Abstracts for literature reviews and critical essays share the same spirit as research articles: that is to stand as complete and concise representations of larger works, but since the structure of these texts differ from research articles, their abstracts will also be different. These abstracts should begin by introducing the topic and problem and problem being investigated. The thesis statement, if a component of the associated article, should be clearly and completely included at near the beginning. The author should then detail the original evidence that supports the main purpose or argument of the paper. Again, the emphasis is not placed on the referenced literature but on the conclusions you made as an author based on these outside references. Finally, writing some reviews and essays involve unique methods, be they meta-analysis of statistical data or traveling to exotic locations to examine ancient texts. If the methods required to write an article are particularly novel, they should be included in the abstract in the same order as they appeared in the text. Otherwise, the methods for review should not appear in the abstract.
Abstracts for conferences serve slightly different purposes than those for written articles. An individual reading an abstract in a conference booklet is deciding whether or not to attend your presentation or reading. In a sea of academic ideas, your abstract should give prospective attendees an accurate idea of the content of your presentation. After the fact, your abstract may be the only document of your research to an attendee of your presentation. Individuals will often consult conference proceedings months or years after the fact, as they recall a short presentation only now relating to their current research. A complete conference abstract allows researchers to refresh their memories about your findings.
Conferences usually involve the presentation of new and in-progress research. Additionally, many conferences require abstracts months before the actual presentation. As such, abstracts for conferences are often written before the research is complete. This can complicate writing an abstract for a conference presentation. As much as possible, a conference abstract should be written as though the presentation or associated paper is completed. Your intended audience is composed of individuals at a conference hoping to get an accurate idea of the ideas that will be covered during your presentation….