Writing an Abstract

Writing an Abstract

Writing an Abstract Based on slides prepared by Dr. Martin Leach, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose University What is an abstract? An abstract is a brief summary of a larger work It highlights the major points covered It concisely describes the content and scope of the work

This helps the reader quickly determine the purpose of the work General information: 100-350 words Accompanies research papers/articles Used for presentations at conferences Structure of a Research Article

Abstract Introduction Methods Results Discussion It comes first, but it is typically written last!

Why write an abstract? Provides an overview of your work Highlights and/or sells your work Convinces a reader to obtain your article or to continue reading For a talk, helps organizers to group it with similar papers A good abstract should Motivate (why you did it)

State the problem (what you did) Describe the methods used (how you did it) Highlight the results (what you found) Discuss implications (what it means) Activity For the sample abstracts provided, answer the following questions: Why did the authors address the issue? What is the issue?

How did the authors proceed? What is their result? What does their result imply? Informational vs. Descriptive Abstracts Informational abstracts Summarize the major sections of a report Highlight essential points and findings Allow the reader to decide whether they want to read the

report Descriptive abstracts Our disciplines typically use informational abstracts. Contain less detail Do not summarize results and conclusions Introduce the subject to readers who must read the report

to learn the results Six sentence idea A simple prescription for writing an informational abstract: Introduce the topic State the problem Summarize whats missing in current literature Explain your idea/approach Explain your methods

Discuss the key impact of your work Activity For the sample paper provided Formulate the parts of an abstract Try to write an abstract

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