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Academic Writing Writing an Abstract. Several Names for Abstracts.

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Presentation on theme: "Academic Writing Writing an Abstract. Several Names for Abstracts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Academic Writing Writing an Abstract

2 Several Names for Abstracts

3 What is an abstract?  Brief  Accurate, and  Comprehensive summary  of the contents of the article  without added interpretation or criticism.  It allows readers to survey the contents of the article which follows quickly.

4 What is an abstract?  Uses short and simple sentences  covering with just one topic each and excluding irrelevant information.  Should be informative  Presenting the quantitative and/or qualitative information contained in the document.

5 Functions of an Abstract  Informing the reader  Helps readers to know the brief content of the article, thus saving them time to read through the whole paper.  Usually first thing reader will review to decide whether or not to read the full text  Assist those searching for research  Abstracts can be used by abstracting and information services to index and retrieve articles.

6 Functions of an Abstract  Key attributes to fulfil these functions:  Should be well organized, concise, and self-contained.  Should be accurate.  Should include key words which link your work to your research area to ensure that researchers in the area can find it easily

7 Abstract  Summarizes, in one paragraph (usually), the major aspects of the entire paper in the following prescribed sequence:  the question(s) you investigated (or purpose of paper), with scope and limitations (from Introduction)  Very clearly in the first or second sentence.  how this investigation was completed, (from Main Body - Methodology)  Design or approach. If you employed a specific methodology name it  There is no need to include a lot of detail since that will be covered later

8 Abstract  the major findings (from Main Body- Results)  What did you actually find out ? Or achieve?  In relation to the body of knowledge ?  a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions. (from Main Body- Discussion and Conclusions)  State the implications of the answers your results gave you.

9 How to Construct YOUR Abstract  "Why did you start?" – Introduction or background  You should summarise, preferably in one sentence, the current knowledge, or state-of-the-art, specifically in relation to the work you are presenting.  "What did you try to do?" – Aims and objectives  You should state the aim of the study, and any objectives you needed to meet to achieve this aim  "What did you do?" – Methods  Short and to the point. Aim is to give the reader an idea of how you went about things so that they can judge what was achieved in the right context.

10 How to construct YOUR Abstract  "What did you find?" – Results  Give the main results of the study, not just in subjective terms ("We found device X to be superior to device Y") but also in the form of some real data.  Need to choose your findings carefully.  Do not include a table or figure in your abstract.  "What does it mean?" – Conclusions  Usually a single sentence of why you think your findings are important, and their potential implications.  Keep your conclusions reasonable and supportable by the findings of your study.  Remember any scope or limitations you had – this impacts your conclusions

11 Two Major Types

12 Characteristics of a GOOD Abstract  Accurate:  Reflect correctly the objectives and contents of the article.  Do not include information that does not appear in the body of the article in the abstract.  Self-contained:  Define all unique terms, abbreviations (except units of measurement), and acronyms in the abstract.  If the article does not have a separate Keywords section, embed them in the abstract as this will enhance the readers’ ability to find them; this will also help in indexing.

13 Characteristics of a GOOD Abstract  Concise and specific:  Each sentence should be as informative as possible, especially the lead sentence.  Make it brief.  In one paragraph if possible.  Coherent and readable:  Write clearly.  Use verbs rather than the noun equivalents.  Use the active rather than the passive voice, but without personal pronouns (I or we).  Use the past tense to describe specific variables manipulated or tests applied.  Use the third rather than the first person.

14 How to write an abstract  Write it after you have written the paper, document, thesis, dissertation etc

15 Hints  Re-read and note salient (important) points  E.g. the nature of the problems, objectives, methods, results, conclusions and suggestions for further investigation.  Do not put anything which was not present in the text, or repeat the title.  Do not just repeat sentences from your paper.

16 Hints  The objectives and methods, or the nature of the study should be briefly presented.  Scope and limitations should be included.  Combine them into a first draft abstract  without looking back at your paper  Do not cite any references, figures, or tables in the abstract.

17 Hints (cont’d)  Revise your rough draft to correct weaknesses in organization and coherence,  Leave out anything that does not inform the reader or outline the context important for the reader  add important information originally left out,  eliminate wordiness, and  correct errors in grammar and mechanics.  Proof read your final abstract  Would it entice you to read the paper ?  Does it accurately reflect the contents?  Does it make clear any constraints you worked under?

18 What is an Abstract in brief?  Short summary of your work  Short, self-contained capsule description of your work  Enticement to read the whole thing  Things to think about  Meet the word count limitation.  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 and include these.  Make sure that the keywords you pick actually appear in the text

19 How is it different to the Introduction? Abstract Introduction  Capsule summary of the paper  Covers  Background  Purpose and focus  Methods  Results  Conclusions  Recommendations  Summarises the entire paper including conclusions  Introduces the paper (contents and structure)  Covers  Background  Purpose  Proposition  Outline of key issues  Scope and limitations  Paper structure  Introduces paper topic, puts it in context and highlights key issues to be discussed

20 Templates to help write an abstract

21 General Abstract Template This research topic is a very important problem in the domain of Computer Science. Though numerous attempts have been made to accomplish this research goal, these approaches have assumptions that restrict their extension to more general cases. In this dissertation, the key factor in a generic and robust system is identified and a system is then developed using this idea. Preliminary results are provided to support the validity of the approach and demonstrate its capability to do this research under different testing criteria. Further improvements in performance are achieved through the development of additional techniques. The speed and efficiency of the algorithm is further improved using techniques to reduce the search space. Finally, the results of testing the system under a wide range of conditions are reviewed, demonstrating its capability and robustness.

22 Fill in the blanks ___________ is a very important problem in the domain of __________. Though numerous attempts have been made to accomplish this ____________, these approaches have assumptions that restrict their extension to more general cases. In this dissertation, the key factor in a generic and robust system is identified as being ____________ and a system is then developed using this idea. Preliminary results are provided to support the validity of the approach and demonstrate its capability to do ____________ under different testing criteria. Further improvements in performance are achieved through _____________________. The speed and efficiency of the algorithm is further improved ________________. Finally, the results of testing the system under a wide range of conditions __________________ are reviewed, demonstrating its capability and robustness.

23 Template Questions to get started  What is the area of study?  2. What is the problem being tackled?  3. What does the literature say?  4. How did you tackle the problem?  5. How did you implement the solution?  6. What results have you gotten?

24 Sample Answers to previous questions  “This research investigates the area of knowledge capture in  the domain of knowledge management.”  2. “By introducing a new technology into workplace X communications the staff will be able to record their ideas for the purpose of communication and sharing.”  3. “Existing research indicates that their may be benefits to  capturing the organisational knowledge.”  4. “In this work a Wiki server was introduced into the  Workplace and access provided to all staff.”  5. “The Wiki has a range of templates to support the range of  approaches to ideas generation.”  6. “Results suggest that the use of this Wiki has aided in  capturing key organisational knowledge.”

25 Merge into an abstract This research investigates the area of knowledge capture in the domain of knowledge management. By introducing a new technology into workplace X staff will be able to record their ideas for the purpose of communication and sharing. Existing research indicates that their may be benefits to capturing the organizational knowledge. In this work a Wiki server was be introduced into the workplace, and access provided to all staff. The Wiki has a range of templates to support the range of approaches to ideas generation. Results suggest that the use of this Wiki has aided in capturing key organisational knowledge.


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