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Science Fest 2022: How To Write An Abstract

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MDC Abstract Writing Workshop

Each conference will publish exact guidelines on how they want your abstract presented. This will include the maximum number of words, normally about 500, and then heading to be used; these vary with different conferences. Make sure you follow these guidelines exactly, as most national and international conferences will automatically reject any abstracts that do not meet the published criteria.

If this is the first time you have considered presenting at a conference, it may be because you have just completed a dissertation at university. Many conference presentations are dissertations, usually Master's level and beyond, but not exclusively so. Some presentations relate to project work undertaken in a systematic way with clear outcomes and conclusions.

Make sure your abstract title captures the topic and gives a sense of intrigue; very short and very long titles are the ones to avoid.

For example:

  • Patient satisfaction in an orthopedic unit: the untold story
  • Students' preregistration journeys: from carousel to rollercoaster
  • Breast cancer: the forgotten husband.

See how you can use the title to convey precise meaning—but also make people want to read the abstract and attend the presentation.

After the title, the abstract should include sentences on the following, but make sure you use the specific conference guidelines:

  • Present the theoretical and clinical background that gives context to your work
  • Identify the methodology or the style of your study. For example A survey of 300 staff nurses from one trust using purposive sampling to represent all wards
  • Identify the way the data was or will be analyzed
  • What are the objectives of the study?
  • What, if any, are the interim findings?
  • Return to the bigger picture as to how your findings might inform the theoretical and clinical areas identified in the first section.

Taken from: 
Fowler, John. “From Staff Nurse to Nurse Consultant: Writing for Publication Part 11: Writing Conference Abstracts.” British Journal of Nursing (Mark Allen Publishing), vol. 25, no. 5, 2016, pp. 278–278,

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