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Seminar Paper Research

This guide is intended to direct researchers to resources on scholarly legal writing, including both legal and interdisciplinary resources.

Tips for Writing an Abstract

The abstract is a succinct description of your paper, and the first thing after your title that people read when they see your paper. Try to make it capture the reader's interest.

Outline of Abstract:

Paragraph 1

  • Sentence 1: One short sentence, that uses active verbs and states the current state of things on your topic.
  • Sentence 2: Describe the problem with the situation described in sentence one, possibly including a worst-case-scenario for what will happen if things continue in their current state.
  • Sentence 3: In one sentence, describe your entire paper--what needs to be done to correct the problem from Sentence 1 and avoid the disaster from Sentence 2?
  • Sentence 4: What has been written about this? If there is a common consensus among legal scholars, what is it? (Note any major scholars who espouse this vision).
  • Sentence 5: What are those arguments missing?

Paragraph 2:

  • Sentence 1-3: How would you do it differently? Do you have a theoretical lens that you are applying in a new way? 
  • Sentence 4: In one sentence, state the intellectual contribution that your paper makes, identifying the importance of your paper.

(from "How to Write a Good Abstract for a Law Review Article," The Faculty Lounge, 2012).


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