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What is an Abstract?

How to Write an Abstract
Adapted from Phil Koopman http://urc.ucdavis.edu http://urc.ucdavis.edu http://www.ce.gatech.edu http://college.ucla.edu/urc-care/spdhowabstract.pdf http://college.ucla.edu/urcPresented by the Effective Writing Program, UWO

A one-paragraph (150 to 200 word) document oneA condensed version of the paper it proceeds
A complete but concise statement of the major elements of your research project, including the purpose, methods, and findings

An opportunity to sell your work
Tries to get potential readers interested

Why Write an Abstract?
Entice potential readers to your paper Keep profs up to date on your project status For conferences:
Enables organizers to decide if your project fits the conference criteria Helps conference audience (faculty, administrators, peers, etc.) decide whether or not to attend your panel

How Abstracts Appeal to a Broad Audience
Find a Balance
comprehensible to laypeople

Tips Limit use of technical language. If you do use technical language:
explain it always use the full term in first reference (then use acronym)

show your knowledge

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etc.Steps to Writing an Abstract 1. Write a draft Get feedback Revise based on feedback • Plan on several revisions with time away from the draft Edit and Proofread Parts of an Abstract Title (specific and detailed) Motivation Problem Statement/Research Question Approach Results Conclusions (actual or hypothesized) Background (optional) (optional) Scope (optional) (optional) Relevance of the conclusions (optional) (optional) Call for future study (optional) (optional) Section Considerations Be brief Abstract must do as much work as a multi-page paper it proceeds Each section is usually one sentence (although there is room for creativity) Sections may be merged 2 . Assess your writing task: • • • • deadline length requirement (150-200 words.) Parts of an Abstract 2. 4. 3. students. 250 is maximum) (150purpose (to clearly communicate your research) audience (faculty. 5.

but usually this only works if most readers already understand the the problem’s importance problem’ Parts of an Abstract: Problem Statement The example combines motivation with the problem statement. motivation.Parts of an Abstract: Motivation Why do we care about the problem and results? If the problem is not obviously interesting. it might be better to put motivation first Show how problem is widely recognized Importance of your work The difficulty of the area Impact it might have if successful Parts of an Abstract: Problem Statement Answer the following: What problem are you trying to solve? What is the scope of your work? May be appropriate to put the problem statement before the motivation. The problem statement is not stated explicitly. but can be found in the second sentence Parts of an Abstract: Approach Answer the following: How did you go about solving or making progress on the problem? 3 .

Parts of an Abstract: Results Briefly explain the facts of the outcome Avoid vague words Eg. Parts of an Abstract: Optional Details Scope defines the experiment’s limits or parameters Relevance of the conclusions describes the significance of the research Call for future study gives context to the article 4 . very. Parts of an Abstract: Conclusion Give the implications of your answer May be actual or hypothesized Indicate if results are general or case specific Parts of an Abstract: Background Background information (optional) often explains the motivation or engineering context of the experiment. small. significant Eg.

Included is." with little variation between populations. New York. Utah. Alberta. Washington. Thus. Pennsylvania. Unlike many other songbirds whose songs vary geographically.Avoid Including Too Much Introductory Material Problems to Avoid The Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a species of North American songbird inhabiting the United States and Canada.elsewhere. Ontario. a predominant concept is postcultural narrativity. Missouri.. assuming Foucauldian power relations are valid. previous studies done on chickadee populations from Massachusetts. an island offshore of Massachusetts.org/pomo 5 . Courtesy of the Postmodernism Generator http://www. "fee-bee-ee. British Columbia. and California have shown that males sing a typical two tone song. To ascertain how they tracked time for their civilization. demonstrates singing patterns different from the usual two note songs… Avoid Jargon In the works of Stone. the subject is interpolated into a constructivism that includes consciousness as a paradox.. Wisconsin. Avoid Incomplete Sentences To determine and describe the ancient Mayan calendar system. The premise of subdeconstructive Marxism suggests the significance of the writer is dialectic form. Researchers have also shown that an isolated population from Martha's Vineyard.

