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An example of an abstract from a scholarly paper: Although much recent work suggests that contemporary presidential campaigns have more powerful electoral effects than were seen in previous decades, there has been little research that examines the actual effect of recent campaigns on individual vote choice. Using the 1980 NES panel study, I show that the overwhelming majority of individual votes can be accounted for from attitudes such as party identification and presidential approval measured before the political conventions, and that changes in orientation during the campaign had limited effects on individual vote choice and negligible consequences for the electoral outcome. Moreover, models derived from the 1980 panel data can predict with a great deal of accuracy the aggregate outcomes of the 1984 and 1988 presidential contests. I argue that the results support an "activation model of campaign effects in recent elections: rather than simply reinforcing preexisting vote intentions, the campaigns served mainly to activate existing political predispositions and make them electorally relevant. [cut cut] Finkel, Steven E. 1993. "Reexamining the 'Minimal Effects' Model in Recent Presidential Campaigns." Journal of Politics 55: 1-21. This paper has both a descriptive, empirical part and a more theory-driven, interpretive part. Finkel poses a question (do campaigns matter?) and an answer (they matter conditionally ­ activating existing predispositions and making them electorally relevant, but not really by changing people's minds). And he provides a test (forecasting aggregate presidential vote results using parameters derived from his 1980 model). So, while this abstract would be a bit long (and overly ambitious) for OUR purposes, it has all the elements you want in your abstract. Namely, it stakes a claim to be doing something important, states the main question and the answer to the main question, and tells the reader something about the test and data used to show that the answer is a good one. Your introduction would stretch this out, turning the above abstract into two full paragraphs (the hook and thesis paragraphs), then add on a third paragraph that VERY briefly outlines the structure of your argument for the rest of the paper.


Microsoft Word - example_abstract.doc

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Microsoft Word - example_abstract.doc