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Writing Abstracts for 
Scientific Conferences 
Kishor Patwardhan
Conference, Symposium, Workshop, 
Seminar: What is the difference? 
• Conference 
– Large event, Research oriented 
– Larg...
• Symposium 
– Small event (Usually one day) 
– Limited number of participants 
– Invited lectures by Experts 
– Scope for...
• Workshop 
– Transfers skills along with knowledge 
– Hands-on training involved 
– Limited participants 
– Known Expert ...
• Seminar 
– Educational 
– Transfers knowledge 
– Minimum presentations 
– Limited audience 
– Specific topics
• Congress / Colloquium 
– Includes almost everything: 
• Conference 
• Symposium 
• Workshop 
• Seminars
Purpose of a Conference 
• Focuses on the current trends of research and 
practice in a field 
• For a researcher, it is a...
Submitting your work to 
a conference
Kinds of submissions 
• Original research 
– Experimental studies (In vitro / in vivo 
studies, Educational experiments et...
Pre-requisite 
• You must have done some work before 
you submit abstract ! (Original Research) 
• You must have given som...
Principles of writing an abstract 
• Transparent, Ethical, Unbiased and 
Complete reporting 
• Summary of your work / idea...
Parts of an Abstract 
(Irrespective of whether it is structured or not) 
• Title 
• Authorship 
• Introduction 
• Methods ...
Title 
• Title should be complete, specific and should 
cover the central idea 
• Should include the key methods like ‘Sur...
Title conveys the ‘central idea’ 
• Identify central topic: be creative 
• ‘Immunomodulatory, neuroprotective and 
longevi...
Title for a work on clinical research must 
include 
• Setting (location) 
• Patients (what was studied) 
• Intervention (...
Examples for complete titles 
• A randomised clinical trial to evaluate the effects of 
Plantago ovata husk in Parkinson p...
Avoid: 
• Institution’s name / number of cases in the title 
• Outcomes of Panchakarma: The Mumbai Ayurveda 
Hospital Expe...
Avoid: 
• Declarative Title: 
• Grape seed extract prevents skeletal muscle 
wasting 
(Results instead of writing what was...
How can these titles be improvised? 
• Anxiolytic, sedative, and hypnotic activities of aqueous 
extract of Morinda citrif...
Authorship 
• First Author: 
(Usually the corresponding author too) 
– The one who has carried out the actual work and 
th...
Abstract: 
• Reader should get the central idea of your work by 
reading the abstract 
– Should be brief 
– Should state t...
Abstract 
• Introduction/background: what was the purpose 
(10%) 
• Material and methods: what was the study design, 
tech...
IMRAD: a mirror of your research process 
Introduction 
Material & Methods 
Results 
And 
Discussion 
Ask a question 
Atte...
Introduction 
• Based on what was known and unknown, 
why did you do the study? 
• What was the research question? What 
w...
Methods 
• When, Where and How did you do the 
study? 
• What materials were used? 
• Who was included in the study groups...
Results 
• What answers did you get? 
• Was the tested hypothesis true?
Discussion 
• What does it mean in the context of the existing 
knowledge? 
• How does it fit in with what other researche...
Goal of an abstract: 
“maximum info in minimum space” 
Structured 
• Uses headings to 
identify 
• Follows IMRAD format 
•...
What makes a good abstract? 
• Follows guidelines of the conference 
• ‘Stands alone’ : it is an independent unit of 
info...
6 steps for writing your abstract 
• Identify guidelines of the conference 
• Highlight key features of your work 
• Inser...
Do you find this abstract alright? 
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient healthcare systems in 
the world. The term Ayurved...
Do you find this abstract alright? 
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient healthcare systems in 
the world. The term Ayurved...
Review: abstracts 
• Accepted only if they are exceptionally 
good 
• Provide new insights 
• Rejected if repetitive and c...
Do NOT submit: 
• Already published work 
(It is already there in the public domain) 
• Plagiarized work / Cooked data / F...
Advantages of conferences 
• Abstract is often published 
• Full paper may be published in proceedings 
• You can present ...
Limitations of conferences 
• Mushrooming journals are serving the 
purpose of conferences ! (By publishing 
anything and ...
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Abstract writing for conferences

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This presentation describes the fundamentals of writing abstracts for scientific conferences. It specifically addresses the Ayurveda conferences.

