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Writing a Scientific Paper: ABSTRACT

Discussion of how to understand and write different sections of a scientific paper. Discussions of how to write Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Data, and Discussion.

What is a "good" abstract?

• Self contained. Uses 1 or more well developed paragraphs
• Uses introduction/body/conclusion structure
• Presents purpose, results, conclusions and recommendations in that order
• Adds no new information
• Is understandable to a wide audience

Techniques to write an abstract

  • Do the abstract last
  • Reread the article looking specifically for the main parts: Purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Write a first rough draft without looking at the original article
  • Edit your draft by correcting organization, improving transitions, dropping unnecessary information and words, and adding important information you left out

What is an abstract?

There are as many kinds as abstracts as there are types of research papers.  The classic abstract is usually a "Informative" abstract. This kind of abstract communicates compressed information and include the purpose, methods, and scope of the article. They are usually short (250 words or less) and allow the reader to decide whether they want to read the article.

The goal is to communicate:
1. What was done?
2. Why was it done?
3. How was it done?
4. What was found?
5. What is the significance of the findings?

Biology Librarian

John Sisson's picture
John Sisson
Ayala Science Library 246