The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
Writing Scientific Reports

The Abstract

The guidelines below address issues to consider when writing an abstract

What is the report about, in miniature and without specific details?

  • State main objectives. (What did you investigate? Why?)
  • Describe methods. (What did you do?)
  • Summarize the most important results. (What did you find out?)
  • State major conclusions and significance. (What do your results mean? So what?)

What to avoid:

  1. Do not include references to figures, tables, or sources.
  2. Do not include information not in report.

Additional tips:

  1. Find out maximum length (may vary from 50 to 300+ words).
  2. Process: Extract key points from each section. Condense in successive revisions.