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WRITING ABSTRACTSWRITING ABSTRACTS
Week 12
Definitions
• The word abstract comes from the Latin word abstractum,
which means a condensed form of a longer piece of
writing.
• There are two main types of abstract: the (1) Descriptive
and the (2) Informative abstract. The type of abstract you
write depends on your discipline area.
(1) Descriptive abstracts
• Descriptive abstracts are generally used for Humanities
and Social Science papers or Psychology essays. This
type of abstract is usually very short (50-100 words). Most
descriptive abstracts have certain key parts in common.
They are:
•  Background
•  Purpose
•  Particular interest/focus of paper
•  Overview of contents (not always included)
(2) Informative abstracts
• Informative abstracts are generally used for science,
engineering or psychology reports. You must get the
essence of what your report is about, usually in about 200
words. Most informative abstracts also have key parts in
common. Each of these parts might consist of 1-2
sentences. The parts include:
•  Background
•  Aim or purpose of research
•  Method used
•  Findings/results
•  Conclusion
Comparison between abstract
styles
(1) Sample of a Descriptive abstract
The opportunity to design and deliver short
programs on referencing and avoiding
plagiarism for transnational UniSA students
has confirmed the necessity of combating
both the ‘all-plagiarism-is-cheating’ reaction
and the ‘just-give-them-a-referencing-guide’
response. The notion of referencing is but the
tip of a particularly large and intricate iceberg.
Consequently, teaching referencing is not
adequate in educating students to avoid
plagiarism. In this paper, the transnational
teaching experience is used to highlight what
educating to avoid plagiarism entails.
Abstract (Stevenson, 2004)
key parts
background
purpose and aim
particular focus of paper
(2) Sample of an Informative abstract
Metalinguistic awareness contributes to effective writing at
university. Writing is a meaning-making process where
linguistic, cognitive, social and creative factors are at play.
University students need to master the skills of academic
writing not only for getting their degree but also for their future
career. It is also significant for lecturers to know who our
students are, how they think and how we can best assist them.
This study examines first-year undergraduate Australian and
international engineering students as writers of academic texts
in a multicultural setting at the University of Adelaide. A
questionnaire and interviews were used to collect data about
students’ level of metalinguistic awareness, their attitudes
toward, expectations for, assumptions about and motivation for
writing. The preliminary results of the research show that
students from different cultures initially have different concepts
about the academic genres and handle writing with different
learning and writing styles, but those with a more developed
metalanguage are more confident and motivated. The
conclusion can also be drawn that students’ level of motivation
for academic writing positively correlates with their opinion
about themselves as writers. Following an in-depth multi-
dimensional analysis of preliminary research results, some
recommendations for writing instruction will also be presented.
Abstract (Zoltan,
2005)
key parts
background
purpose and aim
methods
results
conclusions
How do I write an abstract?
• First re-read your paper/report for an overview. Then read
each section and condense the information in each
section to 1-2 sentences;
• Next read these sentences again to ensure that they
cover the major points in your paper;
• Ensure you have written something for each of the key
points outlined above for either the descriptive or
informative abstract;
• Check the word length and further reduce your words if
necessary by cutting out unnecessary words or rewriting
some of the sentences into a single, more succinct
sentence; and
• Edit for flow and expression.
LANGUAGE FOCUS:
VERB TENSES
Recommended Tense in Writing the
Abstract (1)
Purpose: Past/ present perfect tense
E.g. (i)The use of the dictionary among
university students was evaluated.
(ii)Analyses of the effects of biofuels have
been carried out.
Methodology: Past tense
E.g. Lecturers were observed for a 3-month
period.
Tense in Writing the Abstract (2)
Findings: Past tense
E.g. (i) Students preferred e-dictionaries.
(ii) Dictionaries were found to be useful in
assisting students.
iii) Biofuels led to the scarcity of food in
some countries.
(iv)The study was carried out over one
weekend.
(v) SPSS was used to analyse the results.
Tense in Writing the Abstract (3)
Conclusion and recommendation: Present tense/tentative
verbs/modals
E.g. (i) The outcome suggests that dictionaries
should be used in universities.
(ii) It is recommended that the use of
biofuels be delayed.
Example 3
• The ineffectiveness of ‘zakat’ management in Malaysia has been
widely debated. This issue is directly related to how ‘Pusat
Zakat’ administers ‘zakat’ throughout the country. Thus this
study attempts to examine the problems contributed to the
ineffectiveness of ‘zakat’ management which is believed to need
urgent reformation and improvements. This research was
conducted through library research by analyzing journals,
articles, annual reports and also through an interview with an
expert in this matter. The research indicated that internal
management and ‘zakat’ collections and distributions failures
were the main reasons of its incompetence. The paper
recommends that PPZ Malaysia should consistently observe
their performance on both sectors to ensure its success as a
body that functions as social justice. It is hoped that this paper
will initiate more research in making the PPZ an efficient,
effective and respectable organization.
Tense in reporting facts
• + + +
1) The land rush is accelerated by biofuels.
2) Brazil ranks fourth in carbon
emissions.
3) Biofuels do slightly reduce dependence on
imported oil.
