How to prepare an abstract for applying to present at a conference?

Abstract Format

Most conference organizers have their own abstract format and this should be followed to maximize changes of acceptance.

Additional information and example of abstract format (MSF 2010: 31) - see below and link to tool 

Purpose: information on how to prepare an abstract


-            Abstract is a condensed version of a study manuscript

-            includes the objectives, main methods, results and key conclusions

-            must be concise (usually between 200-300 words)

-            must be easy to read

-            Format: two options for abstract formats are accepted in most conferences (see page 31 of MSF Policy):

Abstract Format: Scientific Studies

Background: the study objectives, hypothesis to be tested, or a description of the problem

Methods: method(s) used

Results: specific results in summarized form (with appropriate statistical analysis)

Conclusions: description of the main outcome(s) of the study. All abstracts should disclose primary findings and avoid vague statements such as, ‘experiments are in progress or ‘results will be discussed’.

Abstract Format: Presenting experimental information about studies and observations, policies, program and interventions using alternative research methods and styles e.g. community-based activities, work in the area of prevention, care and social services, human rights programs and policy development.

Issues: a short summary of the issue(s) addressed by the abstract

Description: a brief description of the project, experience, service, research and/or advocacy

Lessons learned: a brief description of the results of the project

Recommendations: a brief statement of next steps