WRITING AN ABSTRACT

Presenting a poster or paper at a scientific conference is almost always proceeded by the submission of an abstract on the work to be presented. An abstract is a summary of the research to be presented, which begins with brief introductory statements about the research and concludes with a statement of the significance of the research project. It is imperative that you write a quality abstract in order for it to be accepted. In addition many conference participants choose which posters/talks to attend based on the information contained in the abstract. A well-written abstract can help you draw an interested audience to your research presentation. 

  1. Your abstract should include the following information: 
  2. Introductory sentence(s) 
  3. Statement of hypothesis, purpose or question of study. 
  4. General methods/procedures used. 
  5. Primary result(s) 
  6. Primary conclusion of the work 
  7. General statement of the significance of the research 

Before submitting your abstract, double check your grammar, run a spell check and a word count, and be sure to submit it by the deadline. Always print out a copy to read, as it is much easier to catch typos that don’t involved misspelled words (e.g. if vs. is; both are words, so your spell check program will miss the difference). 

Evaluate your abstract

  1. Grammar & spelling: If you find errors, make corrections.
  2. Overlong and run-on sentences. Sentences should never be 3 lines long. If there is a long sentence, suggest a way to shorten it or to divide it into two sentences. 
  3. Clarity. Do you have a clear understanding as to what the project is about? Are there any terms you do not know or that have not been defined? Circle them to let the author know you don’t know what they mean.
  4. Does the abstract include: 
    • Introductory sentence(s)
    • Statement of hypothesis, purpose or question of study. General methods/procedures used.
    • Primary result(s)
    • Primary conclusion of the work
    • General statement of the significance of the research 
  5. Is it interesting? Does reading the abstract make you want to read the rest of the paper or see a poster on the topic. Write a note.
  6. Do you think the author fulfilled all the requirements? Why? Write a note. 
All information courtesy of the Undergraduate Research Science Center at UCLA