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Writing an Abstract

Writing an abstract for the first time can seem a daunting task. Here are guidelines to help you along the way!

For the purposes of these guidelines, there are 2 types of abstract:

  1. Description of a project or study.
  2. Presentation of an interesting case.

Remember to keep the abstract succinct, think about the word limit, don’t use unnecessary words but make sure it makes sense and it is interesting. Don’t forget, this is your chance to persuade the reader that your work should be presented either in poster format or as an oral presentation.

Both types of abstract will require just one paragraph but the components of each will be different. Before you start, check if there are any rules regarding formatting and check the word limit – every conference will be different. Usually, you will need 1-2 sentences for each section:

1. Description of a project or study

Background – a brief introduction to the project / what made you undertake it?
Aim – what was the purpose? Why did you do what you did?
Method – how did you undertake the project?
Results – what did you find? Try to outline actual results, rather than provide a vague description of results that ‘will be presented’?
Conclusion – what do the results mean and how do they relate to / what are the implications for your practice/rheumatology.

2. Presentation of an interesting case

Background – a brief introduction to your case
Key issues – why is your case interesting?
Management or findings – how did you manage the case / what did you do?
Outcome – what happened?
Discussion – what are the implications for your practice/rheumatology. This should be your take home message

Finally, re-read the abstract and ask someone else to read it – an objective view often helps to make sure it makes sense. If you are over the word limit, a second person may well help with ways of cutting out unnecessary words.

Go on, give it a go!