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If you follow this formula, your abstract will be well organized and will contain all the essential elements.There are four main parts in which you need to answer the following questions: 1.
All good abstracts recapitulate the paper and contain the four key parts listed above. Then try to write an abstract based on your reading. If you would like to view a presentation that summarizes the points in this post and uses a published abstract to illustrate, see this link. She received both a master’s degree and doctorate in botany and has conducted research in the field of wetland plant ecology for forty years. Her work has been published in over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports.
Writing good abstracts is not an art, but a learned skill. Here is an exercise to help you develop this skill. A strong proponent of science communication, Karen has also produced several peer-reviewed videos that describe her research and why it’s important to society (USGS Multimedia Gallery).
What problem did you study and why is it important? When describing your results, strive to focus on the main finding(s) and list no more than two or three points.
Here, you want to provide some background to the study, the motivation behind the study, and/or the specific question or hypothesis you addressed. Generally, you want to keep the methods section brief unless it is the focus of the paper. Also, avoid ambiguous or imprecise wording, which is a common mistake found in conference abstracts written before the data have been completely collected or analyzed. In writing this section, however, don’t state sweeping generalizations unsupported by the data or say that insights “will be discussed”.
Unfortunately, some authors fail to understand how important a good abstract is to the success of their scientific article.
That was one of my problems when I first began writing technical papers.
A final point is that some journals are now encouraging or requiring “enhanced abstracts” such as graphical abstracts or video abstracts.
Although such abstracts include additional visual components, the same basic guidelines I’ve covered in this post still apply. If you’ve not yet published a paper, this exercise will help you hone the skills necessary to write a concise and informative abstract. Mc Kee is a Scientist Emeritus (retired) with the U. Geological Survey and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University. Geological Survey, she studied the effects of climate change, sea-level rise, and hurricanes on wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta (Louisiana, USA) as well as in other wetlands around the world.
Some authors include citations or URLs in their abstracts, but many journals discourage or prohibit such additions.
Be sure to stay within the word limit, which most journals and conferences set for abstracts. Some journals or conferences provide a template that specifies four or five sections, e.g., Background or Aim, Question, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. If not, then the four-part structure provided below will serve as a basic guideline.