Your abstract should follow the APA Abstract format.
The abstract included with your paper should be on the page immediately after the title page. The section heading should be centered, with one line of space between the section
heading and the body of the abstract. The abstract must be single-spaced and should contain no more than 200 words.
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- The abstract is a very brief overview of your ENTIRE study.
- It tells the reader:
- WHAT you did
- WHY you did it
- HOW you did it
- WHAT you found
- WHAT it means
- The abstract should briefly state:
- Purpose of the research (introduction)
- How the problem was studied (methods)
- The principal findings (results)
- What the findings mean (discussion and
- It is important to be descriptive but concise--say only what is essential, using no more words than necessary to convey meaning.
- The Example Outline and Outline Worksheet shown below may be helpful as you prepare the first draft of
- There is no standard arrangement for the parts of an abstract. The sequence of the parts in your abstract may be completely different from that in your scientific paper (and
different from the sequence shown in the example). Choose a sequence that best allows you to convey the needed information in the fewest words possible.
- The Abstract Worksheet that follows may be used to help you prepare the first draft of your abstract.
(Some projects may not lend themselves to this format, so
don't feel that you need to use the worksheet)
- The sequence of sentences in the example abstract outline is ordered in a logical fashion:
- Think of the most important items that crystallize each part of your project.
Leave out unimportant details. As a first draft (using the Outline Worksheet), write one or two sentences that summarize each section.
- For your final draft, make sure the abstract "flows" logically.
- Give it to a friend to read. Ask them to tell you what they think you actually did and what you found. Revise as necessary.
- Below you will find an example of a completed example abstract outline.
- The food habits of larval butterflies of two related species from a zone of overlap near Oil City, PA were examined.
- The theory of competitive exclusion predicts that food habits of closely related species should not overlap significantly where species occur together.
- Transects in five different habitats were used to determine food and habitat preferences in wild populations. Two species of captive caterpillars were offered various food in the
laboratory; weight changes of foods and caterpillars were determined daily.
- Food habits in overlapping habitats were significantly different between the two species (ANOVA p= 0.001). Food habits in non-overlapping habitats were not significantly different
(ANOVA p= 0.52). There were no differences in food preferences (ANOVA p= 0.76) or growth rates (ANOVA p= 0.88) on different foods in laboratory maintained populations.
- These species are able to coexist because they are not competing for the same, and limiting, food resources in the same area.
- These results support the theory of competitive exclusion because the two species did not use the same food resources from similar habitats.
(Some projects may not lend themselves to this format, so don't feel that you need to use this worksheet.)
Use one or two concise sentences to summarize the most important aspects of your project for each section listed below.
Introduction (What is this project about? Why is this project interesting or important?)
Hypothesis (What did you think you would find? Why?)
Methods (Briefly explain your procedure.)
Results (What did you find when you performed your experiment? Include relevant statistics.)
Discussion (Are your results consistent with your initial hypothesis? Why or why not?)
Conclusion (What is your interpretation of what these results mean? Why should anyone become excited about or interested in your findings?)
How To Write An Abstract was in part provided by Alaska Statewide High School Science
How To Write An Abstract was in part provided by Owl Purdue Online Writing Lab.
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