You might ask yourself why you need to write abstracts for this class.

A woman wondering why she has to write an abstract.
Why do I need to write an abstract?

In this class, I’m having you write abstracts so that you will have some practice at it. Chances are that as a junior or senior science or engineering major, you’ll need to start writing abstracts soon.

The abstract also lets me as an instructor see if your final results are what we were expecting.

A good abstract also shows that you understand the purpose of the lab.

The abstracts in your lab reports won’t be as elaborate as one you would find for a conference or in a journal.  

You’ll spend one to three hours doing a lab experiment in this class. For a research class, you’ll work over several weeks as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, a paper may include research you do over several months or years.

Needless to say, you typically won’t have long abstracts for your lab reports.

Writing an abstract also gives you a chance to think about the “big picture”. You’ll need to tie together the actions you performed, the results you found, and the context of the experiment.

Make sure to take some time to review the sample abstracts in these lessons. Take a deeper look at the abstracts included in the program at the next scientific conference you attend. If your department has a speaker, look at the way the abstract fits with the talk.

Photo by Antoni Shkraba: