Short abstract proto-pattern

The abstracts of papers submitted to ICSE convey a sense of the kinds of research submitted to the conference. Some abstracts were easier to read and (apparently) more informative than others. Many of the clearest abstracts had a common structure:

  • Two or three sentences about the current state of the art, identifying a particular problem
  • One or two sentences about what this paper contributes to improving the situation
  • One or two sentences about the specific result of the paper and the main idea behind it
  • A sentence about how the result is demonstrated or defended

Abstracts in roughly this format often explained clearly what readers could expect in the paper.

Whether you like it or not, people judge papers by their abstracts and read the abstract in order to decide whether to read the whole paper. It’s important for the abstract to tell the story. Don’t assume, though, that simply adding a sentence about analysis or experience to your abstract is sufficient; the paper must deliver what the abstract promises

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