Writing an Abstract of a Research Report
An abstract is a 1-2 paragraph overview of your project. Depending on the situation's requirements, an abstract may be anywhere between 120 and 350 words in length.
If submitted at the beginning of the process, the Abstract proposes
a particular method or approach for the project. If submitted after
the project is complete, the Abstract focuses on your results and the
significance of your work.
(For submission to NCUR or another conference, your project/study should be complete or nearly so.)
At the top of the page include a thoughtful, interesting, and informative Title, with the first letter of each main word capitalized (no quotation marks, italics, or underlining). be sure to include your name!
An Abstract is usually structured with the following parts:
Sentence 1: Context/Background/Need. What is the problem, question, need, or important context that prompted your work?
Sentence 2: The purpose/focus of the study or project (You can state the purpose explicitly, e.g., "the purpose of this project was to determine...to examine...to analyze...to learn...to investigate...to assess...to research...to create...")
Sentences 3-4: Statement of the methods, practices, or procedures you undertook in order to fulfill the purpose.
The rest of the Abstract (2-5 sentences), if the project/study is still in the proposal stage: Explanation of what you hope to discover or create, and why it matters. To determine why your project matters, you might consider how your work will contribute to someone's previous research or creative activity, and/or how others might benefit from what you learn.
The rest of the Abstract (2-5 sentences), if the project/study is complete: Explanation of the results of your work (what you discovered or created) and its significance/implications ("So what?"). Consider if/how your project relates to other work. How will other scholars or the discipline benefit from your results? How might you or other scholars take this project further?
Click here for more information on preparing an abstract.
Last Modified: July 26, 2012