Notes on writing an abstract

The abstract is usually the thing you write last but there is merit in writing an early version, simply to give you a sense of what needs to be said.

Abstracts have a specific structure. There is usually a word limit for an abstract which will vary by journal. This abstract is 129 words.

An abstract will contain:

  • a statement of the problem being addressed in the review
  • the reason for carrying out the review
  • the approach taken to carrying out the review
  • what resulted from the review, the findings
  • perhaps the implications of the findings

Examine the abstract of this paper:

Although a lot is known about teacher development by means of formal learning activities, research on teachers’ everyday learning is limited. In the current systematic review, we analyzed 74 studies focusing on teachers’ informal learning to identify teachers’ learning activities, antecedents for informal learning, and learning outcomes. In addition, we examined whether beginning and more experienced teachers differ with regard to informal learning. Results revealed different types of learning activities in the two groups and interesting relationships among different antecedents and various learning outcomes. Moreover, it can be concluded that the main difference between beginning and more experienced teachers lies not in the type of learning activities they undertake but rather in their attitudes toward learning, their learning outcomes, and how they are influenced by their context.

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