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Introducing and Evaluating Abstracts

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Sandie Reid
30 March 2017

Research Project module tutor
The class is comprised of 22 international students studying at pre-Master’s level. The module is designed to provide students with practical experience of primary research, underpinned by research theory in a previous module.
The class is reasonably even in terms of academic ability – no student has previous knowledge or experience of research, but English ability varies greatly.
The lesson aims to:

  • Introduce the features and purpose of an abstract

  • Allow students to distinguish between weaker and stronger abstracts

  • Allow students to practice writing abstracts


  1. Students discuss the following questions in pairs, followed by whole class feedback and a PPT explaining the elements in more detail.

Thinking about the abstracts you have read discuss;

  • What is the purpose of an abstract?

  • What should it contain?

  • When should you write it?


  1. Students then look at 10 statements about abstracts based on the PPT and respond with true/false to each statement – followed by class feedback


  1. Students look at a sample abstract in small groups and identify strengths and weaknesses, followed by whole class feedback


  1. Students are then given a short research article and are tasked with firstly skim reading the article to underline information necessary to complete and abstract, then write one. Groups then swap with other groups for peer feedback.

Students performed well with the initial stages of the lesson, but struggled to then write an abstract on their own.

Students appeared to be comfortable with the elements an abstract should contain, but not enough time was available for students to produce an abstract, so the quality of their understanding and production skills is still unknown until they have to produce an abstract for their own assessment.

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