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ABSTRACT

WRITING

OLENA MELNYK
IVANO-FRANKIVSK
NATIONAL TECHNICAL
UNIVERSITY OF OIL AND GAS
Outline
Definition, Function and Purpose of an
Abstract

Qualities, Types and Components of an


Abstract

Writing an Abstract: Dos and Don`ts, Style


and Voice

Examples of a Mediocre Abstract and a Good


Abstract

Analyzing of Humanities and Science


Abstracts
Definition
Abstracts: Definition

An abstract is a self-contained
outline/brief summary of:
a paper,
a larger document,
a study,
a presentation.
When do people write abstracts?
when submitting articles to
journals, especially online journals
when applying for research grants
when writing a book proposal
when completing the Ph.D.
dissertation or M.A. thesis
when writing a proposal for a
conference paper
when writing a proposal for a book
chapter
Purpose
Purpose

Help reader decide whether


to read the text or not

Summarize the findings of


the text

Help scholars find your


article
Qualities
QUANTITATIVE
SUFFICIENT AND
INFORMATION QUALITATIVE
INFORMATION

SHORT ABSTRACT
EXACT

first impression
of the
document

UNDERSTANDA
BLE SELF-CONTAINED
Qualities
Qualities of an Abstract

One or more well-developed


paragraphs
Short (50-300 words; 3-5%)
Stands alone
Includes all the major elements
of the larger text
(in order)
No new information
Key Elements
Reason for writing:
What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be
interested in the larger work?
Problem:
What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope
of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
Methodology:
An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or
approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may
describe the types of evidence used in the research.
Results:
Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data
that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may
discuss the findings in a more general way.
Implications:
What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings
of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on
the topic?
Types of Abstract
Descriptive
Used for humanities and social science papers or psychology
essays.

Describes the major points of the project to a reader.

50-100 words

Informative
Used for sciences engineering or psychology reports.

Informs the audience of all essential points of the paper.

About 200 words


Structure
Structure of an Abstract
Descriptive
Topic (background)

Research Question (purpose)

Particular interest/ focus of paper

Overview of contents

Informative
Topic (background)
Research Question (aim or purpose of research)

Methods used

Results/findings
Conclusion
Writing anAbstract
Writing an Abstract
Read over your paper and identify
the key points for each section
Re-read each section and shrink
the information in each down to 1-
2 sentences
Ensure you have written one to two
sentences for each of the key
points outlined above
Connect the ideas with appropriate
transitions
Writing anAbstract
Writing an Abstract
Add and remove text as needed
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
Revise, and edit for flow and
expression
Proofread
What makes a good abstract?
Uses only one well-developed abstract
that is coherent and concise, and is able
to stand alone as a unit of information
Covers all the essential academic
elements of the full-length paper
Contains no information not included in
the paper
Usually does not include any referencing
In publications such as journals, it is
found at the beginning of the text, but in
academic assignments it is placed on a
separate preliminary page.
DOs
DOs:

Avoid repeating information from the


title
Be specific
If many results, only present the
most important
Mention juts the major implications
Relate back to your purpose and
research
question
Good
GoodAbstract:
Abstracts: Writing Style
Writing Style
Use a clear and concise writing style
Remove or shorten any unnecessary words or
phrases
Write in plain English understandable to a wider
audience, as well as your discipline-specific audience
Use the language of the original paper, often in a
more simplified form for the general reader
Use key words from the document.
Introduce specific terminology (e.g. definitions,
scientific and chemical names)
If necessary, define unfamiliar terms, introduce
acronyms
E.g. ...rapid eye movement (REM).
Avoid trade names, acronyms, abbreviations,
symbols, and jargon
Voice
Voice
Modern scientific style prefers the active voice.
E.g. Gasoline was sweetened by iron bauxites in
air.
Iron bauxites sweetened gasoline in air.
Abstracts are often an exception, but only if the
passive voice reduces the total number of letters and
words. Use passive structures in order to report on
findings, focusing on the issues for the more general
reader.
E.g. The level of sweetening was measured by...
Avoid using I or we, but
choose active verbs instead of passive when possible .
E.g. The study tested rather than It was tested
by the study.
Mediocre Abstracts
Mediocre Abstracts
Mediocre abstracts read like a table of
contents in a sentence form
Example:
The behavior of editors is
discussed. What should be covered
by an abstract is considered. The
importance of the abstract is
described. Dictionary definitions of
abstract are quoted. At the
conclusion a revised abstract is
presented.
Mediocre Abstracts
Mediocre Abstracts
An improved example:

