What is an abstract?
An abstract is a concise summary of a research paper. It is often said that an abstract is like a summary of a story wherein you give away the ending. Writers must bear in mind that the abstract will be read by students and researchers to help guide their decisions about whether to read the article or not, and so the abstract should make sense on its own, without the need to refer to outside sources or even to the article that it is summarizing.
Abstracts are short: often numbering between 100 to 250 words in length. I often remind my students that there is limited space in an abstract, and so we must remain staunchly focused on the primary purpose of the abstract, which is to summarize our study, its methodology, and its findings.
With this in mind, I have begun teaching a basic five-sentence model for writing an abstract. I have outlined this model below.
The Five-Sentence Model:
In the five sentence model, the first sentence establishes the general issue, the second sentence provides more specific detail about the issue, and then, if possible, segues into the purpose of the study. The third sentence briefly describes the study’s methodology. The fourth sentence briefly outlines the study’s findings, often providing some specific statistical data, and the fifth and final sentence provides a brief statement of the study’s implications for society, policy, or research.
I have included a colour-coded exemplar below.
In recent years, high-profile fatalities involving school-aged pedestrians crossing the street at designated crosswalks have elevated the issue of pedestrian safety, especially with respect to highly vulnerable pedestrians. While Section 136(1) of The Highway Traffic Act clearly outlines the requirement to stop at posted stop signs, little is known about the average driver’s propensity to comply with this law. This study gained insight into this question by observing motorists as they approached a suburban stop sign, and then coding their behaviour into one of three categories: “full stop,” “rolling stop,” or “slow and go.” The study’s findings suggest that the majority of drivers do not comply with the requirement to stop at stop signs, with more than one in four drivers almost completely disregarding the stop sign. These findings suggest a need to solicit greater compliance rates amongst Ontario drivers with respect to Section 136(1) of the HTA.
Sentence Number and Objective:
1st: Establishes the general Issue.
2nd: Provides more specific detail about the issue, then segues into the purpose of the study.
3rd: Briefly describes the study’s methodology.
4th: Briefly outlines the study’s findings, often providing some specific statistical data.
5th: A brief statement of the study’s implications for society, policy, or research.
Directions for further study are not explicitly discussed in most abstracts, although they may at times refer to the general need to conduct more research in a certain area.
Note: This particular Team Management overview and program kit was originally published on newlearner.com back in 1997. The approach has since been adopted with great success within a number of schools and programs. Give this approach a try if you find yourself looking for a new way to manage large numbers of diverse learners within your classroom.
As education budgets shrink and class sizes expand, teachers may at times wish to explore new ways of managing large numbers of students. Although I have the privilege of working in an environment that maintains a reasonable cap on class sizes, I have none-the-less found a "Team Management" approach to be quite effective within my Grade 9 classes. As a teacher of business studies, I have been quite pleased with how effective this approach has been at encouraging students to take an active role in managing their behaviour, as well as providing them with actual experience in team management. I invite other educators to examine this program and consider incorporating it within their regular class routine.
The Management Meeting
The management meeting at the end of the class is a great way to collect formative data to guide the programming for the next class, and it's also a great way to collect evidence of observations and conversations. Not only do the managers record observations for their teams, but the teacher can just focus on four to six managers on any given class, and has the opportunity to have a conversation with this smaller group at the end of the class.
The Management Binder:
The Team Management binder is comprised of five resources, organized in the following order:
The binder generally requires only one Duty Roster and one Attendance Sheet per term. However, it requires a separate reporting sheet (two-sided, with the Conduct Report on the front and the Achievement Report on the back) for each class.
The entire binder kit can be downloaded as a PDF below. Feel free to use this kit and adapt it to your needs. As always, I invite you to let me know how this approach works for you and your students.
The New Learner Lab
Exploring the ever-changing, often challenging, and always controversial world of teaching.