Tag Archives: Final Paper


What is an Abstract?

An “abstract” is a short summary of an academic paper. You may have seen/read some of them already while doing research. It’s a paragraph that comes before the essay itself– in APA style, it comes after the title page but before the introduction. It lives on its own page.

It’s similar to the blurbs you find on the back of books, but with one important difference: book blurbs want to hook the reader (to get you to read the book) and don’t spoil the ending. Abstracts spoil the ending. A reader should be able to read your abstract and know what the entire paper is about, including a one or two sentence summary of your findings.

Click here to see an example. On this example, ignore everything above the part that says VARYING DEFINITIONS OF ONLINE COMMUNICATION. That part in all caps is the running head for the paper. Everything above it was added by Purdue OWL just for the purposes of this example.

Notice that after the abstract, there are a few keywords. When researchers publish in scholarly journals, they are asked to choose up to 5 keywords that the paper will be sorted under, to help people find it when searching online or in libraries. Choose some words (almost always nouns) that encapsulate the main concepts involved in your paper.

My Tips

Only write about the most important details for someone to understand your paper. You may be able to steal some language from your proposal, with small revisions.

  • What is your general topic?
  • What is your main inquiry question?
  • What are the main arguments or pieces of evidence you discuss?
  • What is your answer, conclusion, or findings?

Try to have only 1-2 sentences for each one.

For more guidance, check out this Powerpoint by Dr. Edward Kennedy, another English professor here at John Jay.

What’s the Point of an Abstract?

So readers can know what your paper is about without having to read the whole thing!

Also because most scholarly articles exist behind paywalls. You can read the abstract for free, but you have to pay money (or belong to a university whose library has paid money) to read the whole thing.

That’s why you have to go through the library website to find most scholarly articles– in addition to the many helpful search functions the library site provides, you wouldn’t be able to access most of the articles if you found them through Google! Academic articles are very expensive, and none of the money goes to the author.

For example, here is an article I wrote. You can read the abstract for free on the site! However, it costs $44 for someone to read it without library access. But if someone buys it, I get $0. The abstract is a teaser!

FUN MONEY-SAVING FACT: Often, if you want to read an article, but can’t figure out how to access it for free through the library, you can google the professor and email them asking for a PDF. They will probably give it to you.

Proposal For Final Paper

Topic:College Admissions and Rank 

               I plan on researching college admissions and ranking. I find it interesting because there are many colleges that have a variety of racial groups which make up it’s diversity. Not only do colleges look at grades but they also look at a student’s racial background. This can affect their admissions to colleges because certain schools only accept specific racial groups. This is seen as discriminatory to many students because colleges are not looking at their grades but are choosing them based on their race and background instead. Especially in New York, there are many colleges that its “diversity” is not diverse enough. When looking up universities, the statistics speak for themselves. The minorities according to a graph in census.gov regarding to college admissions, are Asians and African Americans and the majority are Hispanics and white people that get accepted into colleges. This gap proves how discriminatory or the word used In today’s society, “diverse”, colleges can be when enrolling students.

          A question that I would like to know and answer would be why do colleges look at students Ethnic and racial groups if it has nothing to do with their Academic achievements? Many students who have good grades may not have been accepted to their school based on their race and because of this, many schools may be looked bad by many people who think the school is too selective. This can affect their rank and possibly get a bad review from many parents. 

           College admissions and rank are also determined by the income families receive. Families who receive less income are gonna have less chances to get into a private college. Caucasian families have more income than families who are Asian and Hispanic. The top 3 racial groups that are enrolled into colleges accordingly are Whites, Hispanics and Asians, respectively. The difference between these 3 groups In income is drastically different though. White families make more than Hispanics and Asians combined. Students whose parents income are low rely on scholarships to cover their tuition and this is the reason why Hispanics and Asians are chosen to get into the colleges they want. 

           College ranks depend on how many students graduate on time and without debt. This is something I would also like to research. Colleges that have high rates of students graduating on time has good reviews which make them more popular. When enrolling to different colleges, students have to research the colleges they want to go to but they have to keep in mind what colleges are more open and acceptable to them. The way they figure this out is based on the college’s statistics on race, income, location, graduation rate and how many students graduate debt free.