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Abstract writing for conferences

  1. 1. Writing Abstracts for Scientific Conferences Kishor Patwardhan
  2. 2. Conference, Symposium, Workshop, Seminar: What is the difference? • Conference – Large event, Research oriented – Large number of participants – Pre-planned – Diverse topics with sub-themes – Invites abstracts submissions – Peer-review – Oral /Poster – Keynote addresses – Plenary lectures
  3. 3. • Symposium – Small event (Usually one day) – Limited number of participants – Invited lectures by Experts – Scope for interaction – No abstracts are invited
  4. 4. • Workshop – Transfers skills along with knowledge – Hands-on training involved – Limited participants – Known Expert groups train participants in a pre-planned way
  5. 5. • Seminar – Educational – Transfers knowledge – Minimum presentations – Limited audience – Specific topics
  6. 6. • Congress / Colloquium – Includes almost everything: • Conference • Symposium • Workshop • Seminars
  7. 7. Purpose of a Conference • Focuses on the current trends of research and practice in a field • For a researcher, it is a ‘pre-publication’ event • Opportunity to receive feedback on your work • Opportunity to interact with different groups • You can still improvise upon your work • Poster Presentations: Provides better opportunity to have feedback than Oral presentations
  8. 8. Submitting your work to a conference
  9. 9. Kinds of submissions • Original research – Experimental studies (In vitro / in vivo studies, Educational experiments etc) – Surveys / Observational studies – Clinical trials • Discussion / Policy papers • Reviews /Hypothesis / Meta-analyses
  10. 10. Pre-requisite • You must have done some work before you submit abstract ! (Original Research) • You must have given some thoughts on some policies / debatable issues (Policy / Discussion papers / Theoretical submissions) • You must have developed some new insights after going through the available literature on a topic (Review)
  11. 11. Principles of writing an abstract • Transparent, Ethical, Unbiased and Complete reporting • Summary of your work / idea • There must be something ‘New’ in your work that must be highlighted
  12. 12. Parts of an Abstract (Irrespective of whether it is structured or not) • Title • Authorship • Introduction • Methods • Results • Discussion and Conclusion
  13. 13. Title • Title should be complete, specific and should cover the central idea • Should include the key methods like ‘Survey’, or ‘Double blind Randomized placebo controlled Trial’, or ‘Observational study’ etc. • Independent and dependent variables should be mentioned • Name of species (if not human) to be mentioned • Do not use abbreviations, jargon, chemical formulas, series identifiers
  14. 14. Title conveys the ‘central idea’ • Identify central topic: be creative • ‘Immunomodulatory, neuroprotective and longevity enhancing effect of Emblica officinalis in mice’ is better than: ‘Evaluating the Rasayana effect of Amalaki’ • “How did Sushruta treat typhoid?” is better than: “The concept of Jvara in Sushruta Samhita”
  15. 15. Title for a work on clinical research must include • Setting (location) • Patients (what was studied) • Intervention (treatment) • Comparator (control group) • Endpoint (outcome of interest) • Design (study design)
  16. 16. Examples for complete titles • A randomised clinical trial to evaluate the effects of Plantago ovata husk in Parkinson patients: changes in levodopa pharmacokinetics and biochemical parameters • Six-month effects of integrative treatment, therapeutic acupuncture and conventional treatment in alleviating psychological distress in primary care patients - follow up from an open, pragmatic randomized controlled trial
  17. 17. Avoid: • Institution’s name / number of cases in the title • Outcomes of Panchakarma: The Mumbai Ayurveda Hospital Experience • Outcomes of Ksharabasti trial in Amavata: A review of 275 Cases with 5-Year Follow up • Interrogative titles • Measurement of colonic polyps by radiologists and endoscopists: Who is most accurate? (Usually reserved for editorials/ discussion articles)
  18. 18. Avoid: • Declarative Title: • Grape seed extract prevents skeletal muscle wasting (Results instead of writing what was studied) • Instead, go for: • Effect of grape seed extract on skeletal muscle wasting in interleukin 10 knockout mice
  19. 19. How can these titles be improvised? • Anxiolytic, sedative, and hypnotic activities of aqueous extract of Morinda citrifolia fruit. • in rodents in comparison to diazepam • Does copper enhance the antihypertensive effect of Elaeocarpus ganitrus in experimentally induced hypertensive rats? • additive effect of copper • Central nervous system activity of an aqueous acetonic extract of Ficus carica L. in mice • CNS depressive activity
  20. 20. Authorship • First Author: (Usually the corresponding author too) – The one who has carried out the actual work and the one who wrote the abstract • Last (Senior) Author: (Corresponding author for publication in a journal) – The one who originally conceived the study, planned it and approved the final manuscript to be published • Second/ third/.. authors: – Who helped in carrying out the work and also in manuscript preparation
  21. 21. Abstract: • Reader should get the central idea of your work by reading the abstract – Should be brief – Should state the problem and the hypothesis – Should state the methods (e.g., Random Control Trial) – Should summarize the results – Should include inferences of the study – Avoid known/ generally accepted facts
  22. 22. Abstract • Introduction/background: what was the purpose (10%) • Material and methods: what was the study design, techniques, and statistical methods (30-35%) • Results: what are the most important findings (35- 45%) • Conclusions: why are the results important (20- 25%) Cornett, 2001
  23. 23. IMRAD: a mirror of your research process Introduction Material & Methods Results And Discussion Ask a question Attempt to answer the question Obtain and compile data Answer the question
  24. 24. Introduction • