Writing An Abstract For An Essay

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However, from the perspective of an author submitting work to a journal, there is another important audience to consider: the journal editor(s) and the external reviewers to whom the editor(s) send it.

This audience looks at your abstract with their most pressing question in mind: is this article publishable in this journal?

In addition, Abstract 1 does not address the “so what?

” question, does not say anything significant about its methodological commitments, and does not even do a good job of explaining how the analyses of the two case studies relate to each other.

Instead, he uses several mini-narratives in combination with exposition and with thematizing commentary to alter his audience’s understanding of both the problem and the solution.

Indeed, he uses the ending to the central narrative as a way to temper his audience’s enthusiasm for the solution.

It offers warrants for that contention by (a) proposing a conception of narrative as rhetoric and (b) using that conception to analyze two essays by Atul Gawande, “On Washing Hands” (2007) and “Letting Go” (2014), which rely heavily on narrative as part of their larger problem-solution argumentative structure.

The analysis leads to the conclusion that a skillful author can, depending on his or her overall purposes, use narrative either as a mode of argument in itself or as a means of supporting arguments made through non-narrative means -- and can even use both approaches within a single piece. Abstract 1 adopts the strategy of offering a general statement about the larger argument and focusing on what the essay says about the case studies.

This requirement has two main rationales: an abstract offers readers a helpful, succinct summary of the longer argument developed in the essay, and it identifies keywords that will make it easier for search engines to find the essay.

Notice that these rationales presuppose the publication of both abstract and essay and, in so doing, assume that the main audience for the abstract is prospective readers of the published essay.

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