Cross-disciplinary Concision and Clarity: Writing Social Science Abstracts in the Humanities

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Phillip Troutman


This article details an assignment sequence asking students to apply an adaptation of Swales and Feak's (2009) model of social sciences abstract writing to articles in the humanities. This model works as an exploded diagram of the article, explicitly identifying research questions, data, methods, results, interpretations, and implications. The assignment provides students, first, with a reading tool for exposing the articulated construction of academic research articles. Second, as a writing tool, it allows students to practice comprehensive synthesis; the breakdown of multi-part claims; concision and clarity; and selective quotation. Finally, it facilitates the next step in students' research process: framing new inquiry by identifying uses and limitations in prior scholarship. This assignment sequence has been used in first-year composition and upper-division WID/WAC courses in the humanities; it can be adapted for courses in social and natural sciences and for graduate courses.

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How to Cite
Troutman, P. (2019). Cross-disciplinary Concision and Clarity: Writing Social Science Abstracts in the Humanities. Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments, 3(1).


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