Writing the abstract

Criterion J of the Extended essay rubric assesses students on the essay's abstract. It is for a maximum of 2 marks. The requirements of the abstract are as follows:

  1. A clear statement of the research question.
  2. How the investigation was undertaken - this means that the abstract should clearly explain how the investigation of the research question was done, for example with reference to the most important empirical studies consulted or the most important psychological theories used to analyse.
  3. A clear statement of the conclusion that has been reached as a result of the investigation of the research question.

Here are some comments on the rubric for assessment.

Assessment standards Comments
0 marks The abstract exceeds 300 words or one of more of the required elements of an abstract is missing.

This means that the abstract will receive 0 marks if

  • it contains more than 300 words and/or if any of the three required elements are missing - that is:
  • if either there is no clear statement of the RQ,
  • if there is no indication of how the investigation was undertaken
  • if the conclusion is not mentioned.
1 mark The abstract contains elements listed above but they are not all clearly stated. This means that all the three required elements can be seen in the abstract but they are vaguely expressed.
2 marks The abstract clearly states all the elements listed above. This means that all the three elements are present and clearly expressed.


Self-efficacy theory incorporates cognitive, motivational, and emotional factors in its explanation of behavior. These are all important concepts in competitive sports and the theory has already been used by sports psychologists. Therefore, the focus of this paper was to examine the usefulness of the theory in relation to sport based on the following research question: To what extent is the theory of self-efficacy useful for explaining behavior in competitive sport?

The research question is clearly stated .

At the core of the self-efficacy theory is that an individual’s perceived self-efficacy constitutes the beliefs one has about one’s own capabilities to manage and execute certain tasks (Bandura, 1997). This investigation used empirical research to see if self-efficacy theory provided a useful explanation for some of the important concepts within sports psychology, for example by focusing on athletes’ beliefs about their capabilities seemed to influence their cognitions, motivation, and their ability to cope with stressful situations and failures. The empirical evidence showed a relationship between self-efficacy and athletic performance, and that self-efficacy is both a cause and an effect of athletic behavior (Moritz et. al., 2005, Brown et. al., 2000). Furthermore, empirical evidence supported the theory’s predictions concerning how self-efficacy beliefs are altered through various source. It was also shown that the theory can contribute to understanding of real-life examples within the world of competitive sport.

The abstract clearly describes how the investigation of the research question was undertaken.

It was concluded that the self-efficacy theory to a very large extent is useful for explaining behavior in competitive sport. The theory takes the complex psychological factors that affect athletes’ behavior into account and there exists empirical evidence that indicates there is a significant relationship between self-efficacy and performance in sport. It was, however, advised to threat cautiously when trying to examine the exact effects self-efficacy has on performance. Consequently, researchers were encouraged to pursue further knowledge in this area.

The conclusion is present and clearly formulated.

297 words

Examiner’s comment:

This abstract contains a clear statement of the research question, a clear outline of how the investigation was undertaken and a clear conclusion so it scores the maximum 2 marks in criterion J.