Printer Friendly Version Of American Sociological Association: Writing an Informative Abstract

 Writing an Informative Abstract

Please write an informative abstract. Be orderly, succinct, and concrete. Use active verbs such as report", "propose," and "analyze" rather than static verbs such as "is", "are" and "appears to be." Do not hedge or equivocate. Abstracts should be less than 200 words. Use the following outline and example as a guide. The example describes "The Effects of Power, Knowledge and Trust on Income Disclosure in Surveys," by Catherine E. Ross and John R. Reynolds (1996. Social Science Quarterly 77:899-911).


State the core issue, research question, or objective of the research.

Why do some social groups report income less often than others? We propose that powerlessness in the household and in society decrease the likelihood of reporting income because they decrease knowledge and trust. Knowledge of household finances affects the ability to report household income. Trust affects the willingness to report it.


Briefly describe the methods, including the population, sampling method, sample size, study design (e.g., survey), and the date of the data collection.

We analyze the reporting of exact or approximate income in a national U.S. probability sample of 2,031 respondents interviewed by telephone in 1990.


Describe the results.

Mistrust reduces the probability of reporting income, whether exactly or approximately. Homemakers and those with little household power report income as often as others if allowed to report approximate rather than exact amounts. The same applies to African Americans, the poorly educated, the unmarried, and people who feel powerless. Older persons and those in larger households report income less often than others and tend to give approximate amounts.


Interpret the results as supporting or not supporting the theory or hypotheses. Draw conclusions and state implications.

The results confirm that knowledge and trust affect the reporting of income in surveys.

Prepared by John Mirowsky, editor, Journal of Health and Social Behavior