What is an abstract? One of the best ways of learning to write good abstracts is to look at other people's mistakes. Review the three abstracts below, and compare your reactions to our own comments.
Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) is an area which is rapidly expanding amongst Higher Education institutions as the power of available hardware rises facilitating new and innovative HE teaching and learning environments. The University Institute of recently allocated funds to stimulate a learning technology program which was generally intended to impinge on all 4 Faculties within the insititution. Each faculty was asked to bring forward, software development schemes and bids for equipment and other, necessary resources such as human resources, consumables, etc. The purpose of this paper is to describe the experience of a team of academics in the Department of French, School of Modern Languages within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies at the University Institute of in the development of a Computer-assisted learning software program. Funding was made available from a central source to develop and implement a software program to assist French language learners to acquire vocabulary in "an innovative and measurably effective manner". The software was implemented and tested on a cohort of level 2 students who had, in general, studied French for 8 years, and staff and students were consulted with regards to their reactions.
Permission to use this article is granted by Professor Gabriel Jacobs at the University of Swansea
Half the abstract is taken up with unnecessary background information about the funding. The full title of the department is unnecessary detail. All this is very wordy, and doesn't relate to what the paper is about. The "purpose" statement could be rephrased: "This paper describes the evaluation of a piece of software designed to assist the acquisition of French vocabulary with a group of level 2 students". There needs to be more description of the methodology – how many students? How was the testing done? What, precisely, was evaluated? What were the findings, and what are the implications of the findings? The language used is vague – what is meant by "other, necessary resources such as human resources, consumables, etc.", what was "demonstrably efficient" about the style of learning? What was the nature of the consultation with staff and students? There are also a number of grammatical errors, e.g. commas in the wrong places (substantiate, software development). "Mock posh" language is used, i.e. the reference to academics (don't need to use this word unless differentiating from administrators). In short, the abstract contains much information which is of only marginal importance, and merely repeats, almost word for word, what is in the body text; the syntax and punctuation is often defective, verbose and trying too hard to write in an "academic" manner. True of much of the paper.
Reviews the manufacturing and processing challenges involved in the later stages of the manufacture of large area full frontal wire mesh coating and describes some of the techniques employed by CSW Packaging Solutions.
This abstract is far too short and does not provide enough information about the paper. It describes the purpose of the paper and its main subject but gives us nothing on what was done (method) or on results. Specifically, it could have listed the "techniques" mentioned, provided some of the key criticisms and then gone on to implications for practice, i.e. recommendations.
In this article, research as "mass media" (Lerhmann) is appraised. "Videocy" or videoed research results are examined. A form of video research with its roots in action research, Cabalistic methodology and oral anthropology is reported on. The counterparts it produces, wherein disclosure loops are used to produce an effect similar to the fractalizations of reality, achieves a powerful simulation of reality. But is it a "responsible" form of (research) practice?
We are given the paper's purpose but nothing about the methodology and it doesn't explain the scope of the study. It's too short and last but not least, it leaves us with a question!! No summary or results or conclusions are given. An abstract shouldn't be like an advertisement or cliff hanger in a TV serial. The language is abstruse, it's not long enough, and out of context it's fairly meaningless.