How do you get the most out of your financial article abstracts? I’m not talking about executive summaries for white papers. I mean formal abstracts that appear at the start of journal articles.
To supercharge your financial article abstracts, you need to know your goal. In Stylish Academic Writing, Helen Sword got me thinking about what your goal should be. She says:
The purpose of a scholarly abstract is not merely to summarize an article’s content, but to persuade one’s discipline-based peers that the research is important and the article is therefore worth reading.
One way that authors strive to assert the importance of their research is to say that it “will plug a ‘gap” in the existing scholarship,” as Sword says. Surely this is important.
But, Sword argues that starting “human conversations” in abstracts may be even more important. “Authors who adopt an impersonal ‘academic’ tone are neglecting one of the most powerfully persuasive tools at the stylish writer’s disposal: the human touch,” she says.
One way to do that is to give “a voice and presences to human subjects,” Sword says. To do this in finance, you might write about the people affected by your research.
Another way is to write in the first person. Use “I” or “we,” instead of writing impersonally.
Sword also pushes for “clear, comprehensible language” in both your abstract and the body of your academic paper.
Another suggestion for your abstract: Describe “not only its what but its why.” Sword asks, “What is the main point of your article, dissertation, or book?” Also, “Why is it important, whether to you or to anyone else?” These are great questions for the writers of any document.
Check out Stylish Academic Writing
Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing isn’t just for academics. It offers advice that will help any nonfiction writer. It also sparked several posts on this blog.
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