The Grey Lit Café

How to write abstracts (I): Structure and tone

October 25, 2022 Anthony Haynes Season 2 Episode 19
The Grey Lit Café
How to write abstracts (I): Structure and tone
Show Notes

Anthony Haynes (Creative Director, Frontinus Ltd) writes: Abstracts are of central importance to grey literature: some forms of grey literature -- proposals, for example, or working papers -- come accompanied by abstracts; and abstracts themselves (which are often used independently of the texts they're designed to accompany) constitute a form of grey literature.

This episode is designed to help listeners to create abstracts effectively and without undue difficulty. It does so by outlining (a) the content required in an abstract and (b) ways of sequencing content to achieve narrative flow. In the process, the episode distinguishes between obligatory and optional content.


Unit V of #EnginComms provides links to a video and how-to slides, together with links to other creators' resources in various forms:

Karen L. McKee has produced two excellent videos, one on written abstracts and one on graphical. The respective links are:


  • Sound production: Bart Hallmark
  • Music: from Handel's Water Music, courtesy of the United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra

Further listening

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, you might enjoy our episodes on creating word clouds and research posters. The respective links are here:

How Frontinus Ltd can help

Frontinus has extensive experience of helping organisations and their authors to write abstracts. Our services include writing, editing, and training. To discuss your needs and see how we add value, please contact us via our website:

About the publisher

This episode is published by Frontinus Ltd. We're a communications consultancy that helps organisations and individuals to communicate scientific, professional, and technical content to non-specialist audiences.

We provide

  • consultancy
  • mentoring
  • editing and writing
  • training

and work on presentations, bids and proposals, and publications (for example, reports and papers).

To learn more about services or explore ways of working together, please contact us via our website,