What do you include in the five sections of an abstract?
Details - Abstract
Each student who does a science fair project must write an abstract that will be displayed with their project.
Some science fair project abstracts are placed on the table in a folder while others are attached to the display board. Follow your school's guidelines.
Explaining a science fair project in an abstract of 250 words can be a challenge, and many students actually find it easier to write the long final report. But the abstract is a critical part of your science fair project. It appears at the beginning of your final report, and also on the display board at the science fair. It’s a summary that tells the reader what your project is all about.
Think of your abstract as if it were the “coming attractions” for a movie. If your abstract is interesting enough, people will be excited to read your final report.
What Are Science Fair Project Abstracts?
► An abstract is a brief, written discussion of your project.
► Each abstract consists of a brief statement of the essential, or most important, thoughts about your project. Abstracts summarize, clearly and simply, the main points of the experiment and/or the main sections of the report. Syntax, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, neatness, and originality are important.
5 Sections of Your Abstract?
Write a very brief explanation of each:
- Introduction - Purpose of Your Project / Experiment
Why You Undertook The Project
► Something motivated you to explore a hypothesis or invent a better way of doing something. Was it an observation you made, a question that occurred to you, a frustration you experienced with some aspect of daily life? Let the reader into your head.
- A Statement of the Problem or Hypothesis being studied.
► A single clear statement is all that’s needed here of what problem you want to solve.
- Procedures Used - What You Did
► Overview / summary of the key points of your investigation. Included the variables you selected.
►Only include procedures that you, the student, did.
►Do not include work done by a mentor (such as surgical procedures), acknowledgements, work done by a university lab or work done prior to your involvement in your project.
► Do not give details about the materials used unless it greatly influenced the procedure or had to be developed to do the investigation.
- Observation/Data/Results - What You Discovered
► State the key results that lead directly to the conclusions you have drawn. What contribution did you make in completing this project? Were your objectives or design criteria met?
► Do not give too many details about the results nor include tables or graphs.
- Conclusions - What It Means?
► Describe briefly conclusions that you derived from your investigation.
► In the summary paragraph, reflect on the process and possibly state some applications and extensions of the investigation.
- The abstract is printed on one page and is usually between 100 to 250 words long for grades 4 through 12, and between 50 to 250 for grades K through 3. (check with your school for their guidelines)
Include the Project Title, School Name, City, State and Grade Level.
- To keep to the 250 word limit, each of these points needs to be covered in only a sentence or two. However, in your first draft, just write down your thoughts without worrying about the word count. Your second (or third, or fourth!) draft is for strengthening your sentences and improving word choices.
► Eliminate words that are too technical for most readers.
► Avoid meaningless jargon.
► Take out words and phrases that do not add anything to what you’ve already stated.
► When explaining key points, focus on work you have done on your project in the past year or less.
- You do not need tables and graphs.
- Judges and the public must have an accurate idea of the project after reading the abstract. At the same time you want to grab the reader's interest because it will influence their attitude about your full project report when they review it. Look at it like a trailor to a movie. Make it interesting and engaging. To do this you will probably have to do more than a couple of drafts. Have other's read it and give suggestions each time to revise your draft.
- The abstract must focus on the current year's research and give only minimal reference to previous work. Do not include details and discussions in the abstract, but they may be put in the longer, written research paper
(if required), or given on the display board.
- An abstract does not include a bibliography or citations unless specifically required by your local fair.
- Neatly fill out the science fair form that you school gives to you.