The deadline for paper submissions to the American Sociological Association Annual Conference is January 6th. The ASAs are a bit different than other conferences in that you are expected to submit your entire paper on January 6th, rather than just an abstract. That does not necessarily make the abstract any less important. Organizers will likely read your abstract first, and in later publications of conference proceedings your abstract will be featured.
Of course, abstracts are important beyond conferences. When you publish in journals, an abstract is the first impression you give to a reader who is considering reading your work. It must be engaging and informative, yet concise. Condensing a paper into a 250-word description is no easy task, but it is certainly a useful exercise. Abstract writing gives you the opportunity to focus in on the most important points in your paper; the “meat” of the argument, and why your research matters.
Below, I’ve linked to three different guides for writing an abstract. I think the tips and insights shared in the guides below are useful for both conference and article abstracts. Although they differ in some ways, they all share similar ideas concerning what makes an abstract successful: be clear about your contribution to the field, be concise, keep your audience in mind, and don’t withhold your findings (if you already know what they are). Make your abstract as specific as possible. This is not the time to be vague or, well, abstract. You want the reader to know exactly what they are going to get if they decide to read your paper.
The Professor Is In:
University of Wisconsin Writing Center:
University of Law Vegas Nevada Writing Center: