LibParlor Contributor, Allison Hosier, discusses how writing an abstract first can help clarify what you are currently talking about.
Allison Hosier is an Information Literacy Librarian in the University at Albany, SUNY. She’s got presented and published on research pertaining to practical applications associated with ACRL Framework for Information Literacy as part of information literacy instruction. Her research that is current is on examining the metaconcept that scientific studies are both an action and a topic of study. Follow her on Twitter at @ahosier.
In 2012, I attended a few workshops for new faculty on how to write very first article that is peer-reviewed step-by-step. These workshops were loosely predicated on Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks by Wendy Laura Belcher.
Our first assignment? Write the abstract for our article.
These tips was shocking in my opinion therefore the other new scholars in the room at that time. Write the abstract first? Wasn’t that the right part that has been designed to come last? How do the abstract is written by you in the event that you don’t even know yet exactly what your article is likely to be about?
We have since come to treat this as the utmost piece that is useful of advice I have ever received. To such an extent that I constantly attempt to spread the term to many other scholars that I meet, both new and experienced. However, whenever I share this piece of wisdom, I discover that I am generally regarded with polite skepticism, especially by those who strongly believe that your introduction (never as your abstract) is best written during the final end regarding the process instead of in the beginning. That is fair. What realy works for just one person won’t necessarily work for another. But i wish to share why I think you start with the abstract is advantageous.
Me establish early on exactly what question I’m trying to answer and why it’s worth answering.“For me, starting with the abstract at the very beginning gets the added bonus of helping”
For almost any piece of scholarly or professional writing I have ever written (including this one!), I started by writing the abstract. In doing this, I follow a format suggested by Philip Koopman of Carnegie Mellon University, that we happened upon through a Google search. His recommendation is the fact that an abstract should include five parts, paraphrased below:
To be clear, once I say that I write the abstract at the start of the writing process, after all the very beginning. Generally, it’s first thing i actually do before I try to do a literature review after I have an idea I think might be worth pursuing, even. This differs from Belcher’s recommendation, which can be to write the abstract once the step that is first of revision rather than the first step of this writing process but I think the huge benefits that Belcher identifies (a way to clarify and distill your thinking) are the same in either case. Me establish early on exactly what question I’m trying to answer and why it’s worth answering for me, starting with the abstract at the very beginning has the added bonus of helping. In addition think it is beneficial to start thinking in what my approach would be, at least in general terms, before I start therefore I have a feeling of how I’m going to go about answering my big question.
So now you’re probably wondering: if this part comes www.essay-writing.org/ at the very beginning of this writing process, how can you write on the results and conclusions? You can’t understand what those will be and soon you’ve actually done the research.
“…writing the abstract first commits you to nothing. It’s just a way to organize and clarify your thinking.”
It’s true that your particular results while the conclusions you draw from them will likely not actually be known until such time you involve some real data to do business with. But keep in mind that research should possess some sort of hypothesis or prediction. Stating everything you think the total results will likely be in early stages is an easy method of forming your hypothesis. Thinking by what the implications will undoubtedly be in case the hypothesis is proven can help you think of why your projects shall matter.
Exactly what if you’re wrong? What if the answers are very different? Imagine if other facets of your research change as you are going along? Imagine if you want to change focus or replace your approach?
You certainly can do all of those things. In reality, We have done all those things, even with writing the abstract first. Because writing the abstract commits that are first to nothing. It’s just a way to arrange and clarify your thinking.
Let me reveal an draft that is early of abstract for “Research is an Activity and a Subject of Study: A Proposed Metaconcept and its own Practical Application,” an article I wrote that was recently accepted by College & Research Libraries:
Motivation: As librarians, the transferability of information literacy across one’s academic, professional, and private life is not hard to understand but students often are not able to observe how the skills and concepts they learn as an element of an information literacy lesson or course might apply to anything aside from the immediate research assignment.
Problem: a good reason because of this might be that information literacy librarians give attention to teaching research as an activity, a strategy that has been well-supported by the Standards. Further, the procedure librarians teach is certainly one associated primarily with just one genre of research—the college research essay. The Framework allows more flexibility but librarians might not be using it yet. Approach: Librarians might reap the benefits of teaching research not only as an activity, but as a topic of study, as it is through with writing in composition courses where students first study a genre of writing and its rhetorical context before trying to write themselves.
Results: Having students study various kinds of research may help make sure they are alert to the numerous forms research might take and could improve transferability of data literacy skills and concepts.
Conclusions: Finding methods to portray research as not only a task but additionally as a topic of study is much more on the basis of the new Framework.
This might be probably the time that is first looked at this since I originally wrote it. It’s a little messy and as I worked and began to receive feedback, first from colleagues and mentors, then from peer reviewers and editors while I recognize the article I eventually wrote in the information here, my focus did shift significantly.
For comparison, this is actually the abstract that appears in the preprint for the article, which can be scheduled to be published in 2019 january:
Information literacy instruction on the basis of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for advanced schooling has a tendency to concentrate on basic research skills. However, research is not only an art but also a subject of study. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for advanced schooling opens the door to integrating the study of research into information literacy instruction via its acknowledgement associated with contextual nature of research. This article introduces the metaconcept that scientific studies are both a task and a topic of study. The effective use of this metaconcept in core LIS literature is discussed and a model for incorporating the scholarly study of research into information literacy instruction is suggested.
So obviously the published abstract is a complete lot shorter as it necessary to fit within C&RL’s guidelines. It doesn’t proceed with the recommended format exactly nonetheless it does reflect an evolution in thinking that happened included in the writing and revision process. The article I ended up with was not the article I started with. That’s okay.
Then how come writing the abstract first useful if you’re just planning to throw it out later? Given that it focuses your research and writing through the start that is very. I only knew that in reading Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, I had found significant parallels between their work and information literacy when I first came up with the idea for my article. I wanted to create about this but I only had a vague feeling of the things I wished to say. Writing the abstract first forced me to articulate my ideas in a real way that made clear not just why this topic was of interest for me but how maybe it’s significant towards the profession all together.