The abstract

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The title, the abstract, the introduction, the literature review, the methodology, the results, the discussion, and the conclusion. Depending on the journal you send your article to, the abstract length can vary a lot. And here again, I advise you to look carefully at the abstract of journals you want to publish in to imitate the style and understand the constriction.

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Hi everyone, my name’s Arno, and we are going to talk about the abstract now. Remember what Eloise told you, an article is composed of different part. The title, the abstract, the introduction, the literature review, the methodology, the results, the discussion, and the conclusion. So now let’s talk about the abstract. The abstract is really essential to your paper, as people are often going to read just this one section. The chief editor is probably going to focus on that part. One, he’s going read briefly, your article, before he agrees or not, to send it to reviewers. And your peers in the scientific community will read that part and will decide if it is worth reading. They are going to evaluate your paper by looking at the abstract. It should be possible simply by reading your abstract to know the so-what of your paper. And it should be possible for a reader not familiar with the specific subject to understand it. This is not very easy, but fear not, we are here to help. Depending on the journal you send your article to, the abstract length can vary a lot. Usually it’s lengths range between 100 and 200 words. Better also some papers with very tiny abstract, 40 words, or even no abstract. So you will have to adapt to the type of journal you want to publish in. And here again, I advise you to look carefully at the abstract of journals you want to publish in to imitate the style and understand the constriction. The abstract is a key component of an article. It is a preface, it sums up everything you are going to write about after. You can write your at abstract first, it might seem inadequate because it looks like nothing you want to write, but writing it will help you write your whole article. The idea is that you will use your abstract as a map for what you will talk about later on. You are going to use your abstract as a construction map in order to build-up your article. It will define and answer the principle questions your article will be about. And then after writing the whole paper down, you should always come back to your abstract and make sure that what you wrote was exactly what you wanted to write about in the beginning. And that you focused on the things that really matters. If needed, you should then make changes so that abstract really fits the paper. To help you build the abstract, you can always come back to the MRCI framework Eloise showed you before. The idea is to answer specific type of questions that are relevant for the structure of your paper. And more importantly, for the structure of your abstract. You can help yourself with a set of questions. Who are the intended readers? What did you do? Why did you do it? What happened when you did that? What do your results mean in practice and in theory? What are the key benefits for the readers? What remains unsolved? These questions will definitively help you build your article, but more importantly, they’re going to help you define, first motivation of your article, then the results, contribution and the implication of your own research. A preliminary question is the first one. Knowing the intended readers is important as depending on the journal, the abstract is going to be more or less specific. If you write for science, your abstract is not going to be specific at all, but very general, not going too deep in details. On the other hand, if you write for a specific journal, let’s say the Journal of Organic Chemistry, you are going to write a more specific abstract, with a more explicit result and exemplification. Then, y ou just need to answer all the questions with a short answer. One to two sentences, and compile everything into a tiny paragraph, and the abstract is done. Easy, isn’t it? You need to talk at first of the motivation and the so-what of your article. That will make people consider reading your article in the first place. Then, you need to describe a little bit more precisely your subject. Defining how your research has done something important. In other word, defining the methodology you are going to apply to the specific question raised before. Next, you need to discuss briefly of your results. And finally, you need to put your result in the context and explain why they were important. Again, look at the questions and answer them carefully, they will help you. The last question concerning the unsolved issues, might as well appear on your abstract, depending on your field. And as well, depending on the journal you send the article to. You may want to put some concerning your work or the future development possible for your work. All of this is pretty easy, but you have to be careful to answer very clearly and very simply, every question. Every one of them is important. And most importantly, you should always consider the question, when writing your paper, what are the key benefits for the readers? This question is a central theme to all your paper, as it will be the leading point that drives your writing. Remember that you are publishing something, and by doing so, you want to appeal to your readers. Look just at the title and some abstract of papers in your field. Do you feel attracted to these papers? What should they improve about the abstract? It is by looking at other abstracts that you will be more and more capable of writing a good abstract. Thank you for listening at this section about the abstract, and good luck with your work. The next section will talk about the final tips for writing your article.

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