In the world of research and academia, abstracts play a crucial role in conveying the essence of a subject or study. Whether you are working in the humanities, social sciences, or even molecular biology, being able to write a well-crafted abstract is essential for effective communication and validation of your work.
But what exactly is an abstract? In simple terms, an abstract is a concise summary of a larger piece of work, such as a research paper, chapter, or executive report. It provides the reader with a snapshot of the main points, methods, and findings, allowing them to quickly determine if the content is relevant to their interests.
Writing an abstract that is clear, concise, and informative can be a challenge. To help you in this endeavor, we have developed a checklist of six questions that you can use to ensure your abstract meets the mark:
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- Does the abstract provide a clear statement of the research question or purpose?
- Does it outline the methodology or procedures used in the study?
- Does it summarize the main findings or results?
- Is the abstract written in a style appropriate for the subject area?
- Does it convey the significance or implications of the research?
- Does it provide a take-home message or key takeaway for the reader?
By addressing these questions, you can ensure that your abstract effectively summarizes your work and entices readers to delve deeper into your research. Remember, an abstract should be information-rich and without excessive wordiness. It should be written with the reader in mind, providing them with a concise yet comprehensive overview of your study.
For instance, let’s consider a sample abstract from a biology research paper:
“Environmental Conditions and their Impact on the Growth of Three-Dimensional Plant Structures”
Authors: Michele Hamlin and Robert DeSilva
In this study, we investigated the effects of various environmental conditions on the production and growth of three-dimensional plant structures in a controlled laboratory environment. Using a finite amount of resources, we performed experiments on different types of plants to determine the optimal conditions for the development of these structures. Our findings demonstrate that factors such as light, temperature, and nutrient availability significantly influence the growth and morphology of these plant structures. This research contributes to our understanding of plant development in artificial environments and has implications for fields such as agriculture and environmental science.”
In this example, the abstract clearly states the research question, outlines the methodology used, summarizes the main findings, and highlights the significance of the research. It provides the reader with a concise yet information-rich summary that accurately represents the content of the full paper.
Descriptive Abstract Example
What Does a Descriptive Abstract Include?
A descriptive abstract typically includes:
- A clear and concise summary of the main points of the work
- A brief explanation of the purpose of the work
- Information about the subject matter and scope of the work
- An overview of the methods and procedures used in the research (if applicable)
Example of a Descriptive Abstract
For example, Annemarie DeSilva developed a three-dimensional finite element model to simulate the environmental conditions of a performing arts campus. The purpose of her research was to analyze the impact of different building designs on the acoustics and thermal conditions of the campus. She used validated simulation techniques to assess the environmental performance of six different building types. DeSilva’s study provides valuable insights for architects, engineers, and researchers in the field of performing arts and environmental sciences. This abstract is about 103 words long.
Descriptive abstracts are written in a clear and objective style, without personal opinions or bias. They focus on facts and provide an accurate summary of the work. Descriptive abstracts are typically shorter than informative abstracts, but they still convey all the necessary information for the reader to understand the significance of the work and decide whether to read the full document.
This descriptive abstract example was written based on the guidelines provided by the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. The original text was rewritten and adapted for this context.
How to Write a Clear and Concise Summary
1. Identify the purpose and significance:
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Before you start writing the summary, take a moment to think about the purpose of the original work and what makes it significant. This will help you focus on the main ideas and avoid unnecessary details.
2. Understand the subject and main points:
Read the original work thoroughly and make sure you understand the subject matter and the main points being discussed. This will help you in conveying the information accurately in your summary.
3. Use your own words:
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A summary should be written in your own words and not simply copied and pasted from the original work. By using your own language, you can ensure that you have understood the information and can present it in a way that is clear and concise.
4. Focus on the main ideas:
In a summary, it is important to focus on the main ideas and key findings. Avoid getting into too much detail, especially when it comes to technical or specialized terminology. Stick to the most important points that support the overall message of the work.
5. Check for accuracy and validity:
Before finalizing your summary, double-check for accuracy and validity of the information you have included. Make sure that you have correctly represented the original work and that the information you have provided is supported by evidence.
6. Be clear and concise:
A summary should be concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary repetition or elaboration. Stick to the essential information and present it in a clear and organized manner.
By following these steps, you can write a clear and concise summary that effectively conveys the main ideas and key findings of the original work. Remember to always attribute the original work and give credit to the author or researchers whose work you are summarizing.
