All About Abstracts

By Chelsea Weller


What is an abstract?
An abstract is a concise, stand-alone summary of the work at hand. The specific content within an abstract can vary depending on the style of abstract you are writing. The three styles of abstracts are descriptive, informative, and critical:

  • Descriptive Abstracts are generally for shorter papers and are around 100 words long. These are written to outline the content and give the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper. These should include all of the major parts of the content, including the purpose or thesis, methodology, and scope of the work.
  • Informative Abstracts are usually for longer, more technical research and can range from one paragraph to one page depending on the length of the document that the abstract is written for. These abstracts include all of the main content points with explanations. In addition to everything that is included in a descriptive abstract, informative abstracts should also include the results, conclusion, and recommendations.
  • Critical Abstracts are the least common out of the three types. These will critique an article and often compare it to the writer’s own research, kind of like a really short reading response paper.

If you are writing an abstract for scholarly purposes, you likely have some requirements provided to you by your professor or the publication. These requirements may include length restrictions (min or max), intended audience, or style. The various styles often dictate the content of the abstract. If the style of the abstract is not provided to you, you may want to consider asking what information is desired.

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Boolean Operators: Get the Most out of Your Googling

By Edwin Tran


There are many things in life with complicated names that seem to conjure up vague images of damnation and abhorrent cosmic creatures that dare to defy comprehension. The reality, however, is that many of these words can be boiled down to simplistic terms and definitions. When presented with the phrase “Boolean operators,” the first reaction I had (and I believe it to be a logical one) was intense confusion and bewilderment. One quick Google search later revealed that Boolean operators are something both simple and incredibly familiar for many individuals.

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Active and Passive Voices

By Jordan Dynes

Baseball Picture

I’m sure that throughout your academic career, your teacher or professor has told you that you should use either active or passive voice in your writing and that active and passive voice can be used strategically to help improve your writing. If you forgot what these are or still don’t totally get the concept, no worries! When active voice is used, the subject of the sentence is performing the action of the verb. When passive voice is used, the subject receives the action of the verb. Here’s an example:

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Scriptum Brevium: How to Avoid Overwriting a Methods Section

By Ellen Israel

Cylinder Joke

Writing the methods section of a report should be easy. You only have one task: write how you performed the experiment. However, it can be hard to make your methods section as concise as it needs to be. The experiment you performed was probably long and complicated, and it may seem impossible to trim everything down to a paragraph or two. In order to write an effective methods section, though, extraneous details must be sacrificed.

The following is an example of an overwritten methods section:

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Rocking Awesome Article Usage

By Jon Watkins

article pic

What Are Articles?
Articles (also known as determiners) help our audiences understand the specifics of nouns in our sentences. Among many other things, they’re essential for sentence structure, clarity, and audience understanding. The three common articles are The, A, and An, but sometimes articles are omitted depending on the nouns that the articles modify. So without further ado, let’s get to know articles!

“The” is used for specific or particular nouns. If we choose to use it, our audience will know that the noun(s) it’s referring to are things that are unique or definite. That’s right, “the” can be used with both singular and plural nouns! Let’s say you were talking to a friend about an awesome concert you went to last night, and they asked how many people attended. Because you’re talking about a particular concert last night, what you say in response might look something like this:

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Finding your own Writing Process™

By Erin Goldin

If you’ve taken a writing class before, especially one of UNR’s Core Writing classes, you’ve probably heard about “The Writing Process.” The Writing Process is often presented as a list of steps to follow to complete a paper, usually starting with something like “brainstorming” or “prewriting” and ending with something like “revising” or “proofreading.” It might look a little like this:

Brainstorm/Prewrite → Outline → Draft → Revise → Edit/Proofread

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The Positive Side of Redundancy


By Brady Edwards

As writers, we often get down on ourselves—I forgot to input a header and page numbers, I completely spaced including the works cited page, my thesis isn’t argumentative enough—however, such thinking often hinders our ability to see our growth as crafters of language. To flip the script on this negativity, I’ve decided to write about the positive side of one aspect of writing—redundancy.

The Bedford Handbook defines redundancy in this way: “Writers often repeat themselves unnecessarily, thinking that expressions such as cooperate together, yellow in color, or basic essentials add emphasis to their writing. In reality, such redundancies do just the opposite. There is no need to say the same thing twice” (Hacker & Sommers, 2010, p. 198). While all of this is true, there’s another way to think about what redundancy actually means and how we can use it consciously in our writing process.

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Fewer Words, More Meaning

[UWC] Stewart Matzek_Nominalizations_ILLUSTRATION 1

By Joey Aisa

There is a misconception regarding the concept of concision, as if stringing more words will create more meaning and clearer vision. The sentence is filled with empty words to the brim. Significance without concision is nothing but grim. There are not many students who use this writing tool. Those who avoid the skill of concision are bound to be fools.

Dear reader, the strange paragraph above is an example of poor concision. Let’s take a moment to dissect it to understand why concision is crucial.

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Avoiding Fluffy, Floppy, Wordy, and Padded Writing


By Moryah Hennessy

It’s the night before that big paper is due, and while you’re contemplating last week’s decision to procrastinate, that blank piece of paper is staring at you, daring you to write down your thoughts. “Getting started is the hardest part,” you tell yourself. So you take your prompt, you find that key word, and you write everything you think you know about it. Forget organization, forget grammar, and forget research, this paper needs to be written.




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The 3 a.m. Blues: Planning a Writing Assignment Timeline


By Ashley Fluellen

“Due in a month!” You awaken from your daydream, realizing the mission you’ve been assigned to complete. It seems simple—you can write an argument in your sleep. You know you’ll need to produce an argument, gather evidence from your sources, consider potential counterarguments, and then you’ll need to set time aside to revise it, potentially bring it to the Writing Center, and polish the final draft. A month is plenty of time to get all that done, and hopefully, assuming you don’t procrastinate, you’ll be able to work in line with a helpful writing timeline, and complete your essay before 3 a.m. the night before it’s due.

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