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Writing Effective Abstracts

Writing Effective Abstracts

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Writing Effective Abstracts

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  1. Writing Effective Abstracts Presented by Martin MacDowell, DrPH University of Illinois College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy at Rockford

  2. Tips on Abstract Writing • What is an abstract? • Condensed version of longer piece of writing • Highlights major points covered • Concisely describes content and scope of writing

  3. Tips on Abstract Writing • Types of Abstracts: • A. Descriptive and B. Informative • A. Descriptive – You will be doing this when planning your COPC in early 2015: • Tells reader what info the report, article, paper contains • Includes purpose, methods and scope of paper • Does NOT include results, conclusions or recommendations • Very short, under about 150 words • Introduces subject to reader who must go find the material to get results, conclusions or recommendations. Can include brief mention of prior related research

  4. Tips on Writing Abstracts • B. Informative Abstracts – You will be doing this for Research Day Poster Presentation in Spring 2016 • Communicates specific information from report, article or paper • Includes purpose, methods, scope of report • Provides paper’s results, conclusions and recommendations • Can be a paragraph to 2 pages long • Allows reader to decide if they want to read the report, article or paper

  5. Tips on Writing Abstracts • Uses one or more well developed paragraphs: unified, concise, able to stand alone • Uses an introduction/body/conclusion structure presenting: • purpose • methods • results, conclusions and recommendations

  6. Tips on Abstract Writing • Provides logical connections (or transitions) between the information included • Adds no NEW information, simply summarizes the report • Is understandable to a wide audience • Often uses passive verbs

  7. Steps for Writing Effective Abstracts • 1. Think about the goal(s) of the COPC project • Specifically consider: for descriptive abstract your purpose and methods (WHY, WHEN, HOW), • Add for informational abstract results regarding results, conclusions and recommendations (the WHATafter the project is done) • Use headings or an outline as guides to writing abstract • 2. After considering above point, try writing a rough draft

  8. Steps for Writing Effective Abstracts • 3. Revise your rough draft • correct weaknesses in organization • improve transitions from point to point • drop unnecessary information • add important information you left out • eliminate wordiness • fix errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation • 4. Print final copy AND read again

  9. Steps for Writing Effective Abstracts Other thoughts: • Abstract should be re-written after research or paper is completed • Abstract is often only means by which other researchers determine what information the paper contains and may base decision to read paper by abstract information alone • Many publications have required style for abstracts: Check Guidelines for Authors provided by the publisher • See distributed example of well done abstract

  10. Contents State main objectives (What did you investigate? Why?) Describe methods (How will/did you do project?) Summarize the most important results (What did you find out?) State major conclusions (What do your results mean? So what?) Requirements, Advice Do not include references to figures, tables, or sources Do not include information not in the report Process: Extract key points from each section. Condense in revision process Tips for Writing Abstracts

  11. Tips for Writing Abstracts • Web References: • http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ScienceReport.html • http://www.ccp.rpi.edu/resources/abstracts/ • http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/bizwrite/abstracts.html