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How do I Become an Abstractor?

Elva K.
Elva K.

Abstractors analyze, organize, then summarize by making a brief statement of the important points in a document. The information that abstractors summarize could be any kind of information. For instance, it could be information from a textbook, academic journal, case law, or virtually any type of information. If you would like to become an abstractor, you will typically need at least a college degree.

The college degree that you should get will depend on what type of abstracting you hope to do. For instance, if you hope to become an abstractor who summarizes articles in business journals, it would be helpful to get a college degree in business. Similarly, if you hope to become an abstractor who summarizes articles from health journals or health books, it could be helpful to major in a health-related area so you have familiarity with the terms and topics typically used in a health context.

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Man with hands on his hips

Also, going to graduate school could be necessary in some cases. For example, if you hope to become an abstractor who summarizes science-related articles, getting a Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in a science area could be helpful because having graduate degree-level knowledge of science could enable you to more effectively summarize scientific concepts. By contrast, if you hope to be an abstractor who summarizes law-related materials, going to law school could be helpful because it would enable you to become familiar with the jargon and ideas used in a legal context.

Having a high level of persistence, analytical skill, and good written communications skills are important if you hope to become an abstractor. You may have to read an article several times to be certain your analysis is sufficient and certain that you have identified the essential concepts from the article. Also, as an abstractor, you have to write a clear and easy-to-understand summary that clearly communicates to readers what the book, journal, or document said.

As an abstractor, not only could you work in a business, health, or legal context but you could also do work on an Internet website or work with a research abstract publishing company. By contrast, you could adapt your skills to working as an abstractor of titles in real estate where you prepare written histories of the records of real estate properties. Granted, being an abstractor may not be a long-lasting career because this career is marked by a high turnover rate which often results in people pursuing some other career within a few years of starting to work as an abstractor. Nonetheless, if you have good reading skills, good analytical skills, and good communications skills, becoming an abstractor could be a viable career choice for you.

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