Goal: An abstract should provide a short but clear
statement of your research project. In one to three sentences, it tells the
reader the purpose of the paper, the methodology used, the results, and the
importance of the results.
Best Practices: A well-crafted abstract will touch on
four main elements of the project, as described below. You’ll want to think
through each element carefully, even though you may just touch on it in the
abstract. Remember, an abstract is SHORT!!!
Explain the purpose of your paper. State the primary objectives and scope
of the paper. What is the rationale for your research? Why did you choose
the topic of research? Is the topic you are researching an ignored or newly
discovered one? Why is it significant? What is your thesis statement?
Clearly state the methodology (techniques or approaches) used in your
paper. What is the method or “lens” you are using for analysis? What is the
larger organizational structure?
Describe your results so far. What have you learned or revealed in your
research? Give special priority to new findings that contradict previous
theories. (In other words, have there been any surprises?)
Describe the implications of the results. Why are the results of your
research important to your field? This is a time to emphasize the “so what”
Length: The abstract should be no more than 75
Example of a completed abstract:
This interpretive study analyzes the journals of middle-school girls
who attend an urban public school to determine how they use journal writing
to negotiate the joys and difficulties of adolescence. Comparing the
journals with statements gained through interviews, the study shows that
writing is used as an outlet for positive but not negative emotions and
therefore challenges previous research on the topic. (word count: 62)
The following are examples of well-conceived abstract and research statement
submissions chosen for past Scholars Day presentations.
Enhancement of Lipid Production in Freshwater Microalgae through
Presenter: Allison Myers
My study investigated lipid productivity of two species of
microalgae, specifically how lipid production may be maximized through
modification of nitrogen content during growth in a bioreactor. Due to a
failure to grow in the bioreactor, Scenedesmus sp. was unable to undergo
lipid extraction. The greatest lipid yield was produced by Chlorella sp.
under nitrogen deficiency. These results supported the hypothesis that
nitrogen deficiency leads to an increase in algal lipid production.
Note: To see an
example of a completed research statement, click on the
tab for Engineering.
Biomass growth and lipid extraction of Nannochloropsis oculata under
natural and artificial light
Presenter: Lee Brewer
Nannochloropsis oculata is an algal strain that shows
significant promise in the production of biofuels. Energy requirements
in the growth, separation, and synthesis of this method of producing
biofuels often negate any benefit of this renewable energy source. This
experiment focused on reducing some of these energy requirements by
investigating the effect different natural and artificial light sources
has on both biomass growth and lipid production by the algae.
Note: To see an example of a completed research statement, click
on the tab for Engineering.
Presenter: Chris Harris
Assessing technology and curriculum design can be a challenge.
Measuring successful integration and teacher understanding against
national standards for technology education is the subject of this
presentation. Workshop design, training, and effectiveness are analyzed
in light survey data in order to reveal up-to-date best practices for
training teachers and administrators, and raising student success
through a variety of technologies.
This thesis project created a series of three professional
development workshops to train K-8 teachers on incorporating technology
into their curriculum. The workshops were designed in response to the
review of literature about effective methods of presenting professional
development in education, with a specific focus on what is effective for
training teachers on technology integration that will ultimately lead to
gains in student achievement. The content was aligned with the
International Society for Technology Education standards for technology
integration (NETS-S: National Education Technology Standards for
Students). The effectiveness of the workshops were analyzed using survey
data from the participants, which used pre and post test responses to
show what changes, if any, occurred with respect to teacher attitudes
towards technology integration, attitudes about the workshop content and
presenter, and understanding of the standards. The survey data validated
that the goals of the project were met to increase teacher understanding
of the NETS-S standards, and to increase teacher confidence in applying
the standards. Detailed analysis of the survey data is presented,
followed by suggestions for further study and applications for the
Presenter: Katy Connor Beattie
During this study, in-context and out-of-context strategies were
utilized to determine the most effective way to teach grammar in a
classroom. The participants were fourth grade students at a low
socioeconomic, rural school in Washington State. After a pre-assessment
on grammar skills, students were assigned to Group A (out-of-context) or
group B (in-context) for eight ten minute grammar mini lessons. A
grammar skills post-test and conduction of a T-Test were showed no
significant pattern in favor of the in-context strategy or the
out-of-context strategy. Informal discussions however showed that
students preferred being taught in small groups and agreed that the
group they were in used a better strategy than the other group. This
study has shown a need for more research done in the area of teaching
grammar effectively through in-context instruction.
Note: To see
an example of a completed research statement, click on the tab (above)
Effect of Tetracycline on the Foraging Behaviors and Community
Recovery Rate of the Termite Species Reticulitermes speratus
Presenter: Kersten Stanton
Termites have a complex, mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship
with bacteria that have the unique ability to break down cellulose into
useable, energy-rich compounds in the termite’s gut. The purpose of this
study was to determine the impact of these bacteria on their host’s
behavior. The data collected suggests that community foraging increases
along with community disorientation when the gut bacteria are destroyed.
This study has implications in the fields of biofuel production and pest
Note: To see an example of a completed research
statement, click on the tab for Engineering.