4. well organized. Complete—covers project’s major parts Concise—contains no wordiness or unnecessary information Clear—readable.Avoid Lack of Context We have used infrared reflectance to study the effects of melt recrystallization on the structure of thin polymer films. 3. or phrasing Acknowledge any major restrictions or limitations Okay to use use words such as: might. Other Considerations Other Considerations Avoid vague statements. 2. We hypothesized that slowly melting and then resolidifying the thin polymer films will lead to higher levels of crystallinity and orientational order in very thin polymer films. and not too jargon-laden Cohesive—smooth flow between parts 6 . seem Editing Be sure the abstract meets the four Cs: 1. references. could. may.

Both experiments showed that for identical aeration rates. Patch permeability was also tested using Trichoderma harzianum. and H2O. Patch permeability to water vapor was approximately the same. By knowing the gas exchanges rates within the growth substrate and across the filter patch on cultivation bags. This study was performed in an effort to develop a simple. regardless of aeration rate or autoclaving time. patch permeability varied considerably. Choosing Keywords Think of six search phrases and keywords that people looking for your work might use. Another set of experiments was conducted to measure the rate of water exchange across the patches. Patch permeability did not seem to be affected by autoclaving time.html Samples of Abstracts 7 . Hint: try to include the words and phrases in your abstract and/or title so your article will turn up in a search result listing Sample Abstract Estimating Gas Transfer Rates in Bag Cultivation of Shiitake Mushrooms Previous studies have shown that growth rate and fruiting quality of Letinula edodes may be affected by levels of O2. Air was supplied to cultivation bags continuously at various constant airflow rates.edu/howtowriteanabstract.” which have two purposes: To facilitate keyword index searches To assign papers to review committees or editors (which can be extremely important to your fate).ucdavis.Keywords Some publications request “keywords. From: http://urc. growth and quality of shiitake mushrooms may be maximized. CO2. non-invasive method for measuring the rate of gas exchange within the substrate and across the filter patch. The mushroom growth substrate consisted of sawdust supplemented with rice bran and millet at an initial moisture content of 65%.

stereotypical characterizations of women. responsibility. including attitudes about women's roles. but Las Vegas is the city of neon. Al-Sanad. My area of research is the rise and fall of neon signs as an architectural presence.html From: http://urc. Women Engineers in Kuwait: Perception of Gender Bias Authors: P.edu 8 . K. and library research.N Larkin Abstract: The greatest obstacle to the development of policies for the curtailment of gender bias is lack of information on the scope and effects of the problem. and vacation.A. The object of my research is to examine (1) the evolution of the traditional female characters Rowling draws from. and A. From: http://urc. I have discovered ways in which female characters have evolved over time to suit the ideas of society in and for which they were written. Koushi.ce. Through further research. Koushi. This study represent an attempt to quantify attitudes toward gender bias among professional women engineers working the Kuwait. interviews. Kuwait has witnessed an enormous growth rate in the participation of women in higher education. C) The one job-related factor in which significant gender bias was found to be in operation was that of promotion to upper management positions. and vacation. to the Golden Age of the 1970s when signs became separate structures independent of the casinos they were advertising. Thus far. Kuwait has witnessed an enormous growth rate in the participation of women in higher education. Begins with a succinct statement of problem and motivation Overall results are clearly presented with a relevant conclusion at the end Adapted from: http://www.N Larkin Abstract: The greatest obstacle to the development of policies for the curtailment of gender bias is lack of information on the scope and effects of the problem. responsibility. now.gatech. and commercial success by reverting to traditional.ucdavis.html Women Engineers in Kuwait: Perception of Gender Bias Authors: P. a clear majority (68%) of professional Kuwait women engineers surveyed expressed a feeling of equality with or even superiority to their male counterparts.edu Adapted from: http://www. Through a close analysis of popular children's literature. with the rise of the mega-resort in Las Vegas. In this criterion. the most complex era of signage. I would argue that in the past fifteen years. Al-Sanad. benefits.A. a casino's position on the Strip and its architectural style influence the type of sign it has in this. b) With respect to the job-related factors of salary scale.gatech. I have traced neon signs from their earliest days as roadside signs. benefits. the women engineers surveyed felt “less than equal” to their male colleagues.Another Sample There's Something About Harry: Representation of Females in J. However.ucdavis. but also with the glittering neon signs that cover the city. Even though late 20th – early 21st-century society encourages female empowerment and gender equality (as demonstrated in recent movements in children's literature which have attempted to construct bolder. popular. to their incorporation into buildings. Using a mixture of field work. and A. I have traced the origin of many of Rowling's female characters and have done preliminary research into the psychology of children's reading habits. H. The major findings that emerged were: a) Since 1970. Rowling has met critical. The major findings that emerged were: a) Since 1970. C) The one job-related factor in which significant gender bias was found to be in operation was that of promotion to upper management positions.A. more contemporary female figures.A. the reality is more complicated than just saying "casino architecture has risen at the expense of neon signs": up and down the Strip. I hypothesize that. People associate Las Vegas not only with gambling. a clear majority (68%) of professional Kuwait women engineers surveyed expressed a feeling of equality with or even superiority to their male counterparts.ce. professional treatment. New York. signs are falling in importance. In this criterion. I hope to discover how authors of children's literature can create modern female characters that appeal to the young reader with equal success as traditional representations. (2) the ways in which Rowling's use of female archetypes in her works acts as a retrograding agent. and (3) the reasons why traditional representations of women continue to appeal to the general audience. This study represent an attempt to quantify attitudes toward gender bias among professional women engineers working the Kuwait. such as the "Girl Power" and "Feminist Fairy Tale" movements of the late 1990s). many buildings still have large signs in front to advertise to the drivers and pedestrians who cannot see the buildings. H. the women engineers surveyed felt “less than equal” to their male colleagues. Now the architecture of the casinos themselves are the primary advertisements for resorts like the Venetian and New York.edu/howtowriteanabstract.edu/howtowriteanabstract. b) With respect to the job-related factors of salary scale. The "Harry Potter" series—like all children's literature—reflects the ideologies of the society of its time. Rowling's "Harry Potter" Series Another Sample A Bit Bright: The Rise and Fall of Neon Signs in Las Vegas Paris may be the city of light. professional treatment.

