When you write a conference abstract, think of it as a cover letter. You are applying for the position of a speaker and are using a conference abstract to “sell” your research. As an academic, we don’t need to tell you how important for your career it is to present your research at events and getting published. So, today we will reveal the secrets of writing a conference abstract that event organizers will not be able to say ‘No’ to.
Your conference abstract checklist
1. Match the topic and the title to the scope of the event
When considering which event to present at, think in terms of the relevance of your research topic to the program of an event. Will it gather the type of audience that will be genuinely interested in your work? The closer the match, the more engaged the audience will be. That’s what event organizers are after. So, when selecting an event and writing the title of your abstract, think in terms of the target audience. Make the title appealing by showing what value it will add to the field.
2. Define the relevance of your conference abstract
Why this topic and why now? Give the reason for the organizers and their participants to care. Think of the larger context and the developments in your field. In your submission, explain why what you have to present is so important for the audience to hear.
3. Clearly identify the problem you are addressing
OK, so your abstract is relevant and appeals to the target audience. However, what is the specific problem/key issue that you are targeting? Are you looking at this problem from a macro or micro perspective? What is your angle? Help the event organizers and the attendees understand the goal of your research with a succinct formulation of the problem in your conference abstract.
4. Explain the design of your study
What methods were you using to conduct your study? How did you go about the research? In a very short summary, provide this information in your conference abstract to strengthen the credibility of your submission.
5. Provide a preview of the findings
Event organizers want to know what you did and how you did it. However, they also are looking for studies that uncover new insights. Something that helps us look at a topic from a fresh perspective. Briefly summarize the most important findings of your study. What trend(s) did you observe? Are you disproving popular-held believes? What new information about a specific topic the participants can only learn through your presentation?
When you write a conference abstract, try to think of it from the perspective of event organizers. If you were on the selection committee, would you be able to easily skim through the abstract and get a good idea of the quality and relevance of the submission? Would your audience be interested in what this author has to say? Your goal is not to provide as much information as humanly possible. That’s what your paper is for. Your goal is to provide just enough information in a structured, coherent way to make conference organizers want to know more.
Recommended reading: 10 Excellent Reasons to Attend Academic Conferences