An abstract is a short summary of your completed research. If done well, it makes the reader want to learn more about your research.These are the basic components of an abstract in any discipline:

1) Motivation/problem statement: Why do we care about the problem? What practical, scientific, theoretical or artistic gap is your research filling?

2) Methods/procedure/approach: What did you actually do to get your results? (e.g. analyzed 3 novels, completed a series of 5 oil paintings, interviewed 17 students)

3) Results/findings/product: As a result of completing the above procedure, what did you learn/invent/create?

4) Conclusion/implications: What are the larger implications of your findings, especially for the problem/gap identified in step 1?

However, it’s important to note that the weight accorded to the different components can vary by discipline. For models, try to find abstracts of research that is similar to your research.

Below are links and sample abstracts that you may find helpful.



“How the Languages We Speak Shape the Ways we Think”

Author: Lera Boroditsky

How do the languages we speak shape the ways we think? Do languages merely express thoughts, or do the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express? Do speakers of different languages think differently? Does learning new languages change the way you think? Do bilinguals think differently when speaking different languages? Language is a uniquely human gift. When we study language, we are uncovering in part what makes us human, getting a peek at the very nature of human nature. I will present data from around the world showing how the structures in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality and help make us as smart and sophisticated as we are.

History/social science:

“Their War”: The Perspective of the South Vietnamese Military in Their Own Words

Author: Julie Pham

Despite the vast research by Americans on the Vietnam War, little is known about the perspective of South Vietnamese military, officially called the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF). The overall image that emerges from the literature is negative: lazy, corrupt, unpatriotic, apathetic soldiers with poor fighting spirits. This study recovers some of the South Vietnamese military perspective for an American audience through qualitative interviews with 40 RVNAF veterans now living in San José, Sacramento, and Seattle, home to three of the top five largest Vietnamese American communities in the nation. An analysis of these interviews yields the veterans’ own explanations that complicate and sometimes even challenge three widely held assumptions about the South Vietnamese military: 1) the RVNAF was rife with corruption at the top ranks, hurting the morale of the lower ranks; 2) racial relations between the South Vietnamese military and the Americans were tense and hostile; and 3) the RVNAF was apathetic in defending South Vietnam from communism. The stories add nuance to our understanding of who the South Vietnamese were in the Vietnam War. This study is part of a growing body of research on non-American perspectives of the war. In using a largely untapped source of Vietnamese history — oral histories with Vietnamese immigrants — this project will contribute to future research on similar topics.


Violence, Subalternity, and El Corrido Along the US/Mexican Border

Author: Roberto Hernandez

The geopolitical divide that separates the United States and Mexico has long plagued the region with violence and conflict. However, its extent and political nature is often overshadowed and undermined by mainstream information outlets. The boundary inspires polarized reactions: tough on crime/immigration rhetoric from politicians and enforcement officials — exemplified in current border militarization — and appeasement through feel-good news reporting. Such contradictions desensitize and deny the essence and root cause of the conflict — an ongoing sociopolitical, cultural, and economic struggle between the two nations. While information transmission in the north has a U.S. focus, south of the divide knowledge distribution is very Mexico-centered. However, the border region acts as a third space that gives birth to a distinct border gnosis, a unique form of knowledge construction among subaltern communities on both its sides. One form of subalternity, corridos, (border folk ballads), has functioned to create an alternative discourse to the borderlands imaginary. This study is an examination of the analysis and critique found in corridos that seek a critical approach to the violence at the nations’ shared edges and its ensuing political implications. To illustrate their subaltern function, I will examine two incidents: the 1984 McDonalds shooting in San Ysidro, California, and the 1997 death of Ezequiel Hernández in Redford, Texas. These cases are indicative of the politically charged environment of a border region that in becoming an increasingly militarized zone has also set the stage for a cultural battle amongst different forms of knowledge construction and legitimation.

More Sample Undergraduate Research Abstracts in the Arts, Humanities, Science and Social Science:


One Response to HOW TO WRITE AN ABSTRACT: Links and Tips

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