What is an abstract?
An abstract is a summary of an entire paper or presentation.
Key parts of an abstract
Abstracts for the Graduate Interdisciplinary Forum are limited to 1350 characters (including spaces) thus placing a demand on the author to make every word and sentence meaningful.
The title should command the reader’s attention and be informative and descriptive of the research, as it will often be referenced alone. Regardless of the discipline, an abstract of a research paper, presentation, or poster session has as key elements:
- The purpose of the research
- Methods for discovery
- Results of the research
Writing best practices
Remember that this is an interdisciplinary forum and many readers may not be familiar with your area of expertise. Technical terms are acceptable, but do not use a lot of jargon. Space does not permit an abundance of supporting rationale so be focused and concise.
Once the purpose is explained, describe the primary method or approach used to achieve the objective. Emphasize materials and procedures needed to understand the outcome of the work. Summarize the research results by pointing out the salient findings. To the extent possible, use specific data rather than generalizations. Connect these results to their source in terms of experimental design or procedures and indicate statistical or interpretive significance, as appropriate.
While it is impossible to assimilate all results, it is essential to extract and highlight the most important outcomes. It is unacceptable to only state: “The results will be discussed.” End the abstract by stating conclusions or potential ramifications of the findings. Also, be sure to mention any funding for your research, such as thesis funding from the Graduate College.
Your abstract should be formatted according to the following standards for the Interdisciplinary Forum:
- Times New Roman 12 point font
- Single spaced and left justification
- No more than 1350 characters long, including spaces
- Title should be no more than 175 characters, including spaces
The Graduate College hosts workshops throughout the year about writing abstracts and presenting research. For more information, contact the Graduate College (836-5335) or Thomas Tomasi, Associate Dean of the Graduate College, at TomTomasi@missouristate.edu .