How to Write a Project Abstract

Writing a good abstract is a formidable undertaking and many novice researchers wonder how it is possible to condense months of work into 300 to 400 words. Nevertheless, creating a well-written abstract is a skill that can be learned and mastering the skill will increase the probability that your research will be selected for presentation

Often when asked to write a report or article, you will be required to include an abstract. This is usually a very concise summary of what the report or article is about and is usually placed before the body of your writing. The abstract can be read to get a quick overview. It tells the reader what to expect in your work and it should be based on all you have written.

Definitions: The word abstract comes from the Latin abstractum , which means a condensed form of a longer piece of writing. There are two main types of abstract:
(1) Descriptive
(2) Informative abstract. The type of abstract you write depends on your discipline area.

Why do we write abstracts?

Abstracts are important parts of reports and research papers and sometimes academic assignments. The abstract is often the last item that you write, but the first thing people read when they want to have a quick overview of the whole paper.

Research abstracts are used throughout the research community to provide a concise description about a research project. It is typically a short summary of your completed research. If done well, it makes the reader want to learn more about your research. Some students present their research findings at local and national conferences. Research abstracts are usually requested as part of the application process for conference presenters. These are the basic components of an abstract in any discipline:

1) Motivation/problem statement: Why do we care about the problem? What practical, scientific, theoretical or artistic gap is your research filling?
2) Methods/procedure/approach: What did you actually do to get your results? (e.g. analyzed 3 novels, completed a series of 5 oil paintings, interviewed 17 students)
3) Results/findings/product: As a result of completing the above procedure, what did you earn/invent/create?
4) Conclusion/implications: What are the larger implications of your findings, especially for the problem/gap identified in step 1? However, it's important to note that the weight accorded to the different components can vary by discipline. For models, try to find abstracts of research that is similar to your research.

Qualities of a Good Abstract

  • Well developed paragraphs are unified, coherent, concise, and able to stand alone.
  • Uses an introduction/body/conclusion structure which presents the article, paper, or report's purpose, results, conclusions, and recommendations in that order
  • Follows strictly the chronology of the article, paper, or report
  • Provides logical connections (or transitions) between the information included
  • Adds no new information, but simply summarizes the report
  • Is understandable to a wide audience
  • Oftentimes uses passive verbs to downplay the author and emphasize the information

Steps to Writing Effective Abstracts

Reread the article, paper, or report with the goal of abstracting in mind. Look specifically for these main parts of the article, paper, or report: purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendation. If you're writing an abstract about another person's article, paper, or report, the introduction and the summary are good places to begin. These areas generally cover what the article emphasizes. After you've finished rereading the article, paper, or report, write a rough draft without looking back at what you're abstracting. Don't merely copy key sentences from the article, paper, or report: you'll put in too much or too little information. Don't rely on the way material was phrased in the article, paper, or report: summarize information in a new way.

Don’ts

  • Do not commence with "this paper...”, "this report..." or similar. It is better to write about the research than about the paper.
  • Do not explain the sections or parts of the paper.
  • Avoid sentences that end in "...is described", "...is reported", "...is analyzed" or similar.
  • Do not begin sentences with "it is suggested that...” "it is believed that...", "it is felt that..."or similar. In every case, the four words can be omitted without damaging the essential message.
  • Do not repeat or rephrase the title.
  • Do not refer in the abstract to information that is not in the document.
  • If possible, avoid trade names, acronyms, abbreviations, or symbols. You would need to explain them, and that takes too much room.

    The abstract should be about the research, not about the act of writing.

    Where to Find Examples of Abstracts:

    The best source of example abstracts is journal articles. Go to the library and look at
    biology journals, or look at electronic journals on the web.
    Read the abstract; read the article. Pick the best ones, the examples where the abstract
    makes the article easier to read, and figure out how they do it.
    Not everyone writes good abstracts, even in refereed journals, but the more abstracts you read, the easier it is to spot the good ones.


    SOURCES: www.uky.edu.academy/files/How%20to%20Write%20Research%20Abstract.pdf
    www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/learning_guides/learningGuide_writingAnAbstract.pdf
    www.acponline.org/education_recertification/education/program_directors/abstracts/ prepare/res_abs.htm

    ABSTRACT SAMPLES

    ABSTRACT SAMPLE ONE:
    Auditing is continually changing and developing to meet the needs of the business environment it serves. The role of auditing towards organizational success have attracted comment on the front pages of national newspapers, rather than in just the financial pages have even led on occasion to question and statement in parliament.
    This coverage has not always been good news for the auditing profession, but it does indicate a heightened awareness in society of the potential importance of what auditors do. It also reflects the way in which auditing practice and the activities of audit firms have developed and expanded business especially Anamco Ltd. Enugu.
    While at one time auditing was generally regarded as a procedural activity involving the application of mechanical techniques, there is now greater realization that both the purpose an the execution of an audit are far from simple matters.   In view of the above fact the study was designed to examine Auditing as an instrument for organizational success in Anamco Ltd. Enugu. In the course of the research oral interview and questionnaire were adopted as the main instruments for collecting data for the study. The data collected were tabulated, analyzed and interpreted. From the analysis some revelations were made. Base on the revelations some recommendations were made to eliminate or ameliorate Audit department of the corporation.

    ABSTRACT SAMPLE TWO: This research investigation is focused on the use of Cost-Volume-Profit analysis as a Management tool for decision making using Nigerian Breweries Plc as a case study.
    Cost-Volume-Profit (CVP) analysis narrowly called break-even analysis, is the application of marginal costing and seeks to study the relationship between costs, volume and profits at differing activity levels and can be a useful guide for short-term planning and decision making.
    There are series of relationship between costs, volume of production and profit.  An understanding of these relationship are useful to management.  Cost-volume-profit relationship as a decision making device that considers the inherent relationship between cost, volume of production and the profit that is made.
    This research study is divided into five chapters.  Chapter one is introduction which includes background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, research questions, hypothesis, scope and limitation of the study and definition of terms.
    Chapter two deals with review of related literatures on cost-volume-profit analysis as a management tool for decision making.
    Chapter three deals with research design and methodology.
    Chapter four involves presentation, analysis and interpretation of data.
    Finally chapter five is summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.

    ABSTRACT SAMPLE TWO: The study was focused on the study of loan syndication in the Nigeria financial market and its impact on the economy. The study examines the extent to which loan syndication has contributed to the performance of the Nigeria enterprise. Data was collected through the administration of the questionnaire numbering eighty (80) of which sixty-seven (67) were answered and returned. The response form the return questionnaire form the data for the research work.. This data were analyze on the bases of simple percentages while the Chi – square were employed in the test of the hypothesis
    The study reveals that loan syndication has improved the performance of the Nigeria enterprise. It has not been significantly being applied in the basis of the finding made. It was recommended that participating bank in loan syndication business should endeavor to set up distinct department or section with good management structure capable of dealing with the cooperate borrowers seeking for syndication loans and that banks should be involved in a lot of innovation programme that will increase their deposit base in order to comprehensively eliminate the fear of a possible liquidating that may arise from making syndication loan which one major reason for which should shy away from providing adequate syndication facilities to industrialist.