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Abstract 1 is ineffective because it is almost all trees and no forest.
Abstract 2: This essay responds to scholarly skepticism about narrative as argument, due to its reliance on hindsight effects (because such and such happened, then so and so must be the causes), and its tendency to develop inadequate analogies or to overgeneralize from single cases.
The essay contends that, while some uses of narrative as argument display these problems, they are not inherent in narrative itself.
Its fundamental flaw is its unexamined assumption that each of its two cases studies is in itself a significant contribution to conversations about the relation between narrative and argument.
Abstract 2 is much more effective because it backgrounds the trees and foregrounds the forest. ” question, it explicitly announces its methodological commitment (to a conception of “narrative as rhetoric”), and it clearly states its conclusions in a way that situates them in the larger debate.
However, from the perspective of an author submitting work to a journal, there is another important audience to consider: the journal editor(s) and the external reviewers to whom the editor(s) send it.
This audience looks at your abstract with their most pressing question in mind: is this article publishable in this journal?Instead, he uses several mini-narratives in combination with exposition and with thematizing commentary to alter his audience’s understanding of both the problem and the solution.Indeed, he uses the ending to the central narrative as a way to temper his audience’s enthusiasm for the solution., a volume designed to address debates about the efficacy and validity of stories in argumentative discourse.(The collection is edited by Paula Olmos and forthcoming from Springer.) The title of the essay is “Narrative as Argument in Atul Gawande’s ‘On Washing Hands’ and ‘Letting Go’” As the title suggests, much of the space of the essay is devoted to the analysis of Gawande’s two essays, which become case studies in the larger debate to which the collection is devoted.It offers warrants for that contention by (a) proposing a conception of narrative as rhetoric and (b) using that conception to analyze two essays by Atul Gawande, “On Washing Hands” (2007) and “Letting Go” (2014), which rely heavily on narrative as part of their larger problem-solution argumentative structure.The analysis leads to the conclusion that a skillful author can, depending on his or her overall purposes, use narrative either as a mode of argument in itself or as a means of supporting arguments made through non-narrative means -- and can even use both approaches within a single piece. Abstract 1 adopts the strategy of offering a general statement about the larger argument and focusing on what the essay says about the case studies.A good abstract tilts them toward an affirmative answer by leaving them well-disposed toward the longer argument in the article.A bad abstract won’t by itself cause this audience to reject an article, but it does incline the audience toward an initial negative answer.In fact, we recommend that you not wait until you’re finished with your article to write your abstract.Try writing it at different stages in the composing and revising process and use what you discover about what’s easy and what’s hard to articulate about the project to clarify and strengthen your argument in the essay itself.