The University of

Scientific and Technical Writing and Research
GEOL 6970

Online Course

Unit 1:  Your Research Proposal
            How to Write an Abstract

Due Date:  March 10, 2003
Procedure:  mail to instructor 

Abstracts:  The abstract should be a single paragraph (150 words or fewer) stating the nature of the investigation and summarizing its important conclusions. The abstract should be suitable for separate publication and be adequate for indexing.

Here's an outline to follow when putting together an abstract of research that you have either already done, or of work you plan to do. 

  1. Start with a sentence like this -- "This paper presents the research design, research problem, and anticipated possible results research conducted xxx"
  2. Use one sentence to summarize your research problem and the reason the research is important.
  3. Use one sentence to describe your research design and methodology (where, what, when, etc.)
  4. Describe how you plan to analyze your data. 
  5. Possible results or outcomes (list at least three)

Put it all together, then e-mail me with your draft abstract.  I will review it and give you personalized suggestions.

Structure of Tasks:
Identify your topic
  -  Draft your proposal flowchart
  -  List research
           -  Procedures you plan to follow
           -  Other studies that provide background and history
           -  Key articles and books

Proposal Flowchart: 

I. Introduction
(General area of project, objective of proposal)
II. Background
A. Current processes or techniques
B. Scientific/Mathematical analysis of above
III. Alternatives
(Scientific/Mathematical analysis of alternatives)
IV. Proposed method or idea
A. Detailed account of approach
B. Scientific/Mathematical support
V. Proposed studies (Studies and information required to implement process)
      A. Data to be collected
      B.  Data in hand
      C.  Analysis -- how you propose to analyze your data
VI.  References (can be preliminary) -- these will form the basis of your discussion of previous work in your research topic area


Geophysical Studies of the Southwest Florida Coast -- 2001
Geophysical Mapping of Freshwater--Saltwater Interface -- 1999
Citation Guide 
University of Texas El Paso Dissertation / Thesis Guidelines

Required Work: 
  *  Your research question
  *  Proposal flowchart -- please complete in as detailed manner as possible
  *  Sample Abstract over your research
  *  Preliminary research:  a list of sources

Useful Links:
NMDP Research:  How to Propose a Study
Minerals Research Request for Proposals
Requests for Proposals 2003:  Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute

United States Geological Survey.
Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey. 7th ed. Washington: GPO, 1991.
Official Website:
Explanatory Website:

Scientific and Technical Writing and Research Menu

Home Page
Unit 1:  Your Research Proposal -- initial writing and research
Unit 2:  Your dissertation or thesis:  Outline, section drafts, understanding abstracts
Unit 3:  Grammar and Style Review // Revisions
Unit 4:  Final Report

Other Resources

American Geological Institute
Geological Society of America
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Turabian Style Guide
Author Information:  GSA