Informative Abstract

The example below illustrates an informative abstract, which is most often intended for an expert audience. Therefore, their authors can use the technical language of the field freely. Like most informative abstracts, the example summarizes three major elements of the full report: o The objectives of the research or the report o The methodology used in the research o The findings of the report to include the results, conclusions and recommendations. Most professional journals or societies publish stylebooks that include specifications about how to write an abstract. Many journals, because of high publication costs, will set arbitrary limits of under 200 words for abstracts. ***********************************************************************


This study investigated the role of "signaling" in helping good readers comprehend expository text. As the existing literature on signaling, reviewed in the last issue of the Journal, pointed to deficiencies in previous studies' methodologies, one goal of this study was to refine prose research methods. Two passages were designed in one of eight signaled versions each. The design was constructed to assess the individual and combined effect of headings, previews, and logical connectives. The study also assessed the effect of passage length, familiarity and difficulty. The results showed that signals do improve a reader's comprehension, particularly comprehension two weeks after the reading of a passage and comprehension of subordinate and superordinate inferential information. This study supports the hypothesis that signals can influence retention of text-based information, particularly with long, unfamiliar, or difficult passages. ************************************************************************ Never use "I" statements in an abstract. Report your information impersonally, as though it were written by someone else. This is not an arbitrary principle. If you were to publish your report, your abstract would likely be reprinted in an abstracting journal where the use of "I" would be inappropriate. Also, many companies, in the interest of good intracompany communication, publish the abstracts of all company research reports. The restriction on the use of "I" makes the use of passive voice common in abstracts. Because your full report contains complete documentation, you need not footnote or otherwise document the information in abstracts. Ref. Houp & Pearsall, Reporting Technical Information, 7th edition, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992