Writing and Reviewing Research Abstracts for Presentation
Additional Tips and Reviewer Checklist
- ALWAYS follow the guidelines of the conference organizer. Accepted length and format will vary. Some conferences and (journals) now employ "structured" abstracts. Such abstracts give the author(s) a higher world limit and include the use of multiple sub-headers (e.g., Background/Context; Purpose; Setting; Participants; Intervention; Research Design; Data Collection; etc.). Thus, pay close attention to the format requirements set forth.
- Even if the abstract is supposed to be submitted in sections, unless otherwise instructed, write in complete sentences! The abstract should read fluidly.
- Use your word limit wisely - include substantive information for all required aspects (purpose, etc) and do not "short change" any one of them. Be focused, clear and accurate.
- Be audience-centered. Your abstract should be intelligible to a wide audience – avoid too much use of acronyms and highly technical jargon. Remember: Reviewers may not necessarily be directly knowledgeable, or have expertise in the specific topic or method!
- Check your writing! Ask two different people to read the abstract before submitting (one insider and one outside the subject area). Provide them with the review criteria and also ask for feedback on organization and coherence. Then…
Always put yourself in the shoes of the reviewers and what they will question/look for.
- Correct weak organization and incoherence
- Leave out superfluous information
- Add important information you left out
- Eliminate wordiness – each sentence should pack a punch
- Correct errors in grammar and mechanics
Now what is the REVIEWER going to look for in the abstract? Following the content outlined above, reviewers can use a simple CHECKLIST to give the submitter an idea of what the reviewer will be considering.<<Back to Abstract Writing and Reviewing Tutorial