the big picture

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The Big Picture

The Abstract is a brief summary of the entire research article.  It helps us to get a sense of the research question, methods, and findings.  Creating an Abstract is often a very helpful exercise for the writer of a literature review, because the Abstract conveys the big picture, so to speak.  In the process of writing the Abstract, the writer must develop a big picture idea of their topic, data, and conclusions.  Readers benefit greatly from abstracts.  They use them to screen articles quickly, while gathering resources for their own projects.  They use them to evaluate the strength of the paper, the generalizability of its findings, and the overall argument of its author.

In a literature review, a strong Abstract includes the following pieces of information:

1.  Your research topic;

2.  Your research/focal question;

3.  Your hypothesis (what did you guess the answer to the research/focal question would be prior to beginning your research?);

4.  A general statement or two about the findings discussed in the articles you’ve reviewed;

5.  Your conclusions;

6.  Some implications of the findings you’ve described (What do they mean to us or to society?); and

7.  What future research needs to be done?

In the Module 4 Discussion area, post a draft of what will be your Abstract.  The post should be at least 100 words in length and should include all of the above items (#1 through #5).  Post your Abstract to the Discussion Area by Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Review and respond to at least two your classmates’ posts through Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Share your perspectives on their Abstracts and offer your interest and experience with their topics. 

Review your classmates’ feedback to you regarding your own Abstract and use that feedback to refine it to include in your literature review draft and/or final paper.

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