For many decades the abstract has served as a standalone summary of an academic publication, one that succinctly informs readers of what they might expect to find upon reading the paper. While some publication venues require abstracts to conform with a specified structure, many others, including ITiCSE, leave the structure entirely to the paper's authors. In this paper we report on the components identified in the abstracts of ITiCSE's full papers and working group reports. We examine the abstracts of all 1496 of these publications from 25 years of ITiCSE to determine what structural elements they employ. We also construct something of an ethos of computing education by compiling assertions from the introductions of many abstracts. We find, among other things, that very few abstracts include all of the components that are recommended in a structured abstract; that a number of abstracts consist of nothing but background; that nearly half of abstracts do not include any results; and that nearly five percent of abstracts include references, despite often not having an associated reference list. As an example from the ethos, we find that industry wants people with soft skills, and it is important that we teach our students these skills. Our analysis will guide future ITiCSE authors as they consider how to formulate their own abstracts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Virtual, Online, Paderborn, Germany
Duration: 26 Jun 20211 Jul 2021
Conference number: 26


ConferenceAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleITiCSE
Internet address


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