Presenters: Travis Bleich, Pat Carroll
Using complex potential it’s possible to map cylinders to airfoils
for the purpose of determining airflows around these arbitrary wing
shapes. This project examines the transformation equations used for
these conformal mappings. After mapping airflow over a cylinder onto a
complex airfoil the effects of lift and pressure on these airfoils can
In real world applications complex flow patterns often arise. To
perform lift and pressure calculations on these flows we must first be
able to simplify the flow pattern. One such method of simplification is
mapping, between two complex planes. A mapping is performed when
formulas on the primary plane are put through a transformation equation
and turned into new formulas on the secondary plane. Using this concept
complicated flow patterns such as the airflow over the cross section of
a wing for an airplane can be determined. A simple infinite cylinder
under ideal flow can be modeled on the primary plane, and the streamline
equations can be transformed to the wing section on the secondary plane.
The Russian scientist N.E. Zhukhovsky worked with these
transformation equations involving airfoils. Specifically he developed
the equation w=Jz=z+1/z which can be applied to a unit circle on the
complex plane. This creates a mapping from the circle to the Zhukhovsky
airfoil. If the streamlines around the cylinder are known then their
images can likewise be mapped by the same equation. Varying the circle’s
center in the primary complex plane allows for varying curvature of the
airfoil shape. The collection of these airfoils is known as the family
of Zhukhovsky airfoils. This greatly simplifies analysis done on the
The circulation, angle of attack, and velocity can all be transformed
from one plane to the other, and then performance characteristics such
as lift and pressure can be calculated with the aid of the
In this project we will examine how this transformation can be
carried out using Theodorsen’s method. This is an indirect solution
using conformal mapping. This avoids a direct solution using Laplace
transforms which in general only provides analytic solutions assuming
‘thin airfoil theory’ applies.
A magical opportunity in Bulgakov's the Master and Margarita
Presenter: Betty Ramirez
In Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, Master and Margarita, the Devil
comes to Moscow and asks, “has the human heart changed?” Bulgakov uses
the magical characters Woland (the Devil) and Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as a
literary motif to question how we should live our lives. We learn
through this novel that magic becomes a life changing experience,
bringing new opportunities to fulfill our lives. Bulgakov’s novel brings
to life forgotten values in the world to remind his audience that
without magic life is meaningless and empty.
Note: To see an example of a completed research statement, click on the tab
Imbued with restless sentiments of anarchy and collectivism: Albert
Johnson's war against radical aliens
Presenter: Christopher Henry
In 1924, the United States Congress passed the most restrictive piece
of immigration legislation in the country’s history. This law
established a Northern European biased quota system and barred all
immigration from Asia. The author and lead proponent of this law, Albert
Johnson, harbored an intense fear and hatred of radical socialists and
devoted a majority of his career to immigration restriction as a means
of combating radicalism in the United States.
By the 1920s, the United States was becoming divided between the
dominant white, Anglo, Protestant middle and upper classes, and a
rapidly growing foreign working class comprised of numerous ethnicities,
religions, and cultural values. The advent of World War I, the call for
total Americanism, and widespread, increasingly violent labor struggles
brought national sentiments on nativism to a fever pitch. Increasingly
restrictionist legislation followed, culminating in the 1924 Johnson and
Reed Immigration Act. This blatantly racist law was designed to maintain
the Northwest European racial dominance of America, and prevent
socialist immigrants from entering the United States and possibly
challenging American capitalism.
The legislation’s primary author and sponsor, Albert Johnson, was at
the center of the immigration debate a decade before the bill’s passage.
A lifelong newspaper man, Johnson resided in Hoquiam, Washington, and
through his Daily Washingtonian built his nativist ideology largely on
the labor activism of the Industrial Workers of the World operating in
Hoquiam and Aberdeen. During this tumultuous period in the Twin Harbors,
Johnson gained a reputation as a vehement anti-radical. Hatred of
radicals and socialists formed the core of Johnson’s anti-immigrant
ideology, and drove him to pursue the most restrictive immigration
legislation in the nation’s history.
This research project brings to light the motives at the core of
Johnson’s restrictionist policies. Numerous books, articles, and
dissertations have been consulted, especially, John Higham’s “Strangers
in the Land” as well as Johnson’s editorials and Congressional documents
including a large online eugenics archive. The evidence appears to
confirm the thesis that Johnson used racial and xenophobic arguments to
eradicate a burgeoning socialist movement. Johnson’s editorials and
speeches show prove him an enemy of socialism for whom ending
immigration was the solution to class division and social unrest.
Plato and democratic illness: The Republic as a reform document
Presenter: Amy Pollard
A unisex locker room, a rigged dating service, a daycare that
children never leave…shocked? You are not alone. The social measures in
Plato’s Republic shocked Athenians too. Is Plato serious about
these measures? Does he want to destroy democracy? I will argue that
Plato seeks not to destroy democracy but to reform democracy. Therefore,
The Republic should be read not as a practical government plan but
as a reform document, intended to spark civic debate that will save
Note: To see an example of a completed research statement, click on the
tab for History.
Rehearsal for reality and sexual harassment
Presenter: Olivia Baumgartner
This presentation explores a study using Augusto Boal’s “rehearsal of
reality” with women to increase confidence and preparedness for
situations of sexual harassment. Women at Saint Martin’s University were
given the opportunity to share experiences with sexual harassment. They
acted out these experiences and explored alternative outcomes. This was
followed by the opportunity to share how the workshop affected their
confidence or preparedness. Responses were assessed to evaluate the
change or increase in confidence and preparedness.
Note: To see an example of a completed research statement, click
on the tab for History.