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Module 11: Refining Your Abstract

You are almost done!!!

You have written your Introduction, Methodology, Analysis and Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations.   Now all that you need to do is complete the beginning and the end of your Literature Review.  You need to complete your Abstract and your References.

Abstract

You have been reading abstracts forever.  These are the short, 150-word descriptions that give you a brief description of the contents of the article.  Within this short passage, you expect to find the topic, purpose, methodology and conclusions. This provides a usable overview for researchers.

Your abstract should follow the same structure as your review:
  1. Describe the topic in one sentence;
  2. Explain the purpose, thesis or organizing construct and the scope of the article;
  3. List the sources used; and
  4. Review the conclusions.
The best way to evaluate the completeness of an abstract is by asking yourself if it tells enough about the article for a researcher to read and decide whether this article will be useful for her research.

Here is an example of a good abstract that follows the outline above:

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be used to create differentiated learning environments. This review examines the effects of Universal Design for Learning on student achievement in a secondary school setting. Seven peer-reviewed research studies and one doctoral dissertation published between 2002-2010 were selected for analysis. The reviewed research studies indicated that students tended to perform better when material was presented through a multitude of channels and students were given a choice of methods for demonstrating proficiency. Future research into using UDL in the K-12 curriculum was recommended. (88 words)

Did it accomplish what was intended?  Please note that it is only 88 words.

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