Communicating your research is an important part of being a scientist. While submitting an abstract to a national conference can seem overwhelming, it is one of the best ways to communicate your science and get your research in front of a large audience.
ASM education specialist, Dr. Christopher Skipwith, will provide students with tips on writing an abstract during the “Writing a Competitive Abstract” webinar from Aug. 5-8, 2019. Here are a few of his best practices to prepare your first abstract for a scientific conference.
Read the Instructions
Although this may be obvious, many times, abstracts are rejected because they are missing key components. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the submission requirements before starting your abstract.
Understand the Target Audience
Who will be reading your abstract? Whether you are submitting to a field-specific or general conference, make sure the language you use can be easily understood by your target audience. Field-specific language may be appropriate for specialized conferences, however plain language must be used for conferences that cover a wide range of fields.
When using acronyms, remember to always provide the full phrase on the first mention accompanied by the acronym in parenthesis.
Clearly State the Hypothesis/Statement of Purpose
Not every project has a hypothesis, but all projects have a purpose. Figure out the research questions you are trying to answer and include the hypothesis or purpose of your research in the abstract. It is imperative to communicate your hypothesis/statement of purpose clearly so the reader can get a better context of your research goals and understand the importance of your research.
Tie Results and Conclusions Back to the Hypothesis/Statement of Purpose
After you have written your results and conclusions, go back to your hypothesis/statement of purpose. Do the results and conclusions clearly support your research purpose? What did the results say about your hypothesis? Make sure the links between these components are obvious to the reader.
Review, Then Review Again
Reread your abstract against a print out of the abstract guidelines. As you go through, check off each guideline to ensure your abstract is complete. Remember that even if it has all the requirements, a poorly written abstract will not be accepted. Then have multiple people, including your Principal Investigator, read it over. Incorporate their feedback to ensure a strong submission.