Writing a Better Conference Abstract

conference badges

Ah, spring–when it’s time to start securing next winter’s conference plans, usually by pulling together abstracts in response to various Calls for Papers. We’ve written a fair amount on conferences in the past, of course, with Erin in particular offering a helpful tactical approach to “The Conference Abstract”.

Today, Catherine Baker does everyone a terrific service by breaking down, in specific detail, “How to Write a Conference Abstract.” She explains a structure she always uses, rooting it an abstract from a few years back, along with a discussion of how the abstract does/does not live up to the idealized structure:

The five-part structure I’m going to go through here would make sense to organisers throughout the humanities and social sciences (I’ve used it for abstracts that needed to fit into history, politics, sociology, geography, media or cultural or popular music studies, interdisciplinary area studies, education, even conferences on topics my CV looked like I don’t study explaining why I did study them after all) – some of its principles probably apply in sciences as well, though your fields might have more formal requirements for what you put where.

This is an abstract I wrote in 2012, based on work from my postdoctoral project on translation/interpreting and peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for submission to a set of Feminist Security Studies panels at the International Studies Association conference in 2013.

It’s a terrific post, so please do check out the whole thing!

Do you have a favorite resource for writing conference abstracts, or a great tip for would-be abstract writers? Let us know in comments!

Photo “XIX Pontignano Conference — name badges” by Flickr user UK in Italy / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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