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ABSTRACT

An abstract is a brief written statement of the main points or facts in a longer speech, report etc.
An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words
found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.

Tips for Writing the Abstract
Because an abstract is a description of an entire document, you can write an abstract only for a document
that is complete. If you are writing an abstract as part of a class paper, you need to finish your paper
before you start working on your abstract.
Keep in mind the ABCs of a good abstract:
Accuracya good abstract includes only information included in the original document
Brevitya good abstract gets straight to the point, contains precise language, and does not
include superfluous adjectives
Claritya good abstract does not contain jargon or colloquialisms and always explains any
acronyms
Several writing guidelines can make writing a good abstract easier:
Do not refer to the author (e.g., Dr. Seuss argues)
Do not refer to what type of document you are abstracting (e.g., This book describes)
Use complete sentences
Use active verbs whenever possible
Use familiar terminology whenever you can (and always explain terms that may be unfamiliar to the average
reader)



How to write an abstract?

The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research
paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all
abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can
decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process
elements in mind:
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 Abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a
consequence they have different components and styles. If you are unsure which type of abstract you
should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the
journal where you are submitting your article.
Descriptive abstracts
A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about
the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found
in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive
abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than
a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short100 words or less.
Informative abstracts
The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more
than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer
presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete
article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive
abstract (purpose, methods, and scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and
the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract
is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much
less.

Other Considerations
An abstract must be a fully self-contained, capsule description of the paper. It can't assume (or attempt to
provoke) the reader into flipping through looking for an explanation of what is meant by some vague
statement. It must make sense all by itself. Some points to consider include:
Meet the word count limitation. If your abstract runs too long, either it will be rejected or someone
will take a chainsaw to it to get it down to size. Your purposes will be better served by doing the
difficult task of cutting yourself, rather than leaving it to someone else who might be more
interested in meeting size restrictions than in representing your efforts in the best possible
manner. An abstract word limit of 150 to 200 words is common.
Any major restrictions or limitations on the results should be stated, if only by using "weasel-
words" such as "might", "could", "may", and "seem".
Think of a half-dozen search phrases and keywords that people looking for your work might use.
Be sure that those exact phrases appear in your abstract, so that they will turn up at the top of a
search result listing.
Usually the context of a paper is set by the publication it appears in (for example, IEEE
Computer magazine's articles are generally about computer technology). But, if your paper
appears in a somewhat un-traditional venue, be sure to include in the problem statement the
domain or topic area that it is really applicable to.
Some publications request "keywords". These have two purposes. They are used to facilitate
keyword index searches, which are greatly reduced in importance now that on-line abstract text
searching is commonly used. However, they are also used to assign papers to review committees
or editors, which can be extremely important to your fate. So make sure that the keywords you
pick make assigning your paper to a review category obvious (for example, if there is a list of
conference topics, use your chosen topic area as one of the keyword tuples).
Conclusion
Writing an efficient abstract is hard work, but will repay you with increased impact on the world by enticing
people to read your publications. Make sure that all the components of a good abstract are included in the
next one you write.