How to Write an Abstract for a Science Project
The science project abstract gives a brief snapshot of the important aspects of the experiment, including the problem or hypothesis, process, results and conclusion. Science fairs often require abstracts as part of the display. Learn to write a succinct science project abstract to make a positive impression with your presentation.
A science project often includes a detailed report or log of data collected throughout the process. In a science fair setting, judges don't have time to read through the long version of the report. The abstract familiarizes the judge quickly so she knows what you tested and what happened. Visitors to the science fair can also read the abstract for a quick overview of the project. Many science competitions limit the abstract to 250 words. Because the abstract serves as the summary of your project, choose content carefully so you can highlight the key information.
Most science project abstracts include five basic sections: an introductory statement, problem statement, procedures, results and a concluding statement. The introduction gives you the chance to hook readers by explaining the purpose of the project and why it is helpful or meaningful. The problem statement lists the specific hypothesis or problem the project explores. The procedures section gives a brief overview of how you conducted the experiment. You don't need to get too specific or list materials. Just briefly discuss what you did to test the hypothesis. Your results section shows how your experiment turned out, using specific numbers or outcomes. The concluding statement is your last chance to reflect on the project and share how it might impact science or have practical applications.
Review all of the data from your science experiment. Highlight the important information. You should already have a hypothesis written. Condense it if necessary to fit the word count. Highlight any numbers or results in the data. Review your steps for conducting the experiment. Turn those pieces of information into brief statements to fit under each of the five abstract sections, keeping it to the point without focusing too much on word count. If your rough draft goes over the limit, go back through to cut out extra words, such as "very" or "many." Have someone else read the abstract to ensure it is easy for anyone to understand, even someone not familiar with the project.
Read the guidelines for the science fair or class assignment to ensure you know how to present the abstract. You may need to submit the abstract when you register, for example. Include the abstract on your science project display, either on the board itself or on the table near your display. You can print extra copies to hand out to judges so they can refer back to the abstract when considering the results of the fair.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.