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Abstract v. Excerpt?


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Hello all,


I am posting regarding the UC Santa Cruz political science writing sample component. The department website says that applicants are to submit "The abstract of a scholarly written work (1200-1500 words) should represent the applicant’s best research and capacity to engage in scholarly inquiry..etc...etc." 


Perhaps I'm a total moron, but are they seriously only asking only for a summary of a larger work? Do you think they are looking for an excerpt from a research paper? They ask that I have the whole paper ready to be submitted electronically if requested. I am hesitant to contact the department as I don't want to come off as a total idiot. But I also don't want to submit my application incorrectly.


Any insight is much appreciated!

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They're not looking for an excerpt - they're looking from the abstract. This is quite common in biology - they don't have time to read a full paper from everyone, so conferences ask for an abstract; only if you're accepted or they need more information do they want the whole article. Since an abstract summarizes your hypothesis, your methods, and your results, it's a good way for them to see the type of work you did. Sounds like you just need to send in the abstract for a paper you've already written. 

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