Guidelines for Abstracts - Science and Engineering

Abstracts vary in style and format by field and discipline. Please consult the following questions and categories as guidelines for your given field as you prepare your abstracts (Adapted from SCCUR guidelines).

  • Hypothesis or Question: What problem are you trying to solve? What question are you pursuing? What hypothesis/idea are you testing?
  • Rationale: Why is your problem/question/idea relevant or innovative? What is the broader scope and significance of your project?
  • Methods: What methods did you employ or approach to resolve your problem/question or to test your hypothesis/idea? What was your experimental design and protocol? What was involved in the planning, design and implementation of the project? The methods may cover theoretical or empirical approaches in classical research, as well as procedures used in applied research and projects (e.g., innovative projects, case studies, service projects).
  • Results: What did you find during the course of your scholarly work? Specifically, what new insight did you gain? What did you learn, create or discover that potentially advances your discipline?
  • Conclusions: Were your results consistent or inconsistent with your original hypothesis? How do your results inform your original question? What are the broader implications of your findings, especially as they relate to your original hypothesis or your question? What weaknesses or limitations remain? What are the original, creative contributions of your work to your discipline and how will your work potentially advance your field of specialization?

Science and Engineering Abstract Examples

Tips for All Fields:

  • Make sure your abstract is understandable to a wide audience.
  • Consult with your faculty mentor as to whether your abstracts should be written in the first or third person, and what is appropriate for your project.
  • Take time to prepare your abstract. Write drafts and revise in order to capture your project precisely.
  • Create a clear title that incorporates the keywords, key points and findings, and/or main ideas of your project.
  • Review your abstract carefully before submission, checking for errors, typos, and clarity.
  • Seek input from your faculty mentor and be sure to receive your mentor’s approval.