Which. Similar things are to. We comment specifically on what students thought were the most important aspects of their experience in engineering capstone design and provide quantitative insight into what parts of the framework are most important. We comment specifically on what students thought were the most important aspects of their experience in engineering capstone design and provide quantitative insight into what parts of the framework are most important. We explain how student preparation.gatech. use which to add additional information. compared with one another.Title: Elementals in Optimal Experience Title: Elementals in Optimal Experience Abstract: This paper presents and assesses a framework for an engineering capstone design program. the meaning of the sentence. project selection.ce. and instructor mentorship are the three key elements that must be addressed before the capstone experience is ready for the students. Practicing grammar. We explain how student preparation.edu Abstract: This paper presents and assesses a framework for an engineering capstone design program. We next describe a way to administer and execute the capstone design experience including design workshops and lead engineers. and does not include results Written in 1st person Adapted from: http://www. We describe the importance in assessing the capstone design experience and report recent assessment results of our framework. Elements of Style Common language problems That vs. which most people find boring. We next describe a way to administer and execute the capstone design experience including design workshops and lead engineers. We describe the importance in assessing the capstone design experience and report recent assessment results of our framework. Compared to. Adapted from: http://www. let us compare it to conflicting results. is actually one of the few things that actually makes writing more clear and concise. 9 . Wordy Begins well with concise objectives Only describes paper’s organization. project selection. and therefore more interesting.ce.edu Elements of Style Common language problems Compared with vs.gatech. Use that to add phrases essential to Which. different things are compared to one another Data is plural Instead of comparing the data with research that reaches the same conclusions. and instructor mentorship are the three key elements that must be addressed before the capstone experience is ready for the students.

edu. html.pdf. How to Write and Abstract. 1/30/06 Examples of Abstracts: Good. How to Write an Abstract for the Conference on 2.gatech. http://urc.pdf.ucla. http://college. Koopman.edu~koopman/essays/abstract.ucla.edu.ece. 1.ucdavis. Writing an Abstract.ce.edu.edu. http://college.ce. 3. http://www. http://www.edu/urccare/spdhowabstract. Undergrad Research. and Ugly.cmu.ece.edu~koopman/essays/abstract. http://www. 1/26/06 html.gatech.ucdavis.cmu. http://urc. 1/30/06 http://www.edu/urc4. Bad. Next Week: Writing a Literature Review 10 .Bibliography Adapted from: Phil Koopman. 1/30/06 care/spdhowabstract.