Topic Verb
(present)
Fact
Tense in reporting facts (past)
+ +
1)Indonesia was hit by a powerful tsunami
in December 2004 (time
reference phrase).
2)Gold mining went dormant after the communist
takeover in 1949 (time
reference phrase)
Topic Fact
Verb
(past)
Tense in General Statements
+ +
•Little research has been done on the effects of the
Merapi ash on
Malaysians.
•Much still needs to be done to improve collection of
zakat in Malaysia.
Generality Verb
(present perfect)
Topic
Tense in Reporting Specific
Findings
• + + + + +
•
• Davis found that the practice of dictation
and showed brought alive
Rinvolucri reported an activity regarded
(1988) noted as retrograde and
observed semi-moribund.
(Adapted fr: Maley, A., Where do New Ideas Come From?, Readings on ELT Materials II, Longman, 2006
Author
Reporting
Verb
THAT Findings
Verbs in Tentative Findings
+ + +
E.g.
Zaleha (2010) proposed that dictionary work may
suggested be re-introduced in
hypothesized English language
classes.
Author Reporting
Verb
THAT
Tentative Findings
(modal + verb)
Active/Passive Voice
The lecturer used an e-dictionary in class.
An e-dictionary was used (by the lecturer) in
class.
Agent
Main Verb
(Active) Object
Agent
Main Verb
(Passive)
Subject
The Passive
• A lot of the passive voice is used in the research paper.
• For a list of active to passive voice guide, see
Understanding and Using English Grammar,
by Betty Schrampfer Azar, 1989,
Prentice Hall, pg. 120.
Tense in Reporting Procedures/
Experiments/ Findings:
Past tense
E.g. The study was carried out over one weekend.
SPSS was used to analyse the results.
Ordering Information (1)
• In presenting your findings, include two elements:
1.present most important findings
2.comment on the findings
USE:
● Alternating pattern: F + C; F2 + C2 ; F3 + C3
or
● Sequential pattern: F + F2 + F3 + C
Ordering Information (2)
• Use the correct tense.
• Present tense
E.g. comparison:
This is consistent with earlier findings.
• Modals
E.g. explanations:
These results can be explained by…
may
Ordering Information (3)
• Tentative verbs
E.g. appears
seems that secondhand smoking is more
It dangerous than smoking itself.
is likely
Or: These findings suggest that secondhand smoking
…
Sources
• Weissberg, R. and S. Buker. (1990). Writing Up
Research: Experimental Research Report Writing for
Students of English. Englewood Cliffs, nj: Prentice Hall.
Links:
• http://gpsa.unlv.edu/forms/How%20to%20write%20an
%20abstract.pdf
• http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/report
W/abstract.html
• http://writingcenter.gmu.edu/resources/handouts/abstract.
pdf

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Week 10 abstracts 2

  • 2. Definitions • The word abstract comes from the Latin word abstractum, which means a condensed form of a longer piece of writing. • There are two main types of abstract: the (1) Descriptive and the (2) Informative abstract. The type of abstract you write depends on your discipline area.
  • 3. (1) Descriptive abstracts • Descriptive abstracts are generally used for Humanities and Social Science papers or Psychology essays. This type of abstract is usually very short (50-100 words). Most descriptive abstracts have certain key parts in common. They are: •  Background •  Purpose •  Particular interest/focus of paper •  Overview of contents (not always included)
  • 4. (2) Informative abstracts • Informative abstracts are generally used for science, engineering or psychology reports. You must get the essence of what your report is about, usually in about 200 words. Most informative abstracts also have key parts in common. Each of these parts might consist of 1-2 sentences. The parts include: •  Background •  Aim or purpose of research •  Method used •  Findings/results •  Conclusion
  • 6. (1) Sample of a Descriptive abstract The opportunity to design and deliver short programs on referencing and avoiding plagiarism for transnational UniSA students has confirmed the necessity of combating both the ‘all-plagiarism-is-cheating’ reaction and the ‘just-give-them-a-referencing-guide’ response. The notion of referencing is but the tip of a particularly large and intricate iceberg. Consequently, teaching referencing is not adequate in educating students to avoid plagiarism. In this paper, the transnational teaching experience is used to highlight what educating to avoid plagiarism entails. Abstract (Stevenson, 2004) key parts background purpose and aim particular focus of paper
  • 7. (2) Sample of an Informative abstract Metalinguistic awareness contributes to effective writing at university. Writing is a meaning-making process where linguistic, cognitive, social and creative factors are at play. University students need to master the skills of academic writing not only for getting their degree but also for their future career. It is also significant for lecturers to know who our students are, how they think and how we can best assist them. This study examines first-year undergraduate Australian and international engineering students as writers of academic texts in a multicultural setting at the University of Adelaide. A questionnaire and interviews were used to collect data about students’ level of metalinguistic awareness, their attitudes toward, expectations for, assumptions about and motivation for writing. The preliminary results of the research show that students from different cultures initially have different concepts about the academic genres and handle writing with different learning and writing styles, but those with a more developed metalanguage are more confident and motivated. The conclusion can also be drawn that students’ level of motivation for academic writing positively correlates with their opinion about themselves as writers. Following an in-depth multi- dimensional analysis of preliminary research results, some recommendations for writing instruction will also be presented. Abstract (Zoltan, 2005) key parts background purpose and aim methods results conclusions
  • 8. How do I write an abstract? • First re-read your paper/report for an overview. Then read each section and condense the information in each section to 1-2 sentences; • Next read these sentences again to ensure that they cover the major points in your paper; • Ensure you have written something for each of the key points outlined above for either the descriptive or informative abstract; • Check the word length and further reduce your words if necessary by cutting out unnecessary words or rewriting some of the sentences into a single, more succinct sentence; and • Edit for flow and expression.
