How To Find Only Headings In A Word Style Document How to Write an Abstract

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How to Write an Abstract

An academic summary is a brief restatement of all the essential points of a research paper. The abstract is a single paragraph and is subject to specific word limits, usually less than 300 words. It is just below the title or at the end of the paper. Note that an abstract is NOT an introduction or plan for the paper. In the words of Craig W. Allin, “abstracts are an exercise in writing accurately and effectively.”

In fact, the summary is written after the research and the whole article is finished. It must be written in the same language as the paper and must be translated into one of the world’s languages. We can say that the main purpose of an abstract is to allow a quick assessment of the applicability, importance and validity of a research paper. But always remember that the reader KNOWS the topic but has NOT READ the paper.

The summary presents the information in four general sections: INTRODUCTION, METHODS, RESULTS e CONCLUSIONS. It should be noted that an abstract is text only and strictly follows the logical order of the paper. That is, the abstract should parallel the structure of the original article. At the same time, it does NOT add new information, that is, that is not in the document. Now notice that the abstract can be viewed as an independent document. That is why it must be unified, coherent (ie provide appropriate transitions or logical links between the information included), concise and able to stand alone. In other words, the summary should be complete in itself.

To be sure, it is sometimes the case that an abstract is read along with the title, and in general it is likely to be read without the rest of the document. In fact, we could consider the abstract to be the most important part of a scientific paper. It follows, therefore, that it is essential to include all keywords related to the study. Note that keywords (also called search terms) represent the most important terms or concepts (words or phrases) relevant to your topic.

There are two types of summaries: descriptive e informative. O descriptive or indicative summary, identifies the contents of the research or the basic theme of the article, demonstrating the organization of the work without providing results or conclusions. So it’s not very informative. This type of summary is always very short, usually less than 100 words; and is useful for a long report. On the other hand, the informative abstract, which is also known simply as an abstract, gives the main argument and summarizes the main data, providing the reader with an overview of the objectives, methods, results and conclusions of the study. So be specific. You may also have heard of a “structured summary” — this is a subtype of the informative summary that has more than one paragraph.

What to include?

Summary content includes:

  • Motivation and purpose: main topic or research question and review of relevant literature.
  • Specifications: problem statement, approach, objectives, hypothesis, research methodology (method(s) adopted or search strategies).
  • Results: main conclusions (proposed solutions to the problem) and discussion.
  • Conclusions and implications/results: what the results mean and more points.

As we can see, the summary should state:

  • The problem addressed and some background information.
  • The proposed solution or insight (recently observed facts).
  • An example showing how it works.
  • An evaluation: a comparison with existing responses/techniques.

Then, a summary should answer the following questions:

  • What and why.
  • What you found.
  • How did you do it?.

But how do we start?

What would be an effective way to start a summary? To help you on your way, let’s consider some introductory sentences.

First, let’s look at some opening sentences that do NOT provide any real information:

  1. This document reports on a method to…
  2. The work explores the notions of…
  3. The purpose of our research is to consider how…
  4. The aim of this study is to determine…

Thus, it is clear that you should avoid writing a scope statement.

On the other hand, the sentences that follow represent good examples of introductory statements, since they go directly into the topic. They give something to the reader. Let’s see how it works:

  1. The development process of hypermedia and web systems poses very specific problems that do not appear in other software applications, such as…
  2. Given a large data set, a common data mining problem is to extract the frequent patterns that occur in this set.
  3. According to many recent studies, the effect of learning style on academic performance has been significant and the mismatch between teaching and learning styles causes failure and frustration in learning..

The Do’s and Don’ts of Abstract Writing

  • Write a single paragraph.
  • It meets the specific word length.
  • Answer the questions: what, why and how.
  • Use language familiar to the reader.
  • Use some keywords.
  • Write short sentences.
  • Improve transitions between sentences.
  • Use the active voice.
  • Use the third person singular.
  • Begin with a clear introductory statement written in the present tense.
  • Use the past tense in the main body.
  • Write a final statement in the present tense: just say what the results mean (eg “These results suggest…”).
  • Correct the grammar.
  • Use headings, subheadings, and tables as a guide for writing.
  • Print and read the summary.
  • Do not cite sections of the article.
  • Do not include references to literature or figures and tables.
  • Do not use abbreviations.
  • Do not add new information.
  • Do not add superfluous information.
  • Do not add opinions.
  • Do not repeat information.
  • Do not repeat the title of the article.

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