Poor abstracts contain abbreviations, chemical formulas, jargon, or references to the literature, tables, or figures.
Poor abstracts contain claims that do not to correspond to findings in the report itself. The Introduction of your report is organized as a funnel that begins with a definition of why the experiment is being performed and ends with a specific statement of your research approach.
Tip: In general the more complex an experiment, the more background required (even to the point of including a separate background section, as seen in some of the sample articles on the 2.671 website).
The experiments performed in 2.671, however, limit the scope of background material required in your Journal Articles.
Check out the Abstract Worksheet on the 2.671 website for a step-by-step method for writing your abstract (filling out this worksheet will be required for future abstract writing assignments).
Pitfalls to avoid: Wordiness, providing too much or too little motivation for your project (ask technical instructors if you are unsure), and failure to include a relevant conclusion.
Explain the motivation for the project (as necessary), and provide a focus, a clear, one sentence purpose statement.
Format: The length of the Introduction should typically be about page (1-3 paragraphs).
Readers typically decide whether or not to read a paper based on their impressions of the abstract.
Consequently, the abstract can be the most important part of your report.