writing-tips - Some tips on how to write and organize a...

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Some tips on how to write and organize a technical paper The Abstract “An abstract is an accurate representation of the contents of a document in an abbreviated form” (Porush 75). An abstract can be the most difficult part of the research report to write because in it you must introduce your subject matter, tell what was done, and present selected results, all in one short (about 150 words) paragraph. As a result, you should usually write the abstract last. An abstract serves an important function in a research report: it communicates the scope of your paper and the topics discussed to your reader it facilitates research it helps other researcher locate materials that are relevant to their research from among published papers, and many times researchers will only read a paper’s abstract in order to determine whether the paper will be relevant to them. Considering your audience and their needs will help you to determine what should be included in your abstract. Ask yourself: Why would another researcher be interested in this research? What are the most important aspects of the research? What should a reader be sure to know about the research? What information will the reader need to have in order to understand the most important aspects? What are the main points from each section of your report? Summarize each section in one sentence, if possible. Be sure to summarize rather than describe your report in an informative abstract. Phrases such as “This report discusses” or “Several solutions are considered” describe what the content of the report will be rather than actually summarizing the report’s main points or solutions. Someone reading your informative abstract should have a clear, albeit limited, understanding of the scope and nature of your research, as well as the conclusions you reach. The following abstract, from an article titled “Are Green Lots Worth More Than Brown Lots? An Economic Incentive For Erosion Control On Residential Developments,” was published in Soil and Water Conservation . In 147 words, this abstract clearly and concisely conveys the main points from the seven- page article that follows it. Notice how
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the abstract clearly summarizes information from each of the report’s major sections: Construction sites are major contributors to nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. However, a lack of personnel to enforce erosion control regulations and limited voluntary compliance means that few developers apply effective erosion control. New approaches are needed to increase erosion control on construction sites if this source of NPS pollution is to be significantly reduced. This study tests whether an economic advantage exists for developers who use vegetative cover for erosion control, independent of advantages gained in addressing environmental or regulatory concerns. Improving residential appearance from muddy brown to green grass may increase the
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This note was uploaded on 05/29/2010 for the course CS 556 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Colorado State.

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writing-tips - Some tips on how to write and organize a...

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