How to Write a Good Abstract for a Conference Paper

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Presenting a research paper at academic conferences is a great opportunity for many students and researchers. It provides an avenue for them to showcase their work, get insightful feedback, and network. As interesting as this may sound, making a presentation at academic conferences isn’t so simple. It often requires a thorough review process to determine the qualification of such a research paper. This process requires the researcher to submit the abstract of their research, mostly before the presentation day, for proper review and approval. In this article, we will be looking at how to write a good abstract for a conference paper.

Qualities of a Good Abstract

A good abstract is a concise overview of the work you intend to give at an academic conference, emphasizing your argument, evidence, and contribution to the existing knowledge. But beyond that, it conveys both the information about the paper you are submitting and also a lot about yourself.

An experienced judge committing his time to the hectic process of paper selection will carefully examine your proposal while also reading a few things between the lines: your enthusiasm for your topic, the professionalism with which the proposal was drafted, and the respect you show for the event you are applying for.

The abstract must be detailed, concise, and most importantly, be between the stipulated word count by the conference. This often varies depending on the conference but is generally between 250-500 words. It requires great writing skills and good judgment of what to and what not to include in the abstract.

An abstract must be clear and devoid of unnecessary information and far-fetched claims. You must not be side-tracked by writing too much narrative or over-explaining. Say only what you need to say. Be conscious of your audience in your writings. Overall, an abstract must be tailored to the specifics of the conference. Remember, a more specific topic requires less general background, and vice versa.

How to Write a Good Abstract for a Conference Paper

Understand the Conference’s Guidelines

Studies show that over 70% of abstracts submitted were rejected for not following to the guidelines. Thus, you must start by checking and understanding the conference’s guidelines for paper submission. These guidelines often include the required format (font, spacing), justification, margin, word count, how to present quotes, how to present authors and works, and whether or not to include footnotes. Ensure to strictly adhere to these guidelines, most especially, the submission procedures.

Structure Your Abstract

Oftentimes, the conference specifies the required structures for abstract entries. This distinguishes and separates each component of the abstract, such as background/introduction, methodology, results, and conclusions. Whether a structure is required or not, all abstracts must consist of these components. However, in the traditional unstructured format, they are often combined. Let’s take a look at what each component entails and how they can be properly structured;

Abstract Title

Choose a title that clearly states the topic of your research and piques people’s curiosity. If you aren’t given precise instructions, try to keep it around 12 words. If you can’t read it in one go, it’s too long!

Background and Motivation

This section explains the drive and motivation behind your research. Begin with one or two sentences that summarize what is known in your field of study. Then, identify the gap that your research fills or the research question(s) you’re attempting to answer. You must express your project’s aim and importance.


This section describes the process of obtaining your data, analysing the results, and reaching a conclusion. You might want to state the tools used, the research strategy, and sample characteristics. There is no need to go very descriptive here. If your project goals are unrelated to statistics, you do not need to go into detail about the statistical tests carried out.

Results and Findings

This is ideally the longest component of the abstract, containing about 40%-50% of the total word count. It outlines what you discovered in the course of the research. State the major findings of your research in accordance with what you said in the background section. The findings should be neutral and factual. Don’t write about the relevance of your findings here. You can use transitional words like “moreover” or “in contrast,” but avoid “interestingly” or “unexpectedly,” especially if it is unclear to the readers why the finding has such connotations.

Conclusions and Recommendations

You must clearly state the primary conclusion(s) derived from your findings here. This is the time to discuss the relevance of your findings. Compare them to existing literature; are they consistent or contradictory to earlier research? Highlight any novelties in your discoveries. Explain the consequences of your discoveries in the field and what new research possibilities they open.


Sometimes abstract submissions allow you to include keywords. These are an excellent way for people to discover your work through search results. Choose words relating to your research that is widely used in your field. Look for terms from relevant research articles you’ve read to get ideas.

Avoid Jargon and Unnecessary Information

Keep it simple and use only the languages that allow you to be as explicit as possible in conveying your research. Avoid getting your readers bogged down in jargon or unnecessary information. The selection board has a tone of abstracts to go through and wouldn’t want to wade through needless text.

Ensure Your Abstract Suits the Conference’s Theme

It is understandable to want your work to go global, but at the same time, you don’t want to submit to the wrong conference. Ensure your research objectives and topic align with the conference’s theme and expected audience.

Take Clues from Past Abstracts and Conference Paper

It’s fine if you have no idea how to start writing your abstract. Take cues from past abstracts and conference papers submitted to the conference. They are a great source of insight to get started.

Have Someone Read Your Abstract

Having someone more knowledgeable and experienced read the abstract is a great way to eliminate errors and fine-tune your work. You can approach your professor, colleague, or friend to proofread your work and make corrections before the final submission.

Final Thoughts

Always remember, your abstract is to interest and captivate your audience as much as it is to introduce your work. Therefore, ensure your work is outstanding and contains the appropriate information. Lastly, your submission must be on time and comply with the submission guidelines released

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