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1 Abstract example: Abstract of Twenty-One Genres, Brock Dethier Twenty-One Genres strives to be the smallest, most inexpensive all-purpose writing text on the college composition market. Author Brock Dethier, director of the composition program at Utah State University, offers descriptions of twenty-one common genres, from abstract to wiki, and suggests for each genre a series of writing “moves.” The book presents over two hundred such “moves”—thinking, writing, reading, and researching activities divided into ten chapters, from “Solve Your Process Problems” and “Discover” to “Revise” and “Present.” The book is written to be useful to the individual writer, whether or not the writer is currently in a writing class. Questions about the example: 1. Does it show you anything new about the book or emphasize things that you didn’t realize were so important? 2. What details tip you off that the book’s author wrote the abstract? 3. Boiling hundreds of pages down into a paragraph as I did here is a specialized writing skill. Can you think of other writing situations where such a skill might be useful? 6    Genres example: Using Geophysical Methods to Study the Shallow Subsurface of a Sensitive Alpine Environment, Niwot Ridge, Colorado Front Range, USA, Matthias Leopold,1 David Dethier,2 Jörg Völkel,1 Thomas Raab,1 Tyler Corsonrickert,2 and Nel Caine3 Thisexampleisthefirstpartof amuchlongerarticle.Itneedstoexplaintoother experts what’s new and interesting in the work discussed, but the authors also hope to give even non-experts a window into the work. Consider the problem these geologists face: how can they learn about the rock beneath the surface of the earth without digging holes or using other such “invasive” techniques? Abstract Shallow seismic refraction (SSR) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) are non-invasive geophysical techniques that enhance studies of the shallow subsurface deposits which control many geomorphic and biogeochemical processes . These techniques permit measuring the thickness and material properties of these deposits in sensitive alpine area without using extensive pits and trenches that can impact current biogeospheric processes or distort them for future research. Application of GPR and SSR along 1.5 km of geophysical lines shows that layers of fine to coarse, blocky deposits of periglacial origin underlie alpine slopes in the vicinity of Niwot Ridge, Colorado Front Range. Interpretation of geophysical and drilling data shows that depth to bedrock ranges from 4 to >10 m and is not simply related to local slope. Our measurements suggest that ice lenses form seasonally beneath solifluction lobes; ice was not present in adjacent areas. Ice lenses are associated with local ponded water and saturated sediments that result from topographic focusing and low-permeability layers beneath active periglacial features. Geophysical interpretations are consistent with data derived from nearby drill cores and corroborate the utility of GPR in combination with SSR for collecting subsurface data required by different landscape models in sensitive alpine environments. Questions about the example: 1. This abstract begins the article published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. What purposes might it serve for the readers of the journal? For the authors? 2. If you were one of the authors, when else might you use the abstract? Think of situations in which you need to explain quickly what you’ve been working on. 1. University of Regensburg, Soil Science and Landscape Ecology, Germany. 2. Williams College, Department of Geoscience, Williamstown, MA, USA. 3. University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Geography, USA. Abstract    7 3. If you’re not a geologist, you may find this abstract difficult reading. Yet it’s not incomprehensible to a nonspecialist. How did the authors make the technical intelligible? To see how an abstract fits in the context of a larger work, see the second example in chapter 14: Proposal. Questions about the Abstract 1. What are its purposes? An abstract is a miniature version of a much longer document or oral presentation . It presents readers with the highlights of the longer document—its purposes , conclusions, and recommendations. It gives the reader an opportunity to decide, quickly, whether to read the entire text, how to file or catalog it, or who might be interested in it. For the writer, an abstract can be a demanding piece of writing, as it forces the writer to decide what’s crucial about the longer text and boil something complex down to just a few words. Writing it can help the writer focus and organize the longer text. Abstracts are popular on the Internet, since websites like...

Subject Headings

  • English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching.
  • Literary form -- Study and teaching.
  • Language arts.
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