Vagueness in the Scientific Journals Abstracts

Abstract

A word or a group of words is vague when its meaning imprecise. A research paper begins with an abstract. An abstract should be precise, concise, specific, and coherent. The problem of the present study focuses on to what extent are writers aware of vagueness in writing abstracts? The current study aims at exploring the sources of vagueness in research abstracts. In order to achieve this, it is hypothesized that: research writers of Iraqi academic journals are not aware of vague words or expression in writing abstracts which leads to vague interpretations of sentences. The researcher has analysed two abstracts following Kempson’s (1977) model of vagueness. The model is based on four types of vagueness: referential vagueness, indeterminacy of meaning, lack of specification in the meaning of an item and disjunction in the specification of the meaning of an item. The abstracts are taken from “AL-Kitab Journal for Pure Sciences”, Iraq. The results of the study show that the researchers used 16 cases of vagueness for the sample of the study. Referential vagueness scored the highest percentage (75%), lack of specification in the meaning of an item (18.75%), the indeterminacy of meaning (6.25%), and finally, no cases of disjunction in the specification of the meaning of an item were found. The analysis also shows that the cause of including vague expressions in the analysed abstracts is that researchers are not aware of such vagueness due to the lack of knowledge in such expressions and using imprecise words which verifies the research hypothesis.