Step-by-Step Instructions for Writing an Abstract in Chicago Format


An abstract is generally a one-paragraph summary of a paper that is written to give readers an insight as to what the paper is about. Authors write abstracts to present the main points of the paper to the readers. This is why an abstract is generally referred to as a snapshot of the focus of a paper.

Generally, an abstract is not required for a Chicago style paper; therefore, the format does not have stringent guidelines for writing an abstract. However, an abstract can be requested by a professor or an instructor. Consequently, you can just follow the general rules of writing an abstract, as well as any additional instruction that you were given. (Also learn about abstract in MLA and APA format)

pointing hand General Formatting Guidelines for Formatting an Abstract

When writing an abstract, you need to follow these guidelines

  • The writing guideline should be consistent. That is

Font: Any readable font, preferably Times New Roman.

Font size: 12pts

Margin: one-inch page margin on all sides

Spacing: double spacing

Page number: top right corner or bottom center

  • Abstract length

The abstract should have a minimum of 150 words but should not exceed 250 words. Additionally, it should be written in a single paragraph.

  • New page

The abstract of the paper should be placed alone on a new page. Plus, it should appear after the title page right before the body of the paper.

  • Title

The abstract should have a title. The title of the abstract page should be “Abstract.” This title should be center and written in bold.

  • Indentation

Unlike every other paragraph in the paper, the abstract should not have any paragraph indentations.

  • Acronyms

Acronyms should be spelled out in your abstract

pointing hand Steps for Writing an Abstract in Chicago Format

To write a good abstract in Chicago format, you would have to follow these steps:

  • Summarize the core point in the paper

Although the abstract comes before the body of the paper, it is usually written last. This is because you need to have written the entire content of the paper to know the main points to include in the abstract.

Therefore, to write your abstract, you have to review the body of the paper and begin to identify the main points of the paper. Then you start by summarizing those main points and make sure you include the objectives, the methods, results, and conclusions, among other things. You mustn’t just copy the text in the body into your abstract.

The reason why you are writing the paper must also be stated in your abstract, as this is what piques the interest of the readers. It is also important to also note that your abstract does not require citations or footnotes.

  • Arrangement

When you are done summarizing, it is important to know that your abstract has to follow a particular order. Therefore, you have to ensure that it begins with a clear statement of your arguments. Also, it should end with the conclusion you arrived at in the paper.

  • Edit and proofread

It is essential to edit and proofread your abstract after the first draft of your abstract. Editing will help you cut excess sentences that are providing irrelevant information. Editing will also help you ensure that the information provided in your essay are provided in the same logical format as the body of the paper.

You also need to check your abstract to identify mechanical and grammatical errors. Also, make sure you read your abstract to listen to how it sounds to know if it would make sense to your readers.

  • Format

When you are confident that your abstract is up to standard, then the last thing to do is to format it according to the guideline of Chicago format.


Editing academic manuscripts

Leave a Comment