Abstract Sources and Construction

Through this semester, you’ll be required to write four (or five) specialized summary paragraphs called abstracts, similar to the summaries that precede scientific papers. Two of those abstracts will use print articles as sources, and two will use websites. There are specific requirements that each type of source must have that will be covered in this exercise as we go along.

Part One – Abstracting a Print Article.

First point – a print article must have actually been printed somewhere; an article that just exists on an internet page is not a print article. There are four specific requirements a print article must also meet to be usable for class: it must have a publication date of this year; it must be about some aspect of biology; it must be long enough – at least one full page of text (this effectively eliminates one-page articles) or half a newspaper page of text; it must come from a reliable publication (this one is usually easy to fulfill for print).

There are five sample articles available in the lab – they fit every requirement but the date, and so can’t be used for your actual assignment – pick one of them.
Included with each article is the part of the publication that gives you the information you need to write your title properly. Use that to fill these parts of the required title for the assignment –

____________________________________ _______________________________
AUTHOR(S), all of them, last names first YEAR of publication

______________________________________________________________________
TITLE of ARTICLE, written with just first word and proper nouns capitalized

_____________________________________ ________________________________
PUBLICATION SOURCE Volume, Issue, Pages
(You would also include a database name if you got the article from a database)

Take some time to go through the article. Some students will absolutely have to read it through – some will get what they need by skimming through the article.

Writing the abstract. Start with a theme statement: your first sentence should give an overview of what the article is about. After that, look quickly through the article for big “chunks” of information – what are the early paragraphs about? Do they then change the subject and spend some time on something slightly different? Your abstract needs to be a general summary but cover the major discussion points. Think sections of the article rather than details.

ARTICLE BASIC THEME ______________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


SECTION TOPICS (in order)
_____________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


ADDITIONAL (are there supplementary graphs, graphics, information boxes, photos?)


_______________________________________________________________________


You’ll be shown a second article using a database –

For the title


____________________________________ _______________________________

AUTHOR(S), all of them, last names first YEAR of publication

______________________________________________________________________

TITLE of ARTICLE, written with just first word and proper nouns capitalized

_____________________________________ ________________________________

PUBLICATION SOURCE Volume, Issue, Pages

_____________________________________________________________________

The DATABASE NAME

ARTICLE BASIC THEME ______________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


SECTION TOPICS (in order) _____________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________

ADDITIONAL (are there supplementary graphs, graphics, information boxes, photos?)

_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________



Part Two – Abstracting a Website.

You will be guided through the basic process of finding a website, which usually involves doing some sort of internet search, going to a page, tracking from that page to the website the page is part of, and checking the website for its four requirements: it must have been updated this year; it must be about some aspect of biology; it must be large enough – have at least ten internal webpages (links whose addresses begin with the site’s address); it must be a reliable source (this one is much trickier than with a print article – you must determine if the source has the appropriate background to know the subject, and who the target audience is – no kids’ sites!). Can we trust it?

For the selected website –

____________________________________ _______________________________

WEBSITE NAME (should be in the top tab) YEAR of last update

_____________________________________ _____________________________

AUTHOR if one is given SUPPORT SITE if there is one

________________________________________________________________________

FULL INTERNET ADDRESS (after the “://”) (should be fairly short)

Writing the abstract. Start with a theme statement: your first sentence, again should give an overview, but in this case you’ll tell why this site is on the internet – usually sites represent something, like an organization or an agency or a publication. Then you’ll cover what the site offers, in general terms. This usually involves looking at the links there. A lot of the time, you can quote link titles (don’t forget to write as quotes), unless the purpose isn’t clear from the title.

WEBSITE BASIC PURPOSE ____________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


OFFERINGS (links) ____________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


Find an appropriate second website and repeat –

____________________________________ _______________________________
WEBSITE NAME (should be in the top tab) YEAR of last update

_____________________________________ _____________________________

AUTHOR if one is given SUPPORT SITE if there is one

________________________________________________________________________

FULL INTERNET ADDRESS (after the “://”) (should be fairly short)


WEBSITE BASIC PURPOSE ____________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________


OFFERINGS (links) ____________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


_______________________________________________________________________


 

 

General Biology 2 - Molecules and Cells

Lab Exercise Index

Copyright 2019, Michael McDarby.

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