The scientific abstract and proposal summaries
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The Scientific Abstract and Proposal Summaries. Types of Summaries. Title Table of Contents Outline Executive summary Scientific abstract Proposal summary. Properties of the Scientific Abstract. It’s short Does not use first person

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Types of Summaries

  • Title

  • Table of Contents

  • Outline

  • Executive summary

  • Scientific abstract

  • Proposal summary


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Properties of the Scientific Abstract

  • It’s short

  • Does not use first person

  • Usually written as a single paragraph (unless it is an “extended abstract”)

  • Written for the same audience as the article (same level of technical language)

  • Summarizes the major points of the methods, results, conclusions

  • Does not include bibliographic citations


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When are abstracts used?

  • Journal articles

  • Conference proceedings

  • Book chapters of edited, compendium volumes


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How is an abstract written?

  • First identify the major points from the article

  • Next, determine what information is crucial to establish those points

  • Write down the conclusions

  • Rewrite all of the above in narrative form in the following order:

    • Introductory statement

    • Research methodology

    • Results or other main points

    • Concluding statement that explains the meaning of the results


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The Extended Abstract

It’s like a mini-paper

  • Often used for conference proceedings

  • Exceeds one page

  • Has headings

  • Can contain figures, bibliographic citations, acknowledgements


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Active vs. Passive Voice?

  • Active: “We measured surface roughness using airborne laser altimetry”

  • Passive “Surface roughness was measured using airborne laser altimetry”

    Rule of thumb:

  • Use active voice unless the passive form will save on the number of words


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Index Terms

  • These are the keywords that typically follow the abstract

  • They are used by library and journal search engines (not Google-style)

  • The terms should exactly match terms that are used in the abstract

  • They should be specific

  • Typically you’ll want to choose 4-10 terms


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The Proposal Summary

  • A one-page summary

  • Use non-technical language that can be understood by a well-educated non-scientist

  • The summary should follow the same organizational format as the proposal itself and can be used as a roadmap for what follows

  • Use separate sections with headings

  • Avoid using first person


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