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Abstract

An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a manuscript, acting as the point-of-entry for any given scientific paper or patent application. Abstraction and indexing services are available for a number of academic disciplines, aimed at compiling a body of literature for that particular subject. The primary purpose of an abstract is to guide readers. An abstract is a summary of a body of information in a paragraph— 100-350 words for a descriptive abstract, 100-250 words an informative abstract. An abstract expresses the main claim and argument of a paper. In most disciplines, it never includes bibliographic citations. An abstract concisely highlights or reviews the major points covered along with the content and scope of the writing. An abstract can also be a useful tool for writers to check that they have a clear grasp of their thesis and argument. If the writer can state the thesis and argument clearly in a few sentences—and in such a way that someone who doesn't know the subject will still be able to understand the main idea—then the writer knows she has a good grasp of the ideas she is trying to express. An abstract says everything of central importance in a way that gives the reader a clear overview of what is contained in the essay.

Purpose and limitations
Academic literature uses the abstract to succinctly communicate complex research. An abstract may act as a stand-alone entity instead of a full paper. As such, an abstract is used by many organizations as the basis for selecting research that is proposed for presentation in the form of a poster, platform/oral presentation or workshop presentation at an academic conference. Most literature database search engines index only abstracts rather than providing the entire text of the paper. Full texts of scientific papers must often be purchased because of copyright and/or publisher fees and therefore the abstract is a significant selling point for the reprint or electronic form of the full text. An abstract allows one to sift through copious amounts of papers for ones in which the researcher can have more confidence that they will be relevant to his research. Once papers are chosen based on the

an abstract is a short summary placed prior to the introduction.). statement of the problem(s)/research issue(s) addressed). It is commonly surmised that one must not base reference citations on the abstract alone. often set apart from the body of the text. questionnaires. especially if each chapter has a different author Library reference tools. any one of the following: Background. The results/findings of the research. sometimes with different line justification (as a block or pull quote) from the rest of the article. Typical length ranges from 100 to 500 words. but very rarely more than a page. however. etc.e. Results. Abstract length varies by discipline and publisher requirements. Conclusions).g. In journal articles. they are typically sectioned logically as an overview of what appears in the paper (e. case studies. Objectives. research papers. such as Biological Abstracts For presentations at scientific meetings (often the "published abstract" is the only written record of such a presentation) Dissertations. Structure An academic abstract typically outlines four elements germane to the completed work: • • • • The research focus (i.abstract. some papers in the sciences and social sciences require abstracts . Methods. published patent applications and patents. When are abstracts used? • • • • • Ordinarily part of a research article in a journal For chapters in a book. The research methods used (experimental research. Introduction. and The main conclusions and recommendations It may also contain brief references. they must be read carefully to be evaluated for relevance. but the entire merits of a paper. An abstract may or may not have the section title of "abstract" explicitly listed as an antecedent to content.

Unlike reading an informative abstract. Are always very short. For all these reasons. or recommendations Descriptive Abstracts are very short—usually a brief one.or twosentence paragraph (sometimes appear on the title page of a journal article). or recommendations.) Instead. reading a descriptive abstract cannot substitute for reading the document because it does not capture the content of the piece.Problem: Based on an exhaustive review of currently available products. who must then read the report.Revision: This report provides conclusions and recommendations on the grammar-checking software that is currently available. In many ways. Nor does a descriptive abstract fulfill the other main goals of abstracts as well as informative abstracts do. Check with your instructor or the editor of the journal to which you are submitting a paper for details on the appropriate type of abstract for your audience. conclusions. or paper Do not provide results. (This is the style of summarizing you find in the informative abstract. this report concludes that none of the available grammar-checking software products provides any useful function to writers. and scope of the report. the descriptive abstract says something like this-. descriptive abstracts are less and less common. conclusions. . The descriptive abstract does not say something like this-. article. usually under 100 words.Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract outlines the topics covered in a piece of writing so the reader can decide whether to read the entire document. or paper to find out the author's results. or paper contains Include the purpose. Introduce the subject to readers. the descriptive abstract is like a table of contents in paragraph form. Descriptive Abstracts • • • • • Tell readers what information the report. article. article. methods.