Научная статья на тему 'Writing an abstract'

Writing an abstract Текст научной статьи по специальности «Языкознание и литературоведение»

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Аннотация научной статьи по языкознанию и литературоведению, автор научной работы — Yermoshkina Anastasia Alekseevna

This work discusses the principle issues of abstract structure and content, and gives the results of comparative analysis of abstracts, produced by the speakers of recent (March April, 2015) conferences E-merging Forum 5 and The 21st NATE-Russia International Conference.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Writing an abstract»



Yermoshkina Anastasia Alekseevna, Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don

E-mail: AnastasiaYerm@yandex.ru

Abstract. This work discusses the principle issues of abstract structure and content, and gives the results of comparative analysis of abstracts, produced by the speakers of recent (March - April, 2015) conferences E-merging Forum 5 and The 21st NATE-Russia International Conference.

Key words: abstract, research, analysis of abstracts. •

The principles of abstract writing are widely debated nowadays and are highlighted in the works of P. Koopman, H. Michaelson, E. Cremmins, C. Andrade, I. Eubanks. In this paper abstract is viewed as a condensed version of a longer report, representing the report's major elements through the key words, a version abbreviated in words, yet thorough and clear in the meaning. It is a stand-alone paragraph, including 250 words on average.

Why abstract is considered the integral component of any good paper? The main two reasons are: firstly, abstract draws attention to the work, readers decide whether they are interested in studying of it or not, it's the source of their first impression about the whole work; secondly, abstract helps readers to understand if the work is what they are searching for (that is why it is essential to use key words, while building the abstract - they are immediate markers of the work's key points).

An abstract is supposed to contain the following parts: title, motivation or introduction, problem statement, approach (methods), results, conclusion [1].

As well as D. L. Driscoll in her "Writing Report Abstracts" we support the idea of distinguishing abstracts between descriptive and informative ones. Both of them conform to the requirements implied by the definition of an abstract, but differ structurally.

Descriptive abstracts only introduce the subject to the reader, the parts "Results" and "Conclusion" are not included in an abstract's body, so readers have to read the paper to find out the results, conclusions and recommendations of the author. This

makes them best for non-technical papers. On the contrary, informative abstracts do not overlook these parts, reveal specific information and, thus, become best for technical papers [2].

In addition the significance of cohesion and coherence should be emphasized. Keep writing about the main subject matter, do not mention minor details - the reader will find them in the work. You are creating a message, where words are not only linked together, but every word is meaningful within the scope of the message.

The following part represents the results of our comparative analysis of abstracts. The research is based on the materials of E-merging Forum 5 and The 21st NATE-Russia International Conference, which took place in March and April 2015 respectively. The reports were prepared by teachers of English on the problems of linguistics and methodology of teaching. The sampling includes 65 abstracts: 30 from E-merging Forum and 20 from the NATE Conference written by Russian speakers in order to compare them with 15 randomly chosen abstracts produced by non-Russian speakers.

Firstly, we looked for the evidences of the statement: "Stylistically, "Russian" writing patterns favour deliberate complexity" [3]. More than a half of the abstracts (18 of which are found among the works of E-merging Forum) are characterised by obvious complexity, which proves the trend to be strong, but changing at the same time towards more simple pattern.

Secondly, the abstracts, written for the NATE Conference on the whole are shorter than those of E-merging Forum, and "Russian" abstracts are longer than those of their colleagues.

Thirdly, within the scope of our sampling only the participants of E-merging Forum used question form in their title or in the problem statement: 6 non-Russian speakers out of 10, and only 5 out of 30 Russian speakers. Consequently, we can claim the question form to be not relevant to the Russians.

Finally, all the abstracts comprised in the sampling could be defined as descriptive by nature, that is why problem issue and approach are quite clearly stated, but results are rather implied than put in a straightforward way.

As the example two abstracts of E-merging Forum's speakers are compared.

Table 1

Comparative characteristic of two abstracts

Herbert Puchta

Title: "Teaching Very Young Learners — What's Hot, and What Not"

Introduction: Teaching English to very young learners is becoming increasingly popular in many countries.

Problem statement: But what is the best starting age for learning a new language? And is starting young really better?

Approach: In this session, we will look at research into the optimal learner age and the Critical Period Hypothesis, and discuss why the critical voices concerning the teaching of English of very young learners in nonimmersion educational contexts need to be taken seriously. Basing our review on research evidence, we will look at the important

Implied results: principles we need to consider if we want early language learning programmes to be successful, and how we can put them into practice.

Anna Voronina

Title: "Dealing with Young Geniuses when teaching English to Very Young Learners"

Introduction: It is well known that one of the most important stages of teaching English is the pre-primary and primary school stage.

Problem statement: When young geniuses come to our classrooms it is very important to know how to deal with them, what instruments to use in order to develop their skills and abilities and how to make the whole process of learning exciting, motivating and effective.

Approach: Teachers will participate in this interactive workshop demonstrating and practicing different techniques of developing communicative skills in the pre-primary and primary classroom. We will try different tools of developing divergent thinking, teaching young children how to speak and write imaginatively. We can even use techniques for assessing their skills and knowledge creatively. And we will look at all of these techniques.

Another value of this workshop is that participants will share their own ideas and experience with their colleagues. Implied results: By the end of the workshop, participants will be more aware of methods and materials they can use when teaching English from the very first stage of learning in kindergarten and in the primary school classroom.

We hope our work will shed light on the main principles of abstract-writing, give you the idea of some peculiarities, that could be observed in today abstract-writing trends, and will help you to create your own work successfully.


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1. Philip Koopman. How to Write an Abstract. Carnegie Mellon University, 1997.

2. Dana Lynn Driscoll. Writing Report Abstracts [Electronic resource]. - URL: https:// owl.english.purdue .edu/

3. Flaitz, Jeffra, and Leslie Kosel Eckstein. Understanding your international students: an educational, cultural, and linguistic guide. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003.

4. LEO: Literacy Education Online. Writing Abstracts. 1998 [Electronic resource]. -URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/bizwrite/abstracts

5. Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Abstract writing // Western University, 2014 [Electronic resource]. - URL: http://www.schulich.uwo.ca/ familymedicine/ postgraduate/docs/curriculum/resident_project/writing_and_presenting/ Abstract_Writing.pdf.

6. San Francisco Edit. Ten Steps to Writing an Effective Abstract [Electronic resource]. -URL: http ://www.sfedit.net/abstract.pdf

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