Abstract Writing 101

We know that submitting an abstract for a conference can be confusing and stressful the first time. That’s why we created the following guidelines.

What should your abstract look like?

As mentioned in the Call for Proposals, it is recommended that your abstract include the following:

  1. a problem statement or research question;
  2. a brief description of the conceptual/theoretical framework or model;
  3. an overview of the methodology used or to be used; and/or
  4. the main findings or conclusions
Notebook, earbuds, coffee and keyboard are featured in this image.
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

This means that the abstract could be written as followed:

  • one sentence to contextualize the problematic
  • one or two sentences to summarize key theories/approaches that you will draw on
  • Rationale / why is this research important?
  • one or two sentences to present your methodology and objectives AND/OR the focus of your discussion
  • one or two sentences to present your findings or conclusions

Concrete example:

Despite the growing number of studies conducted in intercultural environments, researchers tend to omit the translation process in their methodology. (Sentence to contextualize the problem) However, literature shows that translation may greatly affect the validity of a study. Indeed, from a socio-constructivist point of view, all interpretations are subjective. Because a translation is the translator’s interpretation of the meaning in the source language, the translator undoubtedly influences the outcome of the analysis conducted on the verbatim translation. (Key theories/concepts we will draw on) For this reason, we believe that the translation process and some information on the translator’s qualifications should be mentioned in the methodology. (rationale) In this presentation, we start by giving an overview of the history of translation in Canada, followed by a description of practical and epistemological implications of translating qualitative data. We then address the translator’s competence and common sources of mistakes. Finally, we present and examine three translations from Spanish into French of qualitative data on language representations made by three translators with completely different profiles. We describe the main differences and explain how they might have been affected by the translators’ background and how they might influence the results of the study. (focus and methodology). The results show that the translators’ language variation and training, among others, might influence the translation quality, and consequently, its validity. (Key findings)