Write a Good Assignment AbstractTuesday, June 1st, 2010
Assignment abstracts summarize your work
If your teacher or an examiner has asked you to hand in a written assignment, they may as well ask for its abstract. It is a brief summary of a paper, essay, dissertation or article, used to help potential readers to get the general purpose of the whole work. While the extension of the abstract may vary, it rarely takes more than a page. The abstract is supposed to be easily readable and very clear. If you are wondering what are you supposed to write in your assignment abstract, we may provide you some clues.
Why should I write an abstract?
Well, because you were asked to do so, of course! Besides, abstracts have more than one purpose: first, they summarize for yourself the key points in your written assignment; second, they show the examiner you are able to synthesize your work, distinguishing the main information from the secondary; last but not least, abstracts provide readers with the methodology and key arguments or points of your work, even if they don’t get to read it all.
This is because the assignment abstract is a way of communicating academic research in few words, so many can learn about them from reading this brief summary. Keep in mind that publications, Internet, events, academic conferences, all these are contexts where an abstract could to be published.
How to write the abstract?
Assignment abstracts should include the main keywords of the paper, in order to introduce the reader in the topic as well as the academic field. Briefly, your abstract could include the research focus and methods, as well as the results of the research and its conclusion. If your written assignment poses a question and an answer, this should be the organization of your abstract as well: state your question, state your answer, and summarize your argument. Be direct, be brief and be clear.
Think that, when you are writing your assignment abstract, you should think about an audience of people who is likely to read the abstract but not the assignment itself –your classmates, for example-.
When shall I write the abstract?
Some students get stuck at the beginning of their work since they feel they should write the abstract first of all. Others find very difficult to summarize a very extended written assignment in just a paragraph or two. That is why it is recommended to write the assignment and the abstract simultaneously and allow them to influence each other. First sketch one, then write a first draft of the other. While your argument and conclusion take shape, you will find easier to state them briefly for your abstract. And, if you could express the main point is few words, you will find it easier to expand these ideas in your assignment body paragraphs. You may also find out that the abstract reveals the flaws in your assignment, and then you can work it out. Writing a better abstract will result in writing a better assignment. After you are done with both, make sure to proofread them and check if they are properly aligned.