The abstract is "the heart of your paper" (Lebrun, 2007). It should say: "We did. We saw. We concluded" (Katz, 2006). It is "a mini version of the paper...[and provides] a brief summary of each of the main sections of the paper. It should not exceed 250 words and...should be typed as a single paragraph" (Day, 1998).
Day (1998) classifies abstracts into two types: the "informative abstract...designed to condense the paper" and the "indicative (sometimes called a descriptive abstract)...designed to indicate the subjects dealt with in a paper."
Lebrun (2007) enumerates the qualities of a good abstract:
Day (1998), however, says that the abstract is "written in the past tense, because it refers to work done."
He also lists the purpose of abstracts for readers (Lebrun, 2007):
Lebrun (2007) also lists the purpose of an abstract for the writer:
He also points out what an abstract should NOT do (Lebrun, 2007):
Day (1998) adds that the abstract "should never give any information or conclusion that is not stated in the paper."
He describes the parts of the abstract and what these should do (Day, 1998):
Lebrun (2007) says that these four parts should answer the following questions:
I culled from the references some tips for my students on how to write the abstract:
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