Writing an abstract for a review of literature

SOC 3000 Writing and Rhetoric in Sociology

Abstract: Definition

 An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. Generally (with VERY few exceptions) abstracts should be 100 to 250 words.  When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a manuscript, acting as the point-of-entry for any given scientific paper or patent application. Abstraction and indexing services are available for a number of academic disciplines, aimed at compiling a body of literature for that particular subject.   Currently, abstracts are immediately followed by “Key Terms.”    Key terms are employed for computer and Internet search engines.  

Things to know about abstracts:

1)    People read abstracts to get an overview of an article that they will definitely read.

2)    People read abstracts when they are browsing for something worthy to read.

3)    Abstracts are used for indexing and search engines.


Examples of Abstracts


1) What do you say when a resident loses control?


The most humiliating experience an alert nursing home resident faces is unpredictable bowel and bladder incontinence.    Generally, nursing home staff perceive the event as inconsequential and follow procedures for cleaning up.  Professional staff do not define this event as a psychological catastrophe and respond in a nonchalant manner.   The premise for following this nonchalant path appears to be ageism.   That is, staff think incontinence does not breed humiliation among elders.   It does.   This presentation includes a review of literature that supports this position.    The critical question becomes, “How does a nursing home professional verbally and nonverbally respond to a resident upon experiencing incontinence for the first time?” Based on a role playing experiment, effective responses to incontinence are discussed and analyzed.

Key Words: Role Playing, Bladder/Bowel Incontinence, Terminal Drop, Passive Suicide


2) Three Empirical Strategies for Teaching Statistics


This paper employs a three-step process to analyze three empirically supported strategies for teaching statistics to BSW students.  The strategies included: repetition, immediate feedback, and use of original data.  First, each strategy is addressed through the literature.  Second, the application of employing each of the strategies over the period of eight years of classroom application is outlined and discussed.  Third, the three strategies are evaluated by students.

Key Terms: Statistics, Teaching, Feedback, Repetition, Original Data

3) Ethical Interaction in Cyberspace for Social Work Practice


The nature of ethics on the Internet may be confusing to some social workers because of the unique characteristics of client contacts in cyberspace.   This article addresses three basic issues/questions that clarify the ethical relationships among clients, other professionals and the Internet.  These include: a)  What must I do to maintain professional ethical standards on the Internet?  b) How do I deal with the unethical interaction of others within cyberspace?  c) How do I examine and analyze ethical issues with no clear guidelines?

Key Terms: Social Workers, Ethics, Internet, Ethical Guides, NASW Code of Ethics


4) Teaching Crisis Intervention at a University


This paper points out the importance of teaching crisis intervention skills as part of the professional training of human service workers at a university.   The difference between training community mental health volunteers and college students is discussed.   The text book, the instruction, and the use of the library’s closed reserve are also presented.  Role playing is seen as a vital aspect of training in the professional program.   Criteria that constitute a good crisis intervention course are outlined.

Key Terms: Crisis Intervention, Teaching, Role Playing, Professional Training


5) Resolving the Transportation Problem in a Rural Community:

A Case Study of Robeson County’s Solution to TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families)


The number one rural problem related to TANF and welfare reform is transportation.  Even if the nation’s and state’s economies are robust and exceptional child care is available, welfare recipients have an extremely difficult time acquiring reliable transportation to and from their prospective work site.  In rural communities public transportation is virtually nonexistent.  Through the cooperation of a wide range of social service agencies, Robeson County (North Carolina) has established an effective transportation system for needy citizens.  The presentation outlines the process of establishing this successful enterprise and details future efforts.  In addition, web sites that address the issue of rural public transportation are offered.

Key Words: Rural, Transportation, Welfare Reform, TANF


6) Sexuality Among the Aging: Problems and Solutions.