The abstract is of utmost


importance, for it is read by 10 to
500 times more people than hear the
presentation or read the entire
article. It should not be a mere recital
of the subjects covered, replete with
such expressions as is discussed
and is described. It should be a
condensation and concentration of
the essential qualities of the Paper.
Example
Example 11
Here is an abstract from a published paper. It is 220 words long. )

Major problems of the arid region are transportation of agricultural products and

losses due to spoilage of the products, especially in summer. This work presents the performance

of a solar drying system consisting of an air heater and a dryer chamber connected to a

greenhouse. The drying system is designed to dry a variety of agricultural products. The effect of

air mass flow rate on the drying process is studied. Composite pebbles, which are constructed

from cement and sand, are used to store energy for night operation. The pebbles are placed at

the bottom of the drying chamber and are charged during the drying process itself. A separate

test is done using a simulator, a packed bed storage unit, to find the thermal characteristics of

the pebbles during charging and discharging modes with time. Accordingly, the packed bed is

analyzed using a heat transfer model with finite difference technique described before and

during the charging and discharging processes. Graphs are presented that depict the thermal

characteristics and performance of the pebble beds and the drying patterns of different

agricultural products. The results show that the amount of energy stored in the pebbles depends

on the air mass flow rate, the inlet air temperature, and the properties of the storage materials.

The composite pebbles can be used efficiently as storing media.

Helwa, N. H. and Abdel Rehim, Z. S. (1997). Experimental Study of the Performance of Solar Dryers
with Pebble Beds. Energy Sources, 19, 579-591.
Example
Example 22
(Here is an abstract from a published paper. It is 162 words long. )

The long-term performance of various systems was determined


and the economic aspects of solar hot water production were
investigated in this work. The effect of the collector inclination angle,
collector area and storage volume was examined for all systems, and
various climatic conditions and their payback period was calculated. It
was found that the collector inclination angle does not have a
significant effect on system performance. Large collector areas have a
diminishing effect on the systems overall efficiency. The increase in
storage volume has a detrimental effect for small daily load volumes,
but a beneficial one when there is a large daily consumption. Solar
energy was found to be truly competitive when the conventional fuel
being substituted is electricity, and it should not replace diesel oil on
pure economic grounds. Large daily load volumes and large collector
areas are in general associated with shorter payback periods. Overall,
the systems are oversized and are economically suitable for large daily
hot water load volumes.
Haralambopoulos, D., Paparsenost, G. F., and Kovras, H. (1997) Assessing the Economic Aspects of Solar Hot Water Production in Greece.
Renewable Energy, 11, 153-167.
DON`Ts
Donts
Do not commence with "this paper, "this
report" or similar. It is better to write about the
research than about the paper. Avoid use of "in this
paper, what other paper would you be talking about
here?

Do not contain references

Do not use sentences that end in "is


described", "is reported", "is analyzed" or
similar.

Do not begin sentences with "it is suggested


that "it is believed that", "it is felt that"or
similar. In every case, the four words can be omitted
without damaging the essential message.

Do not repeat or rephrase the title.


DON`Ts
Do not enumerate a list of topics covered;
instead, convey the essential information found in
your paper.

Do not give equations and math. Exceptions:


Your paper proposes E = m c 2.

Do not refer in the abstract to information


that is not in the document.

If possible, do not use trade names, acronyms,


abbreviations, or symbols. You would need to
explain them, and that takes too much room.

