Structured Abstract Writing

Structured Abstract Writing provides students with an abstract template, adapted from a modified version of the ‘Pitching Research’ tool. The template is designed to provide structure and guidance for abstract writing.

The ‘Pitching Research 350 Word Abstract’ is a structured approach to an ‘extended’ abstract, which allows for the inclusion of sufficient specifics, without compromising clarity. The specific sections required in the structured abstract are described in the table below.

When writing the abstract in full, each section should be marked by a bolded ‘Title’, followed by the corresponding detail. An example of this is also provided.

Abstract Writing Guidelines

Research Question 15-25 words In one sentence, define the key features of the research question (in “neutral” language)
Motivation 90-120 words In a few sentences, capture the core scholarly motivation for the study. If relevant, identify a ‘puzzle’ that this research aims to resolve. Identify up to three key papers upon which the research builds

What’s New? Highlight where novelty exists in the study; how does it build on or improve existing literature?

So What? Outline the primary reason why it is important to know the answer to your research question.

Idea 40-60 words Articulate the core idea behind the research – what specifically does the study do? If relevant: articulate the central hypothesis; highlight key independent variables and dependent variable(s).
Data 30-50 words Provide an overview of what data were collected/analyzed/used in the study; including data source(s), time period, sample size and measurement tool(s).
Tools 30-50 words Provide a brief summary of the empirical framework, research design and approach.
Findings 60-80 words Highlight the key takeaway points. Highlight any novel result – how do the findings agree/disagree with existing literature? What do the findings add? Highlight any important implications this research has for influence in real world decisions/behavior/activity.
Contribution 15-25 words Outline the primary contribution of this paper to the relevant research literature.

Example of the Abstract

An written example of this template is provided below, using a paper from Milinković, I., Kovačević, I., & Mihailović, D. (2017). What Do Freshmen Want? Career Path Preferences Among Students, Management: Journal of Sustainable Business and Management Solutions in Emerging Economies, 22(1), 37-45.


Research Question: This paper investigated whether a relationship exists between students’ life goals and preferences for future career type, specifically in entrepreneurship.

Motivation: Our goal was to explore if there exists a strong link. If this were the case – if entrepreneurial orientation was pre-destined before University – entrepreneurial education for a wide range of students may be rendered ineffective. The paper draws on both Goal Setting Theory (Locke & Latham, 2006) and Self Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2008), applying them to the context of intrinsic and extrinsic goals (Kasser & Ryan, 1996) among students with preferences for entrepreneurship or management. The study builds on existing literature by distinguishing the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic goals, creating a more rigid structure with which to measure individual goal orientation.

Idea: The core idea of this paper was to empirically evaluate the relationship between intrinsic/extrinsic life goals and chosen career path. The study was conducted using gender, department and career path as independent variables and measured the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic life goals.

Data: Analysis was conducted using responses to 384 surveys completed by first year Serbian students in semester one of 2016/2017 at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences. Students identified gender, department and career path.

Tools: Statistical analyses of all collected data (Utilizing ANOVA, t test, C coefficient, linear correlation analysis and cluster analysis) were used to draw conclusions about the relationships between variables, particularly the correlation between life goals and career preference.

Findings: This study eliminates endowed life goals as a factor in predicting which freshmen would be prone to entrepreneurship as a career, even after considering gender and choice of department (field of study). It suggests that there may be other variables worth considering, such as individual differences and education. It also highlights the potential role for education and development, in order to foster the next generation of Serbian entrepreneurs.

Contribution: This paper expands existing research related to the life goals and entrepreneurial career path and formulates practical suggestions for higher education of future entrepreneurs.