The purpose of this study was to explore the molecular biology of environmental samples and its significance in understanding the finite resources of our natural environment. Researchers collected samples from various environments and conducted molecular analyses to gather information about the molecular composition of these samples.
The study developed a three-dimensional visual representation of the molecular composition of the samples using a specialized software. The results showed a complex network of molecular interactions and communication between different components of the environment.
The significance of this work lies in its contribution to the understanding of the intricate molecular processes that govern environmental dynamics. It sheds light on the impact of molecular interactions on the overall health and functioning of natural ecosystems.
This abstract is based on the work of Michele DeSilva, an executive at a leading environmental research institute. The research was conducted at Purdue University’s Department of Environmental Sciences.
In summary, this sample abstract provides a concise and descriptive summary of the molecular biology research conducted by Annemarie Hamlin and Michele DeSilva. It highlights the significance of their work in the field of environmental sciences, where molecular understanding is crucial for developing effective strategies for environmental management and conservation.
Checklist for a Descriptive Abstract:
- Start with a clear and concise statement of the purpose of the study.
- Provide an overview of the methods used in the research.
- Summarize the main findings and results of the study.
- Explain the significance and implications of the findings.
- Include any relevant information about the researchers and their affiliations.
In the humanities and arts, abstracts may take a slightly different format, focusing more on the central argument and main points of the work. Researchers and writers should familiarize themselves with the conventions of their specific discipline when writing an abstract.
Finally, it is important to note that this sample abstract is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used as a template for writing your own abstract. Each scientific paper or article requires a unique and tailored abstract that accurately summarizes the specific study.
Attribution: This sample abstract was adapted from the Purdue OWL Writing Lab, “Sample Descriptive Abstract.” It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
When it comes to writing descriptive abstracts in the humanities, researchers have developed six different styles to take into consideration. These styles are developed to provide a clear and concise summary of their work without performing a deep dive into the subject matter. The purpose of descriptive abstracts in the humanities is to provide the reader with a natural and information-rich summary that highlights the key points and significance of the research.
In the humanities, descriptive abstracts serve as a valuable resource for researchers and readers alike. For instance, at Purdue University, researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and environmental studies often present their research reports using descriptive abstracts. This allows others on campus and beyond to quickly grasp the main objectives, methods, and findings of their work without having to read the entire report.
Types of Descriptive Abstracts:
There are three main types of descriptive abstracts commonly used in the humanities:
- Fact-based abstracts: These abstracts focus on presenting the facts and details of the research, such as the methods used and the results obtained.
- Significance-based abstracts: These abstracts highlight the significance and implications of the research, discussing its contributions to the field and potential applications.
- Visual abstracts: These abstracts use visual aids, such as diagrams or three-dimensional models, to visually represent the research and engage the reader.
Developing an Effective Descriptive Abstract:
To ensure the effectiveness of a descriptive abstract, researchers should follow a set of guidelines and procedures:
- Identify the key questions and objectives of the research.
- Provide concise and clear information on the methodology and procedures used.
- Summarize the main findings and results of the research.
- Highlight the significance and implications of the research.
- Use appropriate language and terminology.
- Avoid including unnecessary details or jargon.
Descriptive abstracts serve as a valuable tool in the humanities, allowing researchers to share their work with a wider audience and providing readers with a quick overview of the research. By following the guidelines and checklist provided, researchers can ensure that their descriptive abstracts are informative, clear, and concise, leading to greater acceptance and understanding of their work in the humanities field.
What is a descriptive abstract?
A descriptive abstract is a summary of a research paper or article that provides a brief overview of its main points, without including any specific details or conclusions.
Why is it important to write a clear and concise summary?
Writing a clear and concise summary is important because it allows readers to quickly understand the main points of a research paper or article, without having to read the entire document. It also helps to ensure that the key findings and conclusions are effectively communicated.
What should be included in a descriptive abstract?
A descriptive abstract should include a brief introduction to the research topic, a statement of the research question or objective, a summary of the research methodology, a discussion of the main findings or results, and a conclusion that highlights the implications or significance of the research.
How long should a descriptive abstract be?
A descriptive abstract should be concise and to the point, typically no more than 150-200 words. It should provide enough information to give readers a sense of the research paper or article, but without overwhelming them with unnecessary details.