Writing an Abstract

Whether applying to present at a conference or producing a research article, you will need to write an abstract summarizing your work. Abstracts help people decide whether they want to read your work or attend your conference presentation. Consider the following when drafting an abstract:


Keep it short. Abstracts are typically 150-200 words in length, however, this can vary. Be sure to check any submission requirements and follow instructions carefully.


Abstracts typically provide a brief overview of what was done and why (purpose), how it was done (method), what was found (findings), and the implications and importance of the work (conclusions).

Format and style

  • Keep your abstract to one paragraph (two paragraphs for longer works).
  • Avoid using personal pronouns like “I” and “we.”
  • Write in clear, plain language avoiding technical jargon, especially if you are intending to share your work with a broad audience who may not be familiar with the topic of your work.
  • Do not include quotations, tables, or figures. Include these in the body of your work where they can be fully discussed and explained.
  • Make sure to proofread for grammatical and spelling errors.