What is required?

  • All PhD and Master's degree students must to submit a scientific/scholarly abstract. DMA and MFA students are exempt from this requirement.

  • All students are required to submit a public abstract.

What is a Scientific/Scholarly Abstract?

The scientific/scholarly abstract is a summary of the research/work that answers the following questions (very broadly). What is the topic of your research? How did you conduct it? What are you trying to prove? What did you learn? What is the significance of your research? Think of it as an executive summary of your work.

Tips to Get Started and Submit:

  • Need an example of a well-written and properly formatted scientific/scholarly abstract? Click here.
  • Explore previously submitted theses and dissertations through Iowa Research Online for other abstract examples here.
  • This abstract should appear as a page in the manuscript and must be submitted through the ProQuest registration form.
  • This abstract should not exceed two double-spaced pages.

What is a Public Abstract?

The public abstract is translational and functions as an "elevator pitch" for your research. It is a summary of the research/work that is targeted to a general audience and written in lay terms. Writing a public abstract is a professional development opportunity to gain experience in articulating the value and/or purpose of your research to broader audiences, including legislators, the media, and members of the public.

Tips to Get Started and Submit:

  • Need an example of a public abstract? Examples: 1, 2, 3
  • Use this '3 Minute Thesis' video clip for inspriation as you begin to write your public abstract. The way this student delivers her research and methodology to the audience in such simple terms, is the way in which you should write your public abstract. Click here to watch the video.
  • This abstract should appear as a page in the manuscript and must be submitted via this Qualtrics form.
  • Please wait until final deposit to enter your abstract on the webform, as the system does not allow you to make updates once it has been submitted. If you need changes made to your public abstract, please e-mail the final version to Cindy-Fetters@uiowa.edu and she will submit the update for you.
  • This abstract may be up to 250 words.

Writing Reminders for the Public Abstract

  • Audience: Begin with the understanding that your audience – be it grant funders, legislators, educators, or the general public – is not used to reading scholarly writing from your particular discipline. They may be interested in your work, but unequipped to navigate the complexities of your area of study.
  • Language: Avoid long or complex words. Eliminate jargon – specialized language that you might use with your professional peers – which a more general audience might not understand. Explain acronyms, abbreviations, or terms specific to your discipline that a general audience might not understand.
  • Sentence Structure: Write in the active voice, and keep sentence structure simple. If you don’t need a particular word to convey your message, delete it.
  • Organization: Organize your thoughts clearly, in a way that is clear and easy to follow. Read with an eye toward eliminating details or extraneous thoughts that don’t contribute to the reader’s understanding of your work.
  • Readability: If you are unsure about the level at which your public abstract is written, use a readability formula to see whether the writing is suitable for a general audience. Ask a friend from outside your discipline to read your public abstract, highlight words, phrases, or ideas that are unclear to them.