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Writing Report Abstracts


This handout discusses how to write good abstracts for reports. It covers informational and descriptive abstracts and gives pointers for success.

Contributors:Dana Lynn Driscoll
Last Edited: 2013-03-12 09:58:07

Types of abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: informational and descriptive.

Informational abstracts

Descriptive abstracts

Qualities of a good abstract

An effective abstract

Steps for writing effective report abstracts

To write an effective report abstract, follow these four steps.

  1. Reread your report with the purpose of abstracting in mind. Look specifically for these main parts: purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations.

  2. After you have finished rereading your report, write a rough draft without looking back at your report. Consider the main parts of the abstract listed in step #1. Do not merely copy key sentences from your report. You will put in too much or too little information. Do not summarize information in a new way.

  3. Revise your rough draft to

    • Correct weaknesses in organization and coherence,

    • Drop superfluous information,

    • Add important information originally left out,

    • Eliminate wordiness, and

    • Correct errors in grammar and mechanics.

  4. Carefully proofread your final copy.

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