Written Summaries of Your Research


At some stage of your work, you will likely find yourself having to write abstracts of your research.  Journal articles, especially in the sciences, often begin with an abstract of the work; conferences require presenters to submit abstracts of their proposed papers; even grant and job applications require summaries of your research.  But what makes a good abstract?  And how do you go about writing one?  This blog post will cover some of the differences between abstracts written for different purposes, offer some basic stylistic rules to keep in mind, and link you to further resources on writing abstracts of your research.

Written Summaries of Your Research

The Department of Energy, Office of Science’s Research Abstract Rubric

Purdue Online Writing Lab’s Step-by-Step guide to writing scientific research abstracts

How_to_Summarize_a_Research_Article (a more general guide)

Further resource links from the University of Texas

The University of Wisconsin’s Writing Center: General advice on abstracts, and examples of abstracts from research in a number of different fields


Effective Reading Strategies

Use the time you spend reading more effectively. This workshop teaches you such techniques as active reading and knowing when to skim and when to read deeply. It will addresses matters of comprehension and retention.

How to decide if you need to scan, skim, or read the document:

SCAN if you are looking for only one detail or the main idea.

SKIM if you need to read quickly for key words and sentences in order to get a general idea

READ (and reread) if you need to understand all or most of the text.