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Research Posters: Toolkit

Writing Abstracts

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a short, concise overview (usually 100-150 words) of your research project. An abstract requires academic writing that is persuasive in nature and should compel the reader to want to know more about your research. 

Typically there are five (5) components that can be identified in an effective research abstract. While components mentioned may vary according to the discipline, in general the elements mentioned below apply across disciplines.


Components of an Abstract

Each sentence of the following abstract represents a key component of a research abstract, and the below table lists and defines each component. Can you identify which sentence provides the information for each key component?

 

Research abstract highlighted in different colors to indicate the different sections of an abstract

 Abstract Component  Explanation
 Background Information  Establishes the general issue you are addressing with your research. In the first sentence let the reader know   why they should care about your work.
 Thesis statement/Research   Question/Hypothesis  Provides the specific details of the issue that your research addresses. Frames the rest of the ideas in the   abstract.
 Methods/Approaches/Materials  Briefly describes how the research was carried out. It is not necessary to go into minor details.
 Results/Findings/Expectations  Outlines the major findings of your research project (or what you hope to find). Best to list one key finding rather than all of the findings.
 Conclusions/Implications/Future  Research  Explanation regarding WHY the research is significant and HOW it contributes to your discipline. May also   discuss the lasting impacts of the work on society, policy, or future research.

 


Write and Re-Write

It is not easy to include all this information in just a few words. Start by writing a summary that includes whatever you think is important, and then gradually prune it down to size by removing unnecessary words, while still retaining the necessary concepts.

Don't use acronyms, abbreviations, or in-text citations. It should be able to stand alone without any citations.

 

References

Hornstein, Maddie (n.d.) The Anatomy of an Abstract. Kathleen Jones White Writing Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Lighthouse, A. (2017, December 15). Anatomy of an abstract for a scholarly journal article: A five-sentence model. Retrieved from http://www.newlearnerlab.com/blog/anatomy-of-an-abstract-for-a-scholarly-journal-article-a-five-sentence-model