  • 10. Recommended Tense in Writing the Abstract (1) Purpose: Past/ present perfect tense E.g. (i)The use of the dictionary among university students was evaluated. (ii)Analyses of the effects of biofuels have been carried out. Methodology: Past tense E.g. Lecturers were observed for a 3-month period.
  • 11. Tense in Writing the Abstract (2) Findings: Past tense E.g. (i) Students preferred e-dictionaries. (ii) Dictionaries were found to be useful in assisting students. iii) Biofuels led to the scarcity of food in some countries. (iv)The study was carried out over one weekend. (v) SPSS was used to analyse the results.
  • 12. Tense in Writing the Abstract (3) Conclusion and recommendation: Present tense/tentative verbs/modals E.g. (i) The outcome suggests that dictionaries should be used in universities. (ii) It is recommended that the use of biofuels be delayed.
  • 13. Example 3 • The ineffectiveness of ‘zakat’ management in Malaysia has been widely debated. This issue is directly related to how ‘Pusat Zakat’ administers ‘zakat’ throughout the country. Thus this study attempts to examine the problems contributed to the ineffectiveness of ‘zakat’ management which is believed to need urgent reformation and improvements. This research was conducted through library research by analyzing journals, articles, annual reports and also through an interview with an expert in this matter. The research indicated that internal management and ‘zakat’ collections and distributions failures were the main reasons of its incompetence. The paper recommends that PPZ Malaysia should consistently observe their performance on both sectors to ensure its success as a body that functions as social justice. It is hoped that this paper will initiate more research in making the PPZ an efficient, effective and respectable organization.
  • 14. Tense in reporting facts • + + + 1) The land rush is accelerated by biofuels. 2) Brazil ranks fourth in carbon emissions. 3) Biofuels do slightly reduce dependence on imported oil. Topic Verb (present) Fact
  • 15. Tense in reporting facts (past) + + 1)Indonesia was hit by a powerful tsunami in December 2004 (time reference phrase). 2)Gold mining went dormant after the communist takeover in 1949 (time reference phrase) Topic Fact Verb (past)
  • 16. Tense in General Statements + + •Little research has been done on the effects of the Merapi ash on Malaysians. •Much still needs to be done to improve collection of zakat in Malaysia. Generality Verb (present perfect) Topic
  • 17. Tense in Reporting Specific Findings • + + + + + • • Davis found that the practice of dictation and showed brought alive Rinvolucri reported an activity regarded (1988) noted as retrograde and observed semi-moribund. (Adapted fr: Maley, A., Where do New Ideas Come From?, Readings on ELT Materials II, Longman, 2006 Author Reporting Verb THAT Findings
  • 18. Verbs in Tentative Findings + + + E.g. Zaleha (2010) proposed that dictionary work may suggested be re-introduced in hypothesized English language classes. Author Reporting Verb THAT Tentative Findings (modal + verb)
  • 19. Active/Passive Voice The lecturer used an e-dictionary in class. An e-dictionary was used (by the lecturer) in class. Agent Main Verb (Active) Object Agent Main Verb (Passive) Subject
  • 20. The Passive • A lot of the passive voice is used in the research paper. • For a list of active to passive voice guide, see Understanding and Using English Grammar, by Betty Schrampfer Azar, 1989, Prentice Hall, pg. 120.
  • 21. Tense in Reporting Procedures/ Experiments/ Findings: Past tense E.g. The study was carried out over one weekend. SPSS was used to analyse the results.
  • 22. Ordering Information (1) • In presenting your findings, include two elements: 1.present most important findings 2.comment on the findings USE: ● Alternating pattern: F + C; F2 + C2 ; F3 + C3 or ● Sequential pattern: F + F2 + F3 + C
  • 23. Ordering Information (2) • Use the correct tense. • Present tense E.g. comparison: This is consistent with earlier findings. • Modals E.g. explanations: These results can be explained by… may
  • 24. Ordering Information (3) • Tentative verbs E.g. appears seems that secondhand smoking is more It dangerous than smoking itself. is likely Or: These findings suggest that secondhand smoking …
  • 25. Sources • Weissberg, R. and S. Buker. (1990). Writing Up Research: Experimental Research Report Writing for Students of English. Englewood Cliffs, nj: Prentice Hall. Links: • http://gpsa.unlv.edu/forms/How%20to%20write%20an %20abstract.pdf • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/report W/abstract.html • http://writingcenter.gmu.edu/resources/handouts/abstract. pdf