COMPOSING LETTERS WITH A SIMULATED LISTENING TYPEWRITER
Abstract. With a listening typewriter, what an author says would be automatically recognized and displayed in front of him or her. However, speech recognition is not yet advanced enough to provide people with a reliable listening typewriter.
An aim of our experiments was to determine if an imperfect listening typewriter would be useful for composing letters.
Participants dictated letters, either in isolated words or in consecutive word speech. They did this with simulations of listening typewriters that recognized either a limited vocabularyor an unlimited vocabulary.
Results indicated that some versions, even upon first using them, were at least as good as traditional methods of handwriting and dictating.
Isolated word speech with large vocabularies may provide the basis for a useful listening typewriter.
(Weissberg & Buker, 1990, p. 185)
1. What was the principal activity of this research project?
2. What are the information elements of the given abstract?
3. What sentences may be eliminated from this abstract without losing critical information about this study?
Abstract from almost all fields of study are written in a very similar way. The types of information included and their order are very conventional. The list that follows shows the typical information elements of an abstract.
ORDER OF TYPICAL ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN AN ABSTRACT
1. Some background information;
2. The principal activity (purpose) of the study and its scope;
3. Some information about methodology used in the study;
4. The most important results of the study;
5. A statement of conclusion or recommendation.
Note: In some publications this section is titled “summary”. Check with your editor or professor to determine the appropriate title for you to use.
Abstracts are usually written to be as brief and concise as possible. For journal articles the editor often establishes a word limit for the abstract that authors cannot exceed. In general, 200 words is a sensible maximum for a relatively long paper or report; 50 to 100 words may suffice for a short paper. To write so concisely, you must omit or combine certain elements of information shown in the previous list.
The reduced abstract typically focuses on only two or three elements, with the emphasis placed on the results of the study. Information concerning the purpose and method is presented first (background information is not included). Then the most important results are summarized. Finally conclusion and recommendations may be included in one or two sentences.
ORDER OF INFORMATION ELEMENTS IN REDUCED ABSTRACT
1. Purpose and method of the study;
2. Principal results;
3. Conclusions and recommendations (optional).
The language conventions of the abstract correspond to those we have already seen in the four major portions of the experimental research report. Here we briefly review the conventions that govern the use of verb tenses, tentative verbs, and modal auxiliaries.
The verb tenses used in writing sentences in the abstract are directly related to those you used in the corresponding sections earlier in your report.