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Writing for College and Beyond

Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom


CJ Kent

Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom explains how the many skills taught in the Freshman Composition course apply at work and in life. The composition class is a pre-requisite and General Education course for most colleges and universities in the United States. It reaches students in every area of study. As people wonder about the value of a liberal arts education and question whether colleges and universities are truly preparing students for the workforce, Writing for College and Beyond challenges those arguments by pointing out exactly how classroom policies and writing assignments apply beyond school walls. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students teaching Freshman Composition courses will find this book helpful. Administrators who service the Freshman Composition population, such as Writing Center Directors, will also find Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom a wonderful aid.

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Chapter Five: Abstracts Aren’t: Analysis and Synthesis


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Abstracts Aren’t

Analysis and Synthesis

An abstract is a kind of summary. In research circles, it refers to a 500-word or less synopsis of your research project, which includes why the research or report is worthwhile and relevant to your audience. It provides your thesis, explains your methodology, offers any background information, and presents your results. Creating abstracts is useful to ensure that you understood the reading and have a clear project. It will also help prepare you for later when you need to summarize who you are and what you can do for potential employers and clients.

Length has value when ideas need the complexity of fully formed expression, though even that should be as direct as possible, and yet most would agree, granting the occasional dissenter, that brevity provides a certain clarity, excepting those situations where a lack of context make the comment more bewildering than appropriate, but writing that is to the point most often makes the best point.

In other words, keep it simple.

The challenge is that short mustn’t mean lack of information. Don’t eliminate content in order to keep it brief. Effective writing provides enough information to understand the situation, without so much detail as to complicate it—as you saw me do in the opening paragraph.

Writing abstracts is a great way to practice succinct clarity. You will learn how to condense...

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