The abstract should be about the research,


not about the act of
writing.
Clichs
Introductory sentences
This study (dissertation, research)
aims to illuminate
es
examines the role of...
explores why...
investigates the effects of...
assesses the impact of...on...
developed and tested the idea that...
Leading with research questions
This study (dissertation, research)...
is motivated by two research questions: (1) [Insert research question one] ?(2) [Insert research
question two]? To examine these questions, the study
"[Insert a research question]?" is a fundamental question in [the name of your area of interest ].
Leading with a dissertation aim or goals
This study (dissertation, research)...
has three goals: (1) [insert goal one], (2) [insert goal two], and (3) [insert goal three].
Significance of the study
This study advances our understanding of...
Research strategy
Using comparative case analysis, this research explored the role of...

Major findings
The findings from the research...
illustrate how...
show that the impact of [insert text] on [insert text] is more complex than previously
thought/assumed.
Abstracting One`s Own Writing
There are some tricks that you could use to condense a piece of writing that
you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word
statement.
Reverse outlining:
Write down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of
paper.
Try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single
sentence.
For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods,
Results, and Discussion grouped around a central idea.
Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and
then distill these ideas into one statement.
Cut and paste:
To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read
through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key
passages.
A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis
statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections.
Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising
them into a unified paragraph.
Abstracting Someone Else`s Writing
You cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. There are a few
techniques that will help you determine what a prospective reader would want to know
about the work.

Identify key terms:


Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose,
scope, and methods of the work.
Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or
Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the
paper.
Be sure to incorporate the key terms.
Highlight key phrases and sentences:
Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or
phrases that appear to be central to the work.
Rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.
Dont look back:
After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work
without referring to it.
In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you
will remember what the main point of the work was.
Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being
abstracted.
Revise,
Revise, Revise, Revise
revise, revise
No matter what type of abstract you are
writing, or whether you are abstracting your
own work or someone elses, the most
important step in writing an abstract is to
revise early and often. When revising:
Delete all extraneous words and incorporate
meaningful and powerful words.
The idea is to be as clear and complete as
possible in the shortest possible amount of
space.
The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can
help you keep track of how long your abstract
is and help you hit your target length.
Practice 1: Humanities Abstract
3
This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements
through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement
from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining
this historically important case, I clarify the process by which
movements transform social structures and the constraints movements
face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the
expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the
desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight
academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use
two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-
level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from
archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This
dissertation challenges the argument that movements are
inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or
economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically
these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the
civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge
independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and
injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions,
movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.
Kenneth Tait Andrews, Freedom is a constant struggle: The dynamics and consequences of the
Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984 Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-
A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998
Practice 1: Analyzing
Now lets break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his
entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.
What the dissertation does
This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of
the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By
examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform
social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.
How the dissertation does it
The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in
black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight
academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research
strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.
What materials are used
Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.
Conclusion
This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view
federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional
change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage
brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge
independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling
change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in
Mississippi.
Keywords
social movements, Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi, voting rights, desegregation
Practice 2: Science Abstract
4
The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving
considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the
United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the
wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will
expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The
characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an
algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat
spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is
included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous
calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A
module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in
the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order
convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular,
we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose
radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into
gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the
characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity
in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region
surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black
hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.
Luis Lehner, Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998
Practice 2: Analyzing
This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks
slightly different questions.
Why do this study
The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with
the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical
modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite
the search and analysis of the detected signals.
What the study does
The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of
evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification
techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the
unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to
calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.
Results
This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear
spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose
radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation
in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to
the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding
the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently
unlimited stability.
Keywords
gravitational radiation (GR), spacetimes, black holes
Resources
http
://www.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays
/abstract.html

http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/
advice/specific-types-of-writing/
abstract
http
://pioneer.netserv.chula.ac.th/~pka
nchan/html/eap2.htm
http://infolab.stanford.edu/~widom/p
Thank you
for your
attention!