How to Write an Abstract

Below are a few guidelines for writing an abstract.

  • General model—introductory sentences saying what it’s all about; explanatory sentences saying how you’re analyzing it and why this matters, concluding sentences saying what we’ve learned by the end of the project. Do not use future tense, “I will analyze….”
  • Titles tend to be “Something evocative: What it’s really about in plain language” but don’t need to be.
  • Do not call it a paper. OK to call it a project, thesis, essay, etc.
  • Avoid pejorative or obscene language if possible.
  • Do not put parenthetical citations in the abstract.
  • Clarity and concision are good things.
  • About 250 words ideal.

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