LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Writing Abstracts

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a condensed version of a longer piece of writing that highlights the major points covered, concisely describes the content and scope of the writing, and reviews the writing's contents in abbreviated form.

What types of abstracts are typically used?

Two types of abstracts are typically used:

  1. Descriptive Abstracts

  2. Informative Abstracts

Why are abstracts so important?

The practice of using key words in an abstract is vital because of today's electronic information retrieval systems. Titles and abstracts are filed electronically, and key words are put in electronic storage. When people search for information, they enter key words related to the subject, and the computer prints out the titles of articles, papers, and reports containing those key words. Thus, an abstract must contain key words about what is essential in an article, paper, or report so that someone else can retrieve information from it.

Qualities of a Good Abstract

An effective abstract has the following qualities:

Steps for Writing Effective Abstracts

To write an effective abstract, follow these steps:

A Sample Abstract

PASM: A partitionable SIMD/MIMD System for Image Processing and Pattern Recognition

PASM, a large-scale multimicroprocessor system being designed at Purdue University for image processing and pattern recognition, is described. This system can be dynamically reconfigured to operate as one or more independent SIMD and/or MIMD machines. PASM consists of a parallel computation unit, which contains N processor, N memories, and an interconnection network; Q microcontrollers, each of which controls N/Q parallel secondary storage devices; a distributed memory management system; and a system control unit, to coordinate the other system components. Possible values for N and Q are 1024 and 16, respectively. The control schemes and memory management on PASM are explored. Examples of how PASM can be used to perform image processing tasks are given.

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LEO: Literacy Education Online

This page was originally written by Judith Kilborn for the Writing Lab at Purdue University; she revised it for LEO and the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. It may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/bizwrite/abstracts.html

Updated: 20 October 1998