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How to write a scholarly abstract that informs and invites readers

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In academic writing, abstracts are the most powerful aspect of a manuscript, says Erin McTigue, a writing coach with The Positive Academic. “Realistically, to extract key findings, busy researchers may read only the abstract, and for those who proceed onward, the abstract provides an advance organizer framing their comprehension,” she says. Abstracts need to be clear, and they need to have well-structured sentences, says Wendy Kamman Zimmer, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. They should include concrete examples, words, and ideas, active voice, and human elements, she says: “Arguably, abstracts that are stronger have a contestable thesis or a very strong argument, something that you can touch; something that’s tangible.”

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