Genres in academic writing: Report abstracts
Writing an abstract
The abstract is the first section of the report. It usually comes after the title and before the introduction. In some subject areas, this section may be titled “summary”. The abstract provides an overview of the study based on information from the other sections of the report. The reader can read the abstract to obtain enough information about the study to decide if they want to read the complete report. Because it contains elements from the whole report, it is usually written last.
Ordering Your Information
Abstracts from almost all fields of study are written in a very similar way. The types of information included and their order are very conventional. The box that follows shows the typical information format of an abstract (Weissberg & Buker, 1990, p. 186):
Introduce the study by describing the context
Explain why the subject is important
Describe the purpose of the study
Report how the study was undertaken
Report the results that were found.
Briefly evaluate the results
Explain what is important and why
Read the following abstract carefully. It is taken from the field of computer assisted learning. Identify the sentences in the abstract that correspond to the elements in the preceding box.
Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes Course.
A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire
1During the last 10 years, use of the World-Wide-Web for educational purposes has increased dramatically. 2However, very little empirical research has been carried out to determine the effectiveness of this use. 3The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the effectiveness of using the World-Wide-Web on an EAP writing course. 4Two groups of students were taught writing by two different methods: one group was taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom, while a second group included use of an on-line web-site in their course. 5The two groups were assessed in the same way after a twelve-week period of instruction. 6Results of the assessment showed significant differences between the two groups, the group that used the on-line web-site performing much better on all aspects of the test. 7This suggests that the use of computer assisted learning programmes for at least some of the teaching time available can be recommended for EAP writing courses.
Write an abstract for this report. Report: Report