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How to Do an Abstract


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  • 1. Peter Mangiaracina From an article By Marco Bomfoco
  • 2.
    • An academic abstract is a short restatement of all essential points of a research paper. The abstract is one single paragraph and is subject to specific word limits, typically under 300 words.
  • 3.
      • Introduction
      • Methods
      • Results
      • Conclusion
    • It mirrors the structure of the paper
    • It is an independent document
  • 4.
    • Descriptive
      • demonstrates the paper’s organization without providing results or conclusions
    • Informative
      • gives the principal argument and summarizes the principal data, providing the reader with an overview of the objectives, methods, results and conclusions of the study
  • 5.
    • Motivation and purpose : main subject or research question and review of the relevant literature.
    • Specifics : problem statement, approach, objectives, hypothesis, research methodology (method(s) adopted or search strategies).
    • Results : main findings (proposed solutions to the problem) and discussion.
    • Conclusions and implications/outcomes : what the results mean and further points
  • 6.
    • The problem addressed and some background information.
    • The solution or insight proposed (newly observed facts).
    • An example that shows how it works.
    • An evaluation: a comparison with existing answers/techniques.
  • 7.
    • Then, an abstract should provide answers for the following questions:
    • What and why .
    • What you found .
    • How you did it
  • 8.
    • This paper reports on a method for…
    • The paper explores the notions of…
    • The purpose of our research is to consider how…
    • The objective of this study is to determine...
  • 9.
    • Do write a single paragraph. Do meet the specific word length. Do answer the questions: what, why, and how. Do use familiar language to the reader. Do use a few keywords. Do write short sentences. Do improve transitions between the sentences.
  • 10.
    • Do use active voice. Do use third person singular. Do begin with a clear introductory statement written in the present tense. Do use past tense in the main body. Do write a concluding statement in the present tense: just tells what the results mean (e.g. "These results suggest..." ). Do fix grammar. Do use headings, subheadings and tables as a guide for writing. Do print and reread the abstract.
  • 11.
    • Don't cite the sections of the paper. Don’t include references to the literature and to figures and tables. Don’t use abbreviations. Don’t add new information. Don't add superfluous information. Don’t add opinions. Don’t repeat information. Don’t repeat the article title.