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Abstract Writting

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Abstracts

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline; an abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. 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.

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. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. For the purpose of your research project, students will be required to write an informative abstract.

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 short—100 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 research paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, 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. Since your research project is an argumentative report, this type of abstract is most appropriate.
Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their project. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, online journal articles, and internal office communication. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results.

How do I 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:

Key process elements:

1. Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work? 2. Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim? 3. 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. 4. 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. 5. 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?
(This list of element is adapted with permission from Phil Koopman, "How to Write an Abstract," http://www.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html.)

All abstracts include:

1. The full citation of the source preceding the abstract. 2. The most important information first. 3. The same level of language found in the original, including technical language. 4. Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work. 5. Clear, concise, and powerful language.

Abstracts may include:

1. The thesis of the work in the first sentence. 2. The background that places the work in the larger body of literature. 3. The same chronological structure of the original work.

Abstracts should NOT include these things:

1. Do not refer extensively to other works. 2. Do not add information not contained in the original work. 3. Do not define terms.

If you are abstracting your own writing

When abstracting your own work it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however. 1. 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 particularly capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. 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 these disparate sentences into a unified paragraph.(it should sound unified, not fragmented!)

2. 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. When writing the abstract be sure to incorporate the key terms. 3. 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. Then, in a separate document, re-write the sentences and phrases in your own words. 4. Don't 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.

4 Revise, revise, revise

No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else's, 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 amount of space. The Word Count feature of MS Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.
(Source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill )
OK students, I hope this note clarifies all your questions on how to do abstract. Good luck in finishing your research project (
Edited by: Ms Pamela, FIA
[pic]

Sample
ABSTRACT 1
Research Topic: The practice of freedom of speech should be of compromise and restriction in its opinion towards sensitive issues that would otherwise create disharmony and racial tension in the society.

This report attempts to provide a perspective on one of the fundamental liberties of an individual- freedom of speech and expression. In essence, the report touches on the potentially undesirable and in some circumstances, dangerous outcome of absolute unfettered freedom of speech. Individuals against whom absolute purported freedom of speech is targeted at may seek recourse through legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, for defamation and criminal prosecution for criminal defamation, respectively. In the context of Malaysia, with the existence of Malaysia’s Sedition Act, certain unfettered freedom of speech may give rise to ethnic and religious tensions, and also insurrection against an established authority. This in turn, may bring about the undesirable consequence of ethnic outbursts and conflicts along racial and / or religious lines. An individual or group of people may feel insulted, with such perception of insult encroaching onto invasion of one’s freedom of religious belief and / or right to be respected and tolerated for their beliefs. Absolute unrestricted freedom of speech does and could lead to abuse of such individual fundamental liberty.

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