Abstract and References Assignment
Due: December 7, 2004 (bring 4 copies to class)
A scholarly article of the kind you’re developing in this course
should always include both an Abstract and a References page. This assignment
will help you prepare both of these elements.
Write the Abstract for your research essay – follow guidelines below
and models from your research
An abstract is a 6-10 sentence overview of your research essay that is
separate from the actual essay and appears before the introduction. You
have likely seen abstracts in your research since most online databases
(like EBSCO) include an abstract. Also, almost all scholarly (peer-reviewed)
articles contain abstracts designed to help a reader quickly see the issues
the article addresses. Your abstract should be modeled on the kinds of
abstracts you see at the front of peer-reviewed articles.
Generally, an abstract contain 3 elements.
1) It identifies the general topic area in which the essay fits. Sometimes
this element is presented in the form of a “much of the research
on x is concerned with y” statement. Other times, it is more general
in the way it explains why the topic is important. This part of the abstract
helps show why the topic itself is important.
2) It explains how the approach the author takes is related to research
others have done. Often, this element of an abstract also explicitly states
how the author’s approach is both different from and better than
approaches taken by other scholars. This part of the abstract is a good
place to mention key concepts used to help interpret or analyze the topic.
(For example, “This essay uses O/W’s concept of a ‘racial
project’ to examine how…”)
3) It identifies the author’s main argument or findings. When the
essay reports research findings, it often includes statements like, “the
data show that…” Mostly, we’ll be developing positions,
interpretations, or “arguments” in our essays. In this case,
we’ll have a section of the abstract that explains in 1-2 sentences
just what the argument or interpretation looks like. Generally, this material
is extracted from a combination of the thesis statement and the conclusion.
Get your References page as correct as you can possibly get it. Bring
this version to class with you.
You know about the references page because it is an important part of
APA citation style. You’ve been writing References pages since the
Objective Synthesis assignment. Before handing in your final research
draft, however, you want to make sure you get that References page 100%
correct – commas, periods, parentheses, capitalization, underline,