It’s strange how many manuscripts one sees in which the worst written paragraph of the whole thing is the abstract. Granted, when I finish papers, I’m usually so sick of the thing that writing the abstract requires finding and tapping a whole new reservoir of will, but: if a paper is published, it will be the single most read paragraph of the whole thing, so it’s well-worth putting the time into getting it right.

(Also: I wonder if part of the problem is that writing pedagogy in general includes little/nothing about how to write a good abstract.)

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

4 thoughts on “starts”

  1. I wasn’t going to say anything about this, but since you brought up the subject of abstracts, the first sentence in the abstract for Patricia Hill Collins’s Presidential Address in the current issue of ASR begins: “Ideas about community are especially prominent in late-twentieth-century U.S. society.” I’m thinking, it’s 2010.


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