This paper addresses the problems and solutions of human sexuality and aging within a social work context.  Prior to any serious discussion of this undertaking, it is imperative to examine the literature on the physiology of aging and the sexual apparatus.   Psychological and social phenomena do not occur in isolation.   In the area of human sexuality, it is particularly important to consider the relationship between the physical and non-physical.   The major portion of this paper deals with the psychosocial aspects of human sexuality and aging.   All the literature suggests that this psychosocial aspect is the dominant issue.    Unfortunately, the published literature offers little organization in examining the psychosocial reactions to the effects of aging and sexuality.   As a result, this review attempts to categorize the human problems related to sexuality and the elderly.   Traditional perspectives on aging are used in explaining and for providing solutions to the problem of aging and sexuality.

Key Words: Aging, Sexuality, Social Work, Sexual Roles





7) The Alcoholic Client and the Rehabilitation Counselor


This paper reviews some of the issues that face alcoholics: cerebral dysfunction, family, drugs, the environment, abstinence and employment.   The literature is filled with information on problems and treatment of alcoholic individuals, however, most of this literature does not address itself to rehabilitation personnel.   The intent of this paper is to present data to rehabilitation workers in a meaningful way.   Counseling combined with skillful knowledge of alcoholism and community resources should enhance the alcoholic’s lifestyle and increase independence and gainful employment.

Key Terms: Alcoholism, Vocational Rehabilitation, Cerebral Dysfunction, Family, Drugs, Environment, Abstinence, Employment



8) Major Uses of the Internet for Social Workers: A Brief Report for New Users


How are social workers using the Internet?  An effort was made to answer this question by surveying SOCWORK subscribers.  A top ten list was developed from this survey.  The manner in which social workers employ the Internet provides insight to others who are less familiar with it.  The implications are far reaching for both social work education and practice.   The education and practice gains that are made by exploiting the Internet are limited only by one’s creativity.

Key Terms: Social Work, SOCWORK, listserv survey, Internet usage


9) A Selective History of Internet Technology and Social Work


“Organized chaos” is the theme of the short history of the Internet and social work.  It is a history of paradoxes. Although there are many paths to follow the historical influence of the Internet for social work, this essay notes that the Internet was born from a military strategy.  Decades later, social work education and practice employed this massive network.  This essay traces the unlikely link among the original military agenda, astounding engineering feats, online social interaction action, and social work education and practice.  A short glossary is provided to readers unfamiliar with technical terms. 

Key Terms: Internet, History, Social Work, Computers





10) Misidentification: Implications for Law


Being mistaken for someone else can get us into dire circumstances, even convicted by law and executed.  A review of literature of popular press indicates that people being mistaken for others either appearance-wise, name-wise, or both are quite a common phenomenon.  Little has been done in the academic community to study the incidences or demographics of its occurrence.  Psychologists have, though, attempted to unravel the myriad of factors that go into the human identification process.   However, little to nothing has been written on the social affects of mistaken identity.  This paper addresses the social dimension rather than the psychological.  Students in social science classes in two southern colleges in the United States -- one predominately white and the other black -- were surveyed about how often, if ever, they had been mistaken for someone else and in what ways.  The present study focuses on the occurrences and consequences, both good and bad, of mistaken identity.

Key Terms: Misidentification, Court, Social Impact, Survey,


11) Social Work Program’s Use of the World Wide Web to Facilitate Field Instruction


Employing a systems model, this study presents a content analysis of the Websites of social work academic programs in the United States.  A sample of 292 academic programs was extracted from the Baccalaureate Program Directors’ (BPD) online directory of CSWE-accredited social work programs.  Of these, 119 were MSW or MSW/BSW programs; the remaining 173 were BSW programs.   Although many aspects of Webpage content were examined, field curriculum was the central focus of the study.   The results demonstrate the wide variety of information included on the Websites.  MSW and MSW/BSW program Websites offer more information than BSW programs.   However, most programs are not making use of the Internet to obtain feedback, create interaction, or provide support.  A variety of model Websites are offered to assist social work academic program develop and maintain their own Websites.

