Abstracts are short descriptions of your work, in this case around 250 words. They are usually formatted as a single paragraph with no subheadings and do not include a references list. Your abstract should provide a basic outline of what your project is about. Please see the following slides from the SEU Writing Center for more information (note: you must be signed in to your SEU account to view the presentation). You can also attend a professional development workshop on abstract writing on February 09 from 3:00-4:00 pm in the Munday Library (room 141). Details and conventions vary by discipline, so you'll want to work with your mentor and look at examples from your field.
Most abstracts address the following components:
Purpose/Problem: Why did you write this paper, conduct this research, or create this piece of art? What question does it attempt to answer? What gap in existing knowledge or expression does it attempt to fill? Why is this important to address here and now ("exigency"). Does this project try to solve a problem? What is the scope of the problem?
Methods: How did you do your project? If you are in the sciences, you may include specific procedures; in the humanities and professions, you may have consulted documents from the library; if you are submitting a work of art you can discuss your media and methods.
Results: What did your research yield? Did you make scientific observations? Did patterns emerge in your research? Are you making an argument that is supported by evidence? What did you discover? What was the outcome of your process/project? *Please indicate whether research is completed or in progress.
Implications: Why should people care about your work? How will it help them see the topic in a new way? How does it contribute to the greater discipline--the "conversation" that is ongoing in academia? Does it provide audiences with new perspectives through which to understand your topic?
NOTE: Although the above components are addressed in abstracts, your abstract should be formatted as a single paragraph with no subheadings.