Guidelines for Writing an Abstract

If you’ve not written a conference abstract before – or even if you have – here are some basic tips that might help. Every discipline or conference is different, but there are some general guidelines that you can follow. For CitSciOz18 we have a strict word limit of 250 words (not including the title, author names, author details or author biography). Abstracts are generally written as one paragraph, with three sections.

The first section describes the problem or issue you are addressing with your project or research and why people should care. Introduce the context of your study, perhaps including the particular issue or question your study responds to. In general people don’t mention their specific study in this section, but use this opportunity to set up the context of the study and demonstrate their understanding of the research or project area. It helps if you can demonstrate that your question or issue is interesting and worth answering.

The second section of an abstract details your approach and any results you have. This is where we get the real meat of what you might present. You might outline your project, the theoretical or practical techniques you used, the experiment or source material, or how you answered the question you outlined in section 1.

In section 3 you highlight your conclusions or outcomes, and why people should be interested in your work. Here you discuss briefly how your work affects the wider context of citizen science, and why it is relevant and exciting. You need to convince the reader that your project/research is significant and that you deserve the time to present it. These guidelines borrow very heavily from here.

Finally, don’t forget to seek permission from all the authors that you identify in your abstract and don’t forget to include everyone that contributed significantly to the project or study.