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Abstract Writing Guidelines

Abstract is a mini-version of the report. It should give a brief summary of the main idea of the project. In other words, it is a summary of the "information" the report contains. A good abstract is concise, readable, and quantitative. Purpose: To give readers a quick identification of the basic content of the thesis. It should "stand on its own" and be a self-contained document. There should be no need to look elsewhere in the report for an understanding of what is said in the abstract. Length: The abstract should be very concise. The length should be approximately one paragraph, two at the most, or approximately from 200 to 400 words. This means you will need to economize your use of words and tie ideas together. Use the most precise and relevant words to best express the content of the abstract. Content: The abstract can be written as one large paragraph, or for easy reading you can use paragraphs for each section of the content. Paragraph 1 should contain your objectives and scope, Paragraph 2 a description of the methods used, Paragraph 3 a summary of the results, and Paragraph 4 a statement of the main conclusions. Consider answering these questions to direct the content of the abstract: 1. What did you do? 2. Why did you do it? Which basic question were you trying to answer? 3. How did you do it? State methods. 4. What did you learn? State major results. 5. Why does it matter, what is the significance of your work? Identify one significant implication.

Other considerations: The abstract is usually written in the past tense because the project is already done. You must use third person (passive) in the abstract. DO NOT include abbreviations or acronyms in your abstract if you can help it, but if you must, don't use them without explaining them first. For example, the first time you use the abbreviation you must write out the full form and put the abbreviation in brackets. e.g. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)" From then on you may use "MRI" for the duration of the abstract. DO NOT use headings for your abstract paragraphs. (e.g. Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusions) Keep your abstract clear and simple - you are trying to show the key points of your project to attract interest. Always check your grammar, spelling, and formatting. Please use either British English spelling conventions or American English spelling conventions throughout your abstract, but not both.

Remember: The abstract is the first thing a reader reads. It is an indication of the quality of your report for the reader. Impressions drawn from the reading of the abstract greatly impact the evaluation of your project.