A descriptive abstract—a summary of someone else’s paper or book—is often required by professors to give you practice in summarizing and responding to sources. Writing a descriptive abstract can be especially trying if you feel as though you are reading material over your head; however, if you understand the goals of a descriptive abstract correctly you can read and write in such a way that the author’s ideas are simplified while being represented fairly.
The executive summary is a hybrid of the descriptive and informative summaries. Written for executives whose focus is business decisions and whose background is not necessarily technical, it focuses on conclusions and recommendations but provides little background, theory, results, or other such detail. It doesn't summarize research theory or method; it makes descriptive-summary statements: for example, "theory of heat gain, loss, and storage is also discussed."
1. Why it was done and what is the problem being addressed?
These two sections can be grouped together into one brief statement summarizing why the experiment was performed in the first place? What was the question trying to be answered? Science is an exploration for truth. It is all about curiosity and answering questions to find out why and how things work. The scientific method is a clear example of this; first state a problem or question and then try to determine the answer. This section is the statement of the original problem. It is the reason behind why an experiment is being done. This should not include many details, rather it should be a simple statement. It can even be stated in one or two sentences at the most.
Because on-line search databases typically contain only abstracts, it isvital to write a complete but concise description of your work to enticepotential readers into obtaining a copy of the full paper. This articledescribes how to write a good computer architecture abstract for bothconference and journal papers. Writers should follow a checklist consisting of:motivation, problem statement, approach, results, and conclusions. Followingthis checklist should increase the chance of people taking the time to obtainand read your complete paper.
An is a summary of a body of information. Sometimes, abstracts are in fact called summaries—sometimes, executive summaries or executive abstracts. The business and scientific worlds define different types of abstracts according to their needs. If you are taking a technical writing course based on this online textbook, your technical report (depending on your instructor) may use two types: the descriptive abstract and the informative abstract.
The abstract, although it comes first logistically, always should be written last. It needs to be written last because it is the essence of your report, drawing information from all of the other sections of the report. It explains why the experiment was performed and what conclusions were drawn from the results obtained. A general guideline for an abstract has five sections or areas of focus: why the experiment was conducted; the problem being addressed; what methods were used to solve the problem; the major results obtained; and the overall conclusions from the experiment as a whole. Do not be misled, however, from this list into thinking that the abstract is a long section. In fact, it should be significantly shorter than all of the others. All of this information should be summarized in a clear but succinct manner if the abstract is going to be successful. An estimated average length for all of this information is only a single paragraph. Although this may seem as though it is a short length to contain all of the required information, it is necessary because it forces you to be accurate and yet compact, two essential qualities.
Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds. One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details.
Like most informative abstracts, the example summarizes three major elements of the full report: o The objectives of the research or the reporto The methodology used in the researcho The findings of the report to include the results, conclusionsand recommendations.
This is the end of your abstract, directly hinging on the results obtained. This is the "so what" part of your experiment. "So what" refers to what the results mean in the long run. You need not include how you drew your conclusions, only the final conclusion. This should directly follow the results so the reader knows what results led to what conclusions. This is the equivalent to the discussion part of the paper, but again, like the rest of the abstract, it needs to be stated briefly and succinctly. You do not need to explain how you deduced the conclusion from the results obtained, only the end conclusions. After you have stated this, the abstract is complete.
The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art. An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects. In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit." To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.
Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!
It is as if someone had taken a yellow marker and highlighted all the key points in the body of the report then vaccuumed them up into a one- or two-page document. (Of course, then some editing and rewriting would be necessary to make the abstract readable.) Specifically, the requirements for the informative abstract are as follows:
This last point is particularly important. People often confuse the kinds of writing expected in descriptive and informative abstracts. Study the difference between the informative and descriptive phrasing in the following examples:
Abstract: I liked writing poems, not essays.
Concrete: I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays.