It needs to be 200 words long with four sections: Aims, background, method and contributions. Below are some of the guidelines that we were given to write a structured abstract.
Aims: e.g. the key purpose of this study is to evaluate the degree to which structured abstract offer a meaningful was for students to develop their research proposal ideas.
Background: e.g. Past research showed that structured abstracts are more informative, readable and easier understood than traditional abstracts (Random Author, 2015). From a similar perspective, it is argued that structured abstract can also be more effective for teaching research methods and the development of research proposals. Specifically they can be more effective than traditional abstracts because they provide a more meaningful way for students to organize and present their ideas.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study will be carried out with OB/OP Msc students at the Department of Organisational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. Students will be randomly assigned to one of two groups requiring them to submit either structured or a traditional abstract. These abstracts will be submitted prior to the students developing their full proposals. The effectiveness of different types of abstracts will be assessed by evaluating the quality of the final proposal.
Contribution: This study will have three key contributions. First, examining the effects of structured abstracts on the writer rather than the reader will allow the development of alternative explanations for why they are so effective. Second, by showing that structured abstracts are effective way of teaching research methods, the study will have important implications for how they are used in educational settings. Finally, the design of the study makes a methodological contribution. Past research in this area relied on evaluating existing published abstracts. By requiring students to write their own abstracts this study has high ecological validity and overcomes some of the limitations of previous studies.