Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing effective abstracts

Work at it.
It is important.
How interesting and clear the abstract is will determine may determine whether or not people read your paper or come to your talk.

Here are a few more tips from the Writing Center from the University of Nevada @ Las Vegas

It is important that you spend some time thinking and drafting your abstract since the quality of these documents is often solely responsible for whether or not your paper is accepted to a conference, whether or not your research project is approved, and/or whether or not you receive funding for a research project.

Your abstract or prospectus/research proposal is literally a "first impression" to your reader/audience, one that you want to make positively. Thus, you should consider writing more than one draft and beginning your drafting process early.

Typically, an informative abstract answers these questions in 100-250 words:

  • Why did you do this study or project?

  • What did you do and how?

  • What did you find?

  • What do your findings mean?

If your paper is about a new method or apparatus, the last two questions might be changed to:

  • What are the advantages (of the method or apparatus)?

  • How well does it work?


  1. When I went to write an abstract on my JCTC paper for Pacifichem, I realized quickly that the original abstract was 3 times as long as it needed to be. I hope people still read it.

  2. They will because it is a great paper !