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Abstracts for Scholars' Day Applications


What is an abstract?

An abstract is a single-paragraph, self-contained summary of the proposed presentation.

Abstracts for Scholars' Day should be grammatically-coherent condensed summaries of the entire presentation. Abstracts will be used to make decisions about acceptance or rejection of a presentation or performance. Abstracts will also appear in the printed program for Scholars' Day.

Abstracts shall be no less than 100 words and no more than 200 words. The Scholars' Day Committee will strictly enforce these limits.

We understand that abstracts are often being submitted prior to finalizing the presentation, so we request that you describe anticipated results, conclusions, or whatever is yet unfinished, and we may ask you to edit your abstract for the final printed program. You might find it useful to review your abstract with a tutor in the Writing Center prior to submission.

Abstracts are currently submitted in plain text on the online application form. If you copy/paste from a Microsoft Word document, special formatting and special characters may get lost or corrupted; we recommend either using "save as" to create a plain text or ASCII file or first pasting your abstract into a plain text editor (such as WordPad, NotePad, TextEdit), and then edit it there and paste that version into our application form. If you would like formatting such as italics added to your abstract prior to printing the program (if your presentation is accepted), you will have an opportunity to inform us.

Abstracts are not introductions to the presentation or scripts for the presentation, but are summaries of the whole project condensed into a single paragraph. The writing style of abstracts in many fields tends to be terse; very straightforward descriptions are included, while adjectives that affect a tone are generally excluded. (Consider yourself professionally describing your project from beginning to end in one paragraph, providing your audience with an overview and a taste of the project's attraction.) The typical structure of an abstract is a sentence or two describing the introduction (the main topic or thesis and some detail), a sentence or two describing methodology (if applicable) or the heart of the project, and a sentence or two describing results or conclusions, further speculation, etc.

Examples of abstracts:

A Right to Subsistence
By Daniel J. Bennett

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) details a right to subsistence. Several philosophers have recently called for the global recognition of this right. Thomas Pogge's libertarian argument supporting such a right is especially compelling. [Notice how this is beginning with introductory material setting the stage for the main idea] I will show here that a right to subsistence is morally justified and consider the implications of it from a moral minimalist's perspective. [There it states the main topic] Poverty-related causes account for roughly one-third of annual human deaths. [Here it includes some background data] These deaths, as well as other poverty-related tragedies, can be prevented by guaranteeing the impoverished access to adequate food, water, shelter, medicine, etc. – a feasible feat for the global rich. [That's an argument from the body of the work] Since they control the majority of wealth and power in the current global economic order and are largely responsible for its implementation, the global rich hold responsibility for these current human rights violations. [There's probably too much argumentation here for an abstract] Further, the global rich have an obligation to replace the current unjust order with a just one. Whenever an institution consistently violates the human rights of those under its power, the oppressed are justified in resistance. So, by maintaining an institution that violates human rights, the global rich justify resistance by the global poor. [And finally, it includes the conclusion]

Electronics in the Classroom: Student Use, Gender, and Achievement.
By Jennifer Deleuze, Andy Winkler, & Amanda Gibbons

A survey of students was conducted to test the idea that use of electronic devices in the classroom is related to class participation, grades, and satisfaction with school. To collect data on use of electronic devices, and on educational variables, we randomly distributed a paper survey to 53 students on the local college campus. Students who reported frequent use of cell phones during class also reported the lowest level of participation in class and the lowest overall grades. Satisfaction with the course was not correlated to cell phone or computer use. There was a significant gender difference with females reporting the highest use of cell phones in class. Results suggest that women might be losing their academic advantage over men due to increase cell phone use in the classroom.