How to write an abstract technical writing

Philip KoopmanCarnegie Mellon University October, Abstract Because on-line search databases typically contain only abstracts, it is vital to write a complete but concise description of your work to entice potential readers into obtaining a copy of the full paper. This article describes how to write a good computer architecture abstract for both conference and journal papers. Writers should follow a checklist consisting of:

How to write an abstract technical writing

Format for the paper Edit your paper! A standard format is used for these articles, in which the author presents the research in an orderly, logical manner. The title should be appropriate for the intended audience. The title usually describes the subject matter of the article: Effect of Smoking on Academic Performance" Sometimes a title that summarizes the results is more effective: The person who did the work and wrote the paper is generally listed as the first author of a research paper.

For published articles, other people who made substantial contributions to the work are also listed as authors. Such abstracts may also be published separately in bibliographical sources, such as Biologic al Abstracts.

They allow other scientists to quickly scan the large scientific literature, and decide which articles they want to read in depth.

how to write an abstract technical writing

Your abstract should be one paragraph, of words, which summarizes the purpose, methods, results and conclusions of the paper.

It is not easy to include all this information in just a few words. Start by writing a summary that includes whatever you think is important, and then gradually prune it down to size by removing unnecessary words, while still retaini ng the necessary concepts. It should be able to stand alone without any footnotes.

Why is it interesting? The introduction summarizes the relevant literature so that the reader will understand why you were interested in the question you asked.


One to fo ur paragraphs should be enough. End with a sentence explaining the specific question you asked in this experiment. How did you answer this question? There should be enough information here to allow another scientist to repeat your experiment. Look at other papers that have been published in your field to get some idea of what is included in this section.

If you had a complicated protocol, it may helpful to include a diagram, table or flowchart to explain the methods you used. Do not put results in this section. You may, however, include preliminary results that were used to design the main experiment that you are reporting on.

Mention relevant ethical considerations. If you used human subjects, did they consent to participate. If you used animals, what measures did you take to minimize pain?

Use graphs and tables if appropriate, but also summarize your main findings in the text.

how to write an abstract technical writing

Do NOT discuss the results or speculate as to why something happened; t hat goes in th e Discussion. Use appropriate methods of showing data. For graphs, you should also label the x and y axes. If you can summarize the information in one sentence, then a table or graph is not necessary.

How do these results relate to the original question? Do the data support your hypothesis? Are your results consistent with what other investigators have reported? If your results were unexpected, try to explain why.

Is there another way to interpret your results? What further research would be necessary to answer the questions raised by your results? How do y our results fit into the big picture? End with a one-sentence summary of your conclusion, emphasizing why it is relevant.

You can thank those who either helped with the experiments, or made other important contributions, such as discussing the protocol, commenting on the manuscript, or buying you pizza.Writing an efficient abstract is hard work, but will repay you with increased impact on the world by enticing people to read your publications.

Make sure that all the components of a good abstract are included in the next one you write. Further Reading.

Michaelson, Herbert, How to Write & Publish Engineering Papers and Reports, Oryx Press, Chapter 6 discusses abstracts. 1 Writing Technical Abstracts Kent State University Dr. Jonathan I Maletic Contents of a Technical Paper • Title, Author(s) • Abstract – ( words) • Introduction • Related work.

A major part of any writing assignment consists of re-writing. Write accurately.

Summarize it

Scientific writing must be accurate. Although writing instructors may tell you not to use the same word twice in a sentence, it's okay for scientific writing, which must be accurate.

The Guide to Grammar and Writing contains scores of digital handouts on grammar and English usage, over computer-graded quizzes, recommendations on writing -- from basic problems in subject-verb agreement and the use of articles to exercises in parallel structures and help with argumentative essays, and a way to submit questions about grammar and writing.

Abstracts of scientific papers are sometimes poorly written, often lack important information, and occasionally convey a biased picture. This paper provides detailed suggestions, with examples, for writing the background, methods, results, and conclusions sections of a good abstract.

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