Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 24 April 2008

Writing an abstract for presentation at a conference

I was recently invited by my faculty adviser to submit an abstract of my research project to be included with a proposal to present on a panel at the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences‘ (SPHS) conference at Dusquene University. Of course, I’m thrilled that I was invited to participate in the proposal, especially since I’m only a first year student and the rest of the panel are close to or already have their PhD.

I submitted my first version of an abstract, at 550 words, and crossed my fingers.

Then, my professor sent back an email requesting that the abstract be revised to be “crisp” at 200 words or less. She attached a couple of examples of abstracts that had been submitted with success in response to “call for papers” at similar conferences and a one page summary describing the elements of a dissertation abstract. Though dissertation abstracts are usually around 350 words, the outline was helpful to me in creating my abstract.

Here are the elements of a good abstract (thanks to Dr. Valerie Bentz and Dr. David Rehorick at Fielding Graduate University for this summary):

  • A statement of the purpose of the research.
  • A statement of the kind of data or texts which provided the basis for the research.
  • A statement of the relevant theory and research basis to which the research relates.
  • A statement of the methods and techniques used.
  • A brief summary of the findings and conclusions.

I’ve attached my abstract for those who are curious about my end-product.




  1. I’m so grateful to find this concise description of an abstract. Thank you!

  2. Thank you!

  3. what a good statement is it?
    thanks for uploading and your help.

  4. […] on my research abstract for the SPHS conference panel proposal. My professors edited my abstratct and sent it in along with […]

  5. Dorianne,

    What a wonderful accomplishment!


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