The Process of Writing Abstracts


In his excellent book, The Art Of Abstracting, Edward T. Cremmins offers simple, straightforward advice for writing abstracts.  Cremmins suggests writing excellent abstracts requires a mastery of the three "Rs."  The three "Rs' refers to a three-stage analytical reading method that mirrors the task of thinking, writing and editing.  Each step of the process requires the writer to engage in different types of reading including retrieval reading, creative reading and critical reading.


Cremmins breaks the process of abstract writing into four identifiable and discrete steps:

"1. focusing on the basic features of the materials to be abstracted;

2. identifying relevant information;

3. extracting, organizing, and reducing the relevant information into a coherent unit, usually one paragraph long; and

4.  refining the completed abstract through editing." (page 15)


Future posts will examine each of these stages.