A conference abstract (Ukr. òåçè äîïîâ³ä³) is a short account of an oral presentation proposed to the organizers of a conference. It is a widespread and important genre that plays a significant role in promoting new knowledge within scientific communities, both national and international.
Nowadays, Ukrainian scholars often try to submit abstracts to international conferences. For many of our academics, the conference abstract is a kind of a "pass" to the world research communities that provides, if accepted, various opportunities for professional contacts and communication.
The abstracts submitted for international and major national conferences are usually reviewed (sometimes blind-reviewed, i.e. considered without seeing the names of the authors) by conference committees. Conference abstracts, therefore, participate in the competition for acceptance and need to impress reviewing committees; that is why they may be written in a somewhat promotional, self-advertising manner. A dominant feature of conference abstracts is so-called "interestingness" created by the novelty of a topic and its presentation in an interesting for the potential audience way.
Conference abstracts have certain textual characteristics. They are usually of one-page length (200-300 words) and consist of three paragraphs on average. Sometimes there may be 2-5 pages depending on the requirements suggested by the conference committee, the journal traditions, the topic itself, the price for publication etc.
The conference abstract tends to have such basic steps (although certain deviations from this structure are quite possible). These steps, which may be realized by certain strategies (given below in parenthesis), are as follows:
1. Outlining the research field (by reference to established knowledge/importance claim/previous research).
2. Justifying a particular research/study (by indicating a gap in the previous research/by counter-claiming/by question-posing/by continuing a tradition).
3. Introducing the paper to be presented at the conference.
4. Summarizing the paper (by giving its brief overview).
5. Highlighting its outcome/results (by indicating the most important results or their possible applications and/or implications).
The first, the second, and the third steps of the conference abstract are, in fact, identical to the three initial steps of the research paper Introduction. The fourth step is a brief overview of the conference paper structured with the help of meta-textual phrases. The final step – Highlighting the outcome – often only indicates the most important results and their possible applications and implications. Most typically, the first and the second steps are realized in the initial paragraph of a text, while the following introduces and summarizes the paper, and the concluding one highlights the outcome.
As the fist three parts of the conference abstract are similar to the first three steps of the research paper Introductions, you may use the appropriate useful phrases given in the previous lectures for writing your conference abstracts. Also, meta-textual patterns, which realize Step 3 in the research paper Introduction, can be used in the Summarizing the paper part of the conference abstract. Below are useful phrases which realize Step 5 of the conference abstract:
Finally, … implications will be drawn from the results obtained.
The paper closes with several suggestions on …
The paper implies a number of practical recommendations to …
The paper will conclude by …
As a final point, a conclusion involving … will be offered.