WRITING AN ABSTRACT –
By
Obiakoeze, Onyeka Joshua,October, 2014

It is one thing to complete a good research work and another to place its value on high demand. Just like in production, except a product is well marketed, its quality cannot be predicted. Marketing draws the attention of the prospective consumer first before a trial will be considered and then the salability of such good. As a mark of high necessity, the abstract of every research work should be able to draw any reader’s interest to insist on purchasing the complete material. In this dispensation, e-journals have become the best way to reach a wider audience and only the quality of a researcher’s abstract has the capacity of selling the research material.
This blog post therefore concentrates on how best to present a good abstract. Let us take a glance on some basics;
DEFINITION
An abstract in a simple form can be understood to be a summarized write-up that is complete enough to represent the full work in view, (no more, no less). This abstract should be able to highlight key contents of the enabling the reader predict the expectations from the journal. Nevertheless, as informative as an abstract can be, the writer should be careful not to use high vocabularies nor end up on a lengthy write-up with unnecessary extensions.
FEATURES OF A GOOD ABSTRACT

  1. Precise: A good abstract has to correctly reproduce the purpose and subjects of the work in view. It does not have to include neither irrelevant information nor points that are not contained in the work. I can advise that the headings of the research work should be noted and used as guide in verifying the exactness of the abstract. In a case where the research work is either a replication or an extension of an existing research, the author’s (initials and family name) must be cited with the year of publication.

  2. Brief and definite: Every sentence  used has to be as revealing as possible, most especially the first the lead sentence. And it should be as brief as possible such that the total length of the whole abstract should not exceed 150 words (in estimation).

COMPONENTS OF AN ABSTRACT
In as much as an abstract does not need to be lengthy, it should be able to well represent the complete material in view. That is to say that every major point in the work must be represented in either a sentence or two. The following components are the specifications that can be used for check when writing an abstract;

INTRODUCTION:
This is the first part of the abstract that introduces the motivation or intention of the research in general. This has to come first to be able to captivate the reader and gradually lead to the problem of the research.
PROBLEM STATEMENT:
Is the research trying to solve a problem? Is your scope of work generalized or specified to a particular situation? You will need to avoid too many stories, just go ahead and state it in one sentence. Sometimes, it is better to bring the problem statement then the motivation can follow.
METHODOLOGY:
What method did you use in solving the problem? It could be the use of field data, simulation, analysis or prototype construction. They need to be stated all in a sentence with the variables after the problem statement.
FINDINGS:
What are your findings? Be careful not to use ambiguous statements, it is ok to put the figures obtained specifically, yes, Put the result there, in numbers.
CONCLUSIONS:
What inferences can be drawn from your answer? Can your result be potentially generalized or is it limited to the particular case of study? It has to be stated.

 

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