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The Technique in Abstract Writing

Tadulako University Palu, Central Sulawesi

Daud K. Walanda

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Introduction
Theses/Dissertation (standard structure): or paper structure

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Definition
An abstract can be defined as a summary of the information in a document (Houghton, 1975). An abstract is a description or factual summary of the much longer report, and is meant to give the reader an exact and concise knowledge of the full article (Bhatia, 1993). An abstract as part of a T/D serves the purpose of announcingvery briefly, in summary formthe goal(s) of the underlying research, methods that were employed in the investigation, and the most important results achieved (Russey, 2006).
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Characteristics of an Abstract:
Stand alone; Comprehensive: this implies, incidentally, that you may need note of crucial side issues of scholarly significance; Precise: facts and opinions expressed within the actual T/D must under no circumstances be exaggerated or alluded to in misleading ways (indeed, even subtle shifts in emphasis would be considered inappropriate); Objective: an abstract may include evaluative comments, but it must not seem judgemental, even if the T/D topic raises controversial issues; Concise: only the most important of your results can be accommodated in an abstract (Short, 200-300 words);

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Intelligible: to meet this criterion you will be obliged to restrict yourself insofar as possible to familiar terminology, symbols, and abbreviations; Abstract should be type as a single paragraph (except structured abstract); No new information: DO NOT refer in the abstract to information that is not in the document; Most or all of the abstract should be written in the past tense, because it refers to work done; Avoid using the first person "I" or "we." In addition, whenever possible, choose active verbs instead of passive ones (ex: use "the study tested" instead of "it was tested by the study" or "I tested in the study").

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Type of abstract:
1. Unstructured/conventional abstract: a single
paragraph of between 200300 words containing a very brief summary of each of the main sections of your paper, the basic components are not identified with explicit headings, which may explain why some authors miss out vital parts; 2. Structured abstract: the same as (1) but divided into several short sections;

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For example:

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Type of abstract:
3. Extended abstract: a mini paper organized in the
same way as a full paper (e.g. Introduction, Methods, Discussion ), but substantially shorter (two to four pages). Depending on the journal, conference or competition, the extended abstract may or may not include an abstract for example, it may begin directly with an introduction; 4. Conference abstract: an abstract that you submit for consideration to present a paper at a professional conference, designed to help conference organizers to decide whether they would like you to make an oral presentation at their conference. It may be of any of the three forms above. (Wallwork, 2011).
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Structure of an Abstract:
An abstract will normally include: Background: a statement of the main question or problem (including the purpose of the study); The method(s) used to address it; The Results obtained, and; The Conclusions reached. (Weissberg and Buker,1990; Hyland, 2000; Swales and Feak, 2004)
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Structure of an Abstract:

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Verb tenses in the Abstract

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Verb tenses in the Abstract

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Language of an Abstract
1.Background This research/study describes some factors that might be important for a better understanding of.. Previous research has/findings have not shown that.. 2. Purpose
The purpose of this study/research is to show that.. This research aims to investigate/discover whether..

3.Research Methods
The study was carried out/conducted.. This study involved 50 participants.
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Language of an Abstract
4. Results The results indicate/reveal that.. The results obtained must be evaluated in the light of.. Results showed consistently that. Results were predictable/as predicted The response rate was .%. 5. Conclusions
From this data it can be concluded that.. The present study provides/does not provide unequivocal evidence of/that.. The conclusion that can be drawn from the data is that. It can be concluded that, but it must also point out that The results of the present study suggest that
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Writing an Abstract
Finish your T/D or paper. Take a break. Read over your paper and identify the key points for each section. Write two or more sentences for abstract components: Topic and research question; Methods; Results/findings; and conclusions/recommendations. Connect the ideas with appropriate transitions. Add and remove/delete text as needed. Revise, edit and proofread
(Anonymous)

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Writing and Revising Tips


Simply put, the style of an abstract should always be declarative not discursive.
Emphasize these aspects: purpose (hypothesis), methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations Focus only on the current year's research when it is a continuation project. Exclude any of the mentor or supervisors work Omit details and discussions Use the past tense to describe (However, where appropriate use active verbs rather than passive verbs.) Use short sentences, but vary sentence structure. Use complete sentences (Do not abbreviate by omitting articles or other small words in order to save space.) Avoid jargon Use appropriate scientific language Use concise syntax Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
(Cole, J. Mastering the Abstract Writing Process)
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Before Finalizing
Get help from a mentor Make revisions based upon the feedback Have others read your draft in order to check for technical errors, such as spelling and grammar mistakes

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Revision Techniques
Addition adding a word, phrase, or sentence
Original: This project is an experimentation of the effects of two-cycle marine engine exhaust water on certain algae. Revised: This project is a bioassay experimentation of the effects of two-cycle marine engine exhaust water on certain green algae.

Deletion deleting a word, phrase, or sentence


Original: The researcher has developed an original code required for successful implementation of the environment reconstruction application. Revised: The researcher developed an original code required for successful implementation of the environment reconstruction application.
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Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man (Francis Bacon)

Thank you

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