Writing scientific theses/dissertations in biology field: confusing in using abstract and summary term
Writing the abstract in a thesis, a dissertation and in a scientific paper is of a great importance to condense the contents in well readable and self expressible short text. The abstract should give a real, precise, accurate and satisfied picture for the entire scientific article. Two terms (abstract and summary) were used widely by Iraqi biological sciences postgraduate students as the first chapter in their theses and dissertations writing. These both terms usually are different in their context writing style and in their content. It is supposed that abstract should be used in the writing of scientific articles, thesis or dissertation instead of summary. This study hypothesized that those students have no knowledge and skill to differentiate between abstract and summary terms in their writing process. This study involved reading and analyzing of 124 thesis and dissertations from different biological disciplines and involved also interviewing 114 postgraduate students to uncover the accuracy of using those two terms and to have proper idea about their knowledge in abstract writing guidelines. The results revealed that most students didn’t differentiate between abstract and summary in their writing, no abstract was written correctly indicating that the students lacked the knowledge and skill of abstract writing guidelines. The students did write their abstract by blindly mimic the previous students writing style without any attempt to check the accuracy of writing process. Reconsideration for postgraduate students’ syllabus must be taken to establish rigid system for scientific writing based on international guidelines.