An abstract (in this instance) is a summary or synopsis of an article in a journal or magazine.
During this semester you will abstract one or more articles on which topics apply to environmental
science. The purpose of preparing abstracts is to acquaint you with scientific literature and to
expose you to current topics in environmental science.
Due dates for these abstracts are:
Friday, October 29, 2010 and (if chosen)
Friday, December 3, 2010
You will be provided with links to the articles to be abstracted; choose only one. The articles will be feature
articles from past issues of Scientific American.
The abstract must be typed using the current MLA style (This is the format that Peachtree Ridge has adopted
school-wide. In college you may be asked to use APA format, which is the usual format for the sciences.
Just be aware that there are different formats).
Double spaced in the upper left hand corner of your paper, you should have your name, due date of the
article, course name with block and my name in the proper order. See the example on the next page.
The abstract heading (title) will be the proper bibliographic format for the article, in MLA style. Failure to
follow the proper format will result in a lower grade. Notice the double spacing within and between entries.
You do not have to include the URL, if you do be sure it is enclosed in < > and breaking only at the slashes
(see MLA reference site for more info).
MLA Examples:
(on-line acquisition of article from a database)
Gerstein, Mark, and Deyou Zheng. "The Real Life of Pseudogenes." Scientific American 295.2 (2006): 4855. EBSCO. Web. 10 Jan. 2010.
(article obtained directly from journal)
Kasting, James F. "When Methane Made Climate." Scientific American 291.1 (2004): 78-85.
The first example shows a citation for an article accessed electronically. The second example would be for a
periodical (journal) that was actually in your hands, in other words it was not accessed online or electronically, but
the actual paper version was in your possession. Notice that 2 dates are present; the first is the date the article
appeared in the print version; the second is the date the article was downloaded by the reader.
The body of the abstract should be double spaced in 12-pt. font (Times New Roman or Courier are acceptable), with
one inch margins on all sides. Alignment should be flush left with the first line indented 5 spaces. An abstract is a
one-paragraph, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the article. Your abstract may not be
longer than one page for the highest possible score.
GRADING: The grade will take into account not only how well you have summarized the salient points of the
article, but also how well you are able to follow the format directions and use appropriate grammar. This is a grade
that generally can help a student’s average, so take your time and make sure to do it in a timely fashion.
Sample A. Student
Mrs. Wade
23 August 2204
Taussig, Helen B. “The Thalidomide Syndrome.” Scientific American 188.2 (1962): 29-35.
Web. 4 Aug. 2204. < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1543064/ >
In the period from 1959 until 1961, approximately 6000 infants were born in West Germany with
severe deformities of the limbs. In the decade preceding 1959, there had been no more than 15
instances of phocomelia, as this deformity is called, in West Germany. The disease was traced to a
new drug, thalidomide, which had come into widespread use in sedatives and sleeping tablets.
Ingestion of as little as 100 milligrams during the third through sixth weeks of pregnancy can cause
the characteristic limb deformities seen with phocomelia. During this period, the first signs of future
limbs appear. The fact that the arm buds develop slightly earlier than the leg buds may be important
in accounting for the greater frequency of arm damage. The drug apparently arrests and deranges
those processes of development that are in progress when the embryo is exposed to it. Fortunately,
the drug never reached the market in the United States. Clearance for marketing was delayed
because the initial submission of papers was found to be incomplete. By the time the papers were
completed, information was already surfacing which indicated that thalidomide was not the
“harmless” drug it was once thought to be. The concern over the tragedy that could have happened
in the United States resulted in more extensive testing of drugs marketed for humans, especially
those to be used by pregnant women.