Abstract-Writing Tips

The purpose of the abstract is to give the conference organizers a clear and concise understanding of your project, so that they can judge both whether your presentation is a good fit for the conference and, if so, how you should be grouped with other presenters.

Writing an abstract is such a common and important part of academic life that there are numerous resources online to help you get started.

As the brief guide below indicates, there is a general pattern that is often very effective for establishing why your audience should care about your paper. First, you establish what the conventional wisdom is about your subject—what “they” say—and then you contrast it with what “you” say that moves the field forward.

Word document of an abstract with edits made

Tips for Writing Abstracts

  • Start with the current state of knowledge–what does the audience in the field the conference is in know?
  • Show was you know is different, and how this paper is going to show what is missing.
  • Give your methodology: what/how/why to show that the conclusions will be rigorous.
  • End with a hypothesis or conclusion, depending on the stage your research is at, and what you expect to find.

Writing an abstract can feel intimidating, but remember that this conference welcomes participants with little previous conference experience. As long as you do good work and describe it clearly, you will receive full and careful consideration for your project.