The following information was supplied by Alaska Professional Communicators:
Abstract Q&A and Hints
What Is an abstract?
An abstract is a brief statement of the essential, or most important, thoughts about your project. It should summarize, very clearly and simply, the main points of your experiment. (Please DO NOT submit abstracts for collections, models, displays, or demonstrations; AKProCom judges abstracts for experiments only.)
Why is an abstract important?
Although it is the last part of your project that you do, it may be the FIRST thing that the judges and visitors read when they come to look at your project. Together with your display, it tells them what your project is about.
You want to get the judges' attention and hold their interest, so they will take the extra time to read your report, study your work more closely, and ask you questions about your project. You may have worked on your experiment for weeks or even months, but other people have only a few minutes to see what you did.
Only minimal reference to previous work may be included.
An abstract should not include:
How long should your abstract be?
Your abstract should be between 100 to 250 words. We encourage you to use a computer and printer to prepare your abstract; however, neat hand printing in blue or black ink on white paper is acceptable.
Alaska Professional Communicators Judging Hints (useful for students and judges)
Hint: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) also provides some excellent information about abstracts and display boards. See the links called "Master the Abstract Writing Process" and "Creating an Effective Project Display" (PowerPoint presentations) at the ISEF site: http://www.societyforscience.org/Page.aspx?pid=282 Find these links about halfway down that page under the "Resources for Students & Teachers" heading.