A few things to know, in general, about abstracts:
1. Abstracts are written in present tense--like you write about literature, it's always happening at that moment.
2. The first sentence or two identifies what your argument is--it's a hypothesis, sure, because this is the start of project not the end of it, but you say it like you know your argument is right.
3. You need to include a sentence or two about why you think this is true--this could be a place to bring in a quote or two from an outside source--it's like saying, I believe X and one of the reasons I believe X is because these other very smart people think something similar to X.
4. You need to include a sentence or two about methodology--this you should be able to do in your sleep at this point.
5. You conclude with a sentence about significance--why is this research valuable in the world. Now, I know, you aren't curing cancer, but you want to convey why we should care about what you are telling us.
A few things to think about as it relates to your final project:
- Most of the folks I talked with today are re-looking at their midterm project. For you folks, keep in mind that this is not just a revision, it's an expansion or a re-looking at the data you got at midterm with a tweaked question. Your data collection should lead you to a more nuanced question that you are trying to answer. That's what will make a successful final project out of an existing midterm project.
- To that end, you might look at Bhattacharya's example qualitative research project that she conducted for her class. Remember how she demonstrates to us how by asking a different kind of question you treat your data and data collection differently. How will you either look at the data you have already collected differently for the final project and/or how will you collect new data to thicken up your project?
- If you are doing an entirely new project, be clear about the scope of your project--or, rather, the possibility for the scope of your project given the time you have.
Instructions for Posting & Responding. Once you've worked through the feedback: I gave you during our meeting on Monday, post your finalized (for now) abstract. Once everyone has posted, please read your colleague's post and reply to more than one of your colleagues with one piece of constructive feedback--it could be a question about their argument or how they intend to prove it. It could be a question of clarification (In our conferences I often asked what a writer meant by a word or phrase--clarity and precision are vital in an abstract).