You are here

»

10 Ways to Write Your Best Abstract Yet

Trainee writing an abstract

How can you ensure your abstract is submission-ready? Before writing your abstract, read over the 2019 Rules and Regulations, which include the mandatory abstract submission format.

Next, read over these 10 tips from researchers, faculty supervisors and experienced graduate trainees on writing a quality abstract:

1. Stick to a schedule

Consider the LHRD abstract submission deadline and plan accordingly. Give yourself buffer time for independent revisions, peer editing, formatting and possible technical difficulties.

2. Start with bullet points

Outline all of the information you want to include in point-form and link ideas together into complete sentences and proper statements.

3. Consider your audience

Who will be reviewing you abstract? Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “What would I want to see?” All abstracts should be targeted to a general scientific audience comprised of basic and clinical researchers.

4. Think about style

Language and grammar can make or break an abstract. Avoid using jargon, quotations and citations to create a professional and clean aesthetic. Writing in short sentences and with an active voice will keep your messaging concise and easy to understand.

5. Use headers and keep it short

Ensure your abstract is easy to follow and well-organized. Use the five required headings (introduction; hypothesis; materials and methods; results; discussion and conclusions) to maintain structure and ensure you meet all content requirements. An abstract is meant to be brief, and you will only have 3,500 characters. It might take a little time to get to the final version, so be patient.

6. Start strong

Hook your audience from the beginning. Your introduction should clearly present the topic by explaining the unmet need and the novel approach of your research. A succinct summary of your hypothesis should follow. If your study was observational or addressed a technical problem, consider writing objectives rather than a hypothesis.

7. Explain your process

The materials and methods should describe how your work was accomplished with enough detail for reviewers to assess the appropriateness of the methods. Be sure to include your overall study design, how you selected study subjects, details about any novel equipment you used and the statistical analyses you carried out.

8. Why should we care?

This is the number one question you want to answer in your abstract. What are the results and why are they important? Remember that reviewers will be looking specifically for numerical results and the results of statistical analyses.  The discussion should start by answering the question raised in the hypothesis section; did you prove or disprove it? Your abstract should conclude by addressing the significance of these results.

9. Peer review and editing

Ask a peer to review your abstract for spelling grammatical errors, and another to review the content. Ideally, these individuals will be unfamiliar with the content, allowing them to remain objective.

10. Check-in with your collaborators

If you worked in partnership with other researchers, be sure to get their permission before submitting.

 

If you have any questions about your LHRD abstract, please contact Janelle Pritchard by email at jpritch7@uwo.ca or Sheila Fleming by email at sheila.fleming@lawsonresearch.com.