An abstract is an abbreviated version of your science fair project final report. For most science fairs it is limited to a maximum of 250 words (check the rules for your competition). The science fair project abstract appears at the beginning of the report as well as on your display board.
Your science fair project abstract lets people quickly determine if they want to read the entire report. Consequently, at least ten times as many people will read your abstract as any other part of your work. It''''''''s like an advertisement for what you''''''''ve done. If you want judges and the public to be excited about your science fair project, then write an exciting, engaging abstract!
Tuesdays I will occasionally feature “How-To(sday)” posts, short guides to certain genres of academic writing. I’m happy to take requests for these. Just email me at [email protected]
Today we look at the paper/conference proposal abstract. This is a critical genre of writing for scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Usually between 200 and 500 words long, it is a short abstract that describes research/a talk/a journal article that you are GOING to write. This is in contrast to the abstract of the research/dissertation/article that you have already written.
We also strongly recommend that authors read a few issues of the journal to which they wish to submit, to obtain a sense of the level, length and readership of the journal. Looking at the print issue, or at PDFs in the online edition, is particularly useful for details such as presentation of figures or style of reference numbering. (All NPG journals have a free online issue of the journal for those who do not subscribe or have site-licence access, which can be accessed via the journal s about web page.)
Nature journals are international, so in writing a paper, authors should consider those readers for whom English is a second language. The journals are read mainly by professional scientists, so authors can avoid unnecessary simplification or didactic definitions. However, many readers are outside the immediate discipline of the author(s), so clarity of expression is needed to achieve the goal of comprehensibility. (See the section below for links to some websites that provide writing help and advice.)