about ways readers can find your work online. Adding keywords at the end of your abstract guides online searches. These keywords need to accurately represent the paper and be specific.

After the abstract paragraph, type Keywords: italicized and indented.

Keywords Example:

Keywords: digital print, online sources


Abstract Example in APA


This article is an examination of the history of gender demographics in the field of librarianship. The historical development and subsequent “feminization” of librarianship continues to influence the gender wage gap and the disproportionate leadership bias in the field today. This article examines the stereotyping of librarians and the cyclical effect of genderizing the profession. Consideration of current trends and data in librarian demographics demonstrates a consistent decrease in gender diversity, accompanied by a troubling lack of women leaders and executives. Additionally, this article explores options for combating the gender perceptions that negatively impact women in the library and information science fields, including management and negotiation training in graduate programs, increased emphasis on technological skills, and professional organization advocacy.

Keywords: gender, demographics, stereotyping, librarians


How to Write an Abstract for a Literature Review

When writing an abstract for a literature review, you take the same basic approach as you do for a general abstract. However, since you are reviewing other literature on a topic, you have some unique elements, including:

  • First, briefly state the research topic and questions.
  • Then, using the primary studies in the literature you reviewed, include the participants in the studies and the main results.
  • Remember to include the conclusion of your literature review.
  • Finally, finish with a sentence about any implications or future research that developed from the research presented in your paper.

Literature Review Abstract Example With Keywords


The future of books and libraries is put into question by the increasing popularity of e-books and the use of computers as text platforms. To anticipate which reading platform—print, e-readers, or computer displays—will dominate in the coming years, recent research and experimental data on the suitability of each reading platform for reading comprehension will be considered, from the perspectives of optical issues, cognition, and metacognition. It will be shown that, while printed books are most conducive to learning from longer, more challenging texts, e-readers and computer displays offer convenience and some distinct advantages to readers in particular situations. This synthesis of current research will be helpful to librarians working in digital and print book purchasing and collection development, as well as those making long-range planning decisions.

Keywords: books, digital books, e-paper, reading comprehension, cognition


Tips for Writing a Literature Review Abstract in APA

Abstracts can be challenging, especially if you are new to the abstract writing game. Get some quick tips to make abstract writing easy.

  • Create a rough draft. This ensures you say everything you need to and the fluff can be edited out.
  • Check out professional abstracts.
  • Get feedback on your abstract.
  • Keep it concise. In an abstract, staying in your word count is essential.

infographic tips writing abstract in apa

Sectioning Your APA Research Paper

In the seventh edition of APA style, a research paper has four sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References
Note: You can include a “running head” on each page, including the abstract page. However, this is optional for students.


A Crucial Element

Knowing how to write an abstract in APA is a critical part of your school research paper. Thus, you should put a lot of thought into creating your APA abstract and make sure it includes all the required elements. As always, be sure to follow your teacher’s guidance for the length and format of your APA paper and abstract.

Related Articles:

FAQ Writing Abstracts for a Literature Review in APA Format

What is an APA abstract example?

An example of an abstract can be found on the second page of an APA paper. The abstract provides a brief break down of the article to help readers to understand how the paper is useful to their research. An abstract example includes a page number, title (Abstract), abstract text, and keywords at the bottom.

How do you write an abstract?

To write an abstract in APA, you want to include the research questions, research methods, types of research included, conclusions, and implications of the research. The abstract is going to be less than 250 words; therefore, it needs to be concise and to the point. To make sure your abstract is concise, you can create a rough draft and edit it down.

How do you write an abstract for APA 7th edition?

To write an abstract in APA 7th edition, you need to include the page number, title abstract in bold, abstract text of fewer than 250 words, and keywords. The abstract text should provide a concise overview of your APA paper, including research questions, hypotheses, study results, and conclusions. Additionally, APA 7 edition student papers do not require an abstract.

What makes a good abstract?

A good abstract in APA is a clear, concise overview of your research paper. It includes the research topic and questions, studies reviewed, conclusions, implications, and research methods. It's less than 250 words and includes keywords at the end.

What are keywords in APA format?

The keywords in an APA format abstract make the abstract easy to search in online databases. Additionally, they provide readers with a quick idea of the general topics covered in the paper. APA abstract keywords are found at the bottom of the paper, and the word "keywords" is indented and in italics.

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