Research Question/Thesis/Abstract

Printer friendly version: Question, Thesis, Abstract Guidelines

Due Date:  9 Nov 2016

An abstract summarizes the main idea(s) of your paper in order to inform readers of the content of a longer paper.  Before writing your abstract you must decide on your research question and thesis statement.  In class you will generate numerous research questions to narrow down to one question about which you will generate a thesis and for which you will develop support in your longer paper.

Purpose:  To clarify your research question and thesis statement; to briefly summarize the content of your research paper.

Audience:  Your instructor

Voice:  Academic, knowledgeable

Length of Abstract:  250 words

Format:  List your topic, research question, and thesis statement before your abstract.

Documentation: APA

Note:  A well-defined research question typically asks “how,” “do,” “what,” or “why” questions.  

Abstract Guidelines:  (Adapted from Carolyn Handa’s promissory abstract assignment in English 102.)

  1. Your abstract will summarize your paper so succinctly and accurately that your readers can infer from the abstract the essential content of the longer paper.
  2. This abstract is a device for organizing your ideas; it is preliminary and flexible, a working sketch, and it may very well be substantially revised or discarded when you complete your paper.
  3. Your abstract will sketch out your paper and will include the following:
      • The main idea (thesis/argument/hypothesis) you want to present; note all the possible points you might want to make about that thesis.
      • Sources and examples that you might use to illustrate your thesis.
      • A statement(s) that proposes why your paper is worth presenting or why an audience would be interested in reading or listening to what you have to say.
      • Consider these questions as you write      your abstract:  What are you going      to say?  Who needs to know it?  What is the information good for?

Grading:  I will grade this assignment based on the above guidelines, as well as grammar, punctuation, and clarity of writing. This assignment will be averaged into your class participation grade.

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