Workshop: The Abstract

We have used the “abstract” of our arguments this semester as a revision tool: something to develop and revise as we develop and revise the argument. It provides some shorthand for the larger argument (the conventional views, the problems, and the response to the problem that shapes the argument) that is emerging. As I have suggested, the key terms and keywords of your argument that show up in your final version of the abstract need to show up in the essay itself.

Here is an example from Project 3 of what I consider to be an effective abstract. Notice the ways that it condenses the dynamics of the argument (signaled right away with the word “although”) and the keywords that will be developed and extended. Nested in this abstract of the argument is a possible objection that this argument can offer as a counterargument as a way to qualify, and ultimately, to reinforce its argument.

Although proven to be very useful amongst our society today, the convenience of Google is often perceived as laziness and is believed to have altered the way information is seen and obtained. Having used Google before, I believe it to be useful, especially when conducting research. I agree with Carr in the sense that the time it takes to do research has been shortened greatly; however, I do not think that has affected the way we perceive information as a whole. Knowledge is a universal item and remains the same regardless of which medium it is acquired from. Google and its users exist in almost a symbiotic relationship in the sense that Google supplies a universal medium where the contributors can place their ideas and their ideas can be explored and challenged by other readers.

As you work on revising and developing your argument, continue to use the abstract as a revision tool.