Confirmation Reports >> Abstracts

The Abstract is a self-contained piece of writing and usually appears in the front matter or preliminaries. The Abstract consists of summary statements for most or all sections in a confirmation report and hence is self-contained. Examiners and other readers often read the Abstract first so as to obtain the whole picture of a study, and then read the main body, which usually comprises Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Preliminary Results, and Significance and Implications.

The main purpose of the Abstract is to offer readers an overview of the study and therefore help them form the first impression and make preliminary judgements on the significance of the study. The Abstract helps the readers form expectations of the contents in the confirmation report by summarising most or all sections in the confirmation report.

The Abstract is the standalone summary of an entire confirmation report, reflecting the essence of the study. The inclusion of summary statements about results, discussion, and conclusion depends on the progress of the study at the time the confirmation report is submitted. Some studies may have preliminary results while some may be at the stage of finalising the research design. For studies in the latter stage, students should make extra efforts in elaborating the feasibility of the study and projecting the expected results. The Abstract usually does not contain any references or footnotes.

Upon the submission of a confirmation report to the examination panel, the Abstract is probably the first part to be read. A well-written Abstract, which summarises the confirmation report succinctly and logically, can help impress the examiners. With an overall picture of the study in mind, the examiners can more easily comprehend the main text and follow the flow of ideas in the confirmation report.

The Abstract in a confirmation report needs to conform to the university and departmental requirements in terms of length, style, and layout (if any). Requirements often vary among universities and departments and students should refer to the guides issued by the university and the department. For clarification about the requirements, students should consult with their supervisors.

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