How to write an abstract for a conference

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					How to write an abstract
Henriëtte de Swart
Two types of abstracts
• Abstract preceding a published article
  (typically one paragraph).
• Abstract sent in for a conference;
  author wants to be selected to present
  a paper/poster.
• Common features: topic, background,
  approach, results, insights.
• Style: accessible, attractive, motivating,
  raise interest.
Abstract for conference
• Aim: get your paper accepted for a
  presentation (paper/poster).
• Research feasibility (some conferences
  are easier to get into than others).
• Note: most reviewing procedures are
  anonymous, so you get in by quality,
  not by fame! Don’t identify yourself.
Starting point
• Match your research to a conference
  (topic, approach, area).
• Respect requirements: adapt your
  abstract to guidelines, respect
• Make your abstract the right length:
  neither too long, nor too short.
• Use the space for data and
  argumentation, not for long lists of
Take your time
• Writing an abstract is difficult!!
• Take your time, rewrite and polish over
  several days.
• Get a student/colleague/supervisor to
  read your abstract.
• When you get comments, ask them to
  motivate their judgment: were they
  convinced? Were they interested?
  Would they go to the talk?
Keep the reader in mind
• Reviewers are typically required to read
  quite a few abstracts, so yours is one of
  many: grab their attention!
• Respect your reader: don’t
  underestimate or overestimate him.
• Give an attractive title. Keep sentences
  short, use ‘flow’, add pictures.
• Use rhetorics and convince your reader:
  sell your work!
• Show what your contribute to the field:
New data/observations that cannot be
  accounted for by existing theories.
New theoretical insights that improve
  upon earlier analyses (for old or new
Application of analyses from one
  domain to another.
• 1) introduction of topic and your new
  claim about it. New data/ observations.
• 2) a paragraph that shows you are
  familar with previous literature, and to
  criticize it on the basis of new data or
  theories, wrong predictions, etc.
• 3) the core of the abstract: your
  solutions supported by solid arguments
• 4) Conclusion: provide a punchline.
  Promise more. Show implications.
Assignment for paper
• Sell the paper under a different title,
  that you think is better suited to get the
  paper accepted at a conference.
• Write a one-page abstract respecting
  the guidelines given here.