Key Terms: Internet, Web, Social Work Education, Field Education, Systems Theory


12) The ACBSW Credential, “What Good Is It Anyway?”: Four Perspectives


This paper reviews the history, development, and purpose of the Academy of Certified Baccalaureate Social Workers (ACBSW) credential.   The authors address four perspectives: (a) the development of the ACBSW examination; (b) promoting the ACBSW credential, (c) the importance of the ACBSW credential for baccalaureate programs, and (d) the importance of the ACBSW from a BSW perspective, the authors advocate for the existence of this credential on the basis of the quality of its standards, the assistance it offers to BSW practitioners, perception of clients toward the certificate, and the effects it has on BSW programs.

Key Terms: ACBSW, BSW, Social Work Certificate, NASW


13) Cheap E-Mail: The Paper


The primary purpose of this paper [and corresponding film entitled Cheap E-Mail: The Movie] is to address the fourth objective of the BPD’s Ad Hoc Committee on E-Mail and Social Work Education: “To coordinate the provision of free technical consultation that can assess the costs of hardware and software needs of member institutions that do not have e-mail available.”  Hardware and software needs are outlined and assessed.  Two types of e-mail vendors are reviewed: 1) Full Service; and 2) E-mail only.   Results from two surveys are included.  The first survey includes comments from each vendor.  The second survey includes comments from subscribers.  No subscriber comments were received from AT&T Easylink or Sprintmail.  Although FreeNet is not a likely alternative for most BPD members, information about it is included.  Clearly this data will be useful to some readers.  Perhaps, the most valuable information can be found in the appendix.  The nine vendors offer a description of their individual services.

Key Terms: BPD, Internet, Email, Cost-Effectiveness, Software Review


14) Baccalaureate Program Advisory Boards: What Do They Do?


            A national survey of baccalaureate social work programs [accredited and candidacy status] was conducted in order to determine what social work advisory boards actually do and how effectively they complete their defined tasks. Forty-four percent of the programs re­sponded.   Specifically, four empirical research questions were addressed in the question­naire:

            a)   Is there an evaluative difference between the sources of constituent input? [advisory boards versus other methods]

           b)   How important is advisory board input?

           c)   What do social work program advisory boards do?

           d)   Who serves on social work program advisory boards?

The primary findings strongly suggest that programs with advisory boards have a higher quality of constituent input.  Advisory boards have diverse tasks to perform and generally do a good job if specific structural conditions are met.  Adequate constituent representation appears to be a problem in many social work programs.   Based on the findings of the sur­vey, the authors make suggestions to program directors who desire to development or main­tain an advisory board.

Key Terms: BSW, Baccalaureate Social Work, Advisory Boards, Survey


15) A Marxian Review of Gerontological Literature


A major concern for the sociology of aging and social gerontology is the lack of theoretical rigor.  In particular, Birren and Bengtson (1988) describe all social gerontology as “data-rich but theory poor.”  In an effort to deal with the lack of theory, this essay reviews the general social gerontological literature from a Marxian perspective.  The findings suggest that the Marxian framework can illuminate aspects of social gerontology hitherto left unexamined in both academic and applied arenas.

Key Terms: Social Gerontology, Aging, Marx, Marxian Theory, Theory

16) Making Sense of the Law and Social Work Connection: A Review Essay


The authors compare and contrast  four monographs that integrate law and social work.  The Texts include: Albert’s Law and Social Work Practice (1986), Barker and Branson’s Forensic Social Work: legal Aspects of Professional Practice (1993), Brieland and Lemmon’s Social Work and the Law (1990).  Although, the authors do not report on which text is the best, they are able to effectively guide the reader in understand that the usefulness of each text is situationally dependent.  A table is provided that summarizes the comparisons.  In addition, the table will assist the reader to make an informed decision in selecting a best text in concert with academic goals.

Key terms: Social Work, Law, Textbooks, Text Adoption


17) Social Work Research and the Courts


Based on this social work practice experience, the author argues that the court system is an appropriate location for the practice of social work research.  Survey research methodology skills are demonstrated to be useful for many court officials, including defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, and judges.   Examples are given that illustrate how social work research has been used.   Ethical issues for implementing and interpreting research are also addressed.

Key terms: Social Work, Courts, Law, Social Work Research, Ethics