Abstract Submission Lunch and Tips

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Thanks to everyone who made it out to the Abstract Submission Lunch on Tuesday.  It was great to start the semester off with some socializing and dialogue about how Research Day is growing this year and beyond!

Lunch spread with welcome sign


For those who missed Dr Frank Worrell’s workshop– we are including notes here as requested by many of the first year PhD students.



Writing an Abstract to Apply for a Conference Presentation

  1.  Read the call for proposals carefully: # of words in title, # of words in title, # of words in abstract, other pertinent information that they are looking for (empirical, completed projects,…)
    1. Some systems will alert you when you surpass the word limit while others do not : be mindful!
    2. For example with AREA – look into the specific topics for Divisions and SIGS posted
    3. Read and highlight the key parts of the call before beginning
  2. Write the Abstract before writing the title
    1. Empirical: area of study, research questions, participants, analyses, major findings related to research questions.
      1. Write initial draft without considering the required length; then, begin editing down the abstract, (forget trying to track the word count at this point – write knowing it is something short but write out your ideas fully then tighten your thoughts through further iterations)
      2. Be sure you check the Research Questions you are submitting and the Findings you are sharing (at times people will share incorrect findings and this lack of cohesion decreases the strength of your abstract
    2. Conceptual: nature of contribution being made: theory-building, review of the literature, position paper.  The Abstract needs to follow a logical order: current state of affairs, a rationale for change, proposed change/specific contribution, and significance- how does this change contribute to the broader discourse.
      1. Write initial draft without considering the required length; then, begin editing down the abstract.
    3. Read and edit down to the required number of words.  Read several times. Put down and read another day.
      1. Coming back to it after a day can allow you to see if the logic makes sense or if things could be worded better.
      2. Be sure you have all the important information: for example Qualitative work – discussion of Grounded Theory or Interrater reliability.
    4. Have a colleague read with a critical eye for clarity and coherence.



*Know the cycles of your conferences and when submissions are due.  This way you can track and prepare your work.  If something is rejected by one conference you can update it and submit to another.

*Once everything is done write the title: “It’s a sales job” – Most conferences want a title for 10-15 words and you should include the major constructs being discussed.



Thank you again to Dr Frank Worrell for his insightful guidance on abstract writing, editing and submission.


We look forward to supporting you in the submission process and with a workshop in late February focused on Developing Your Poster for Research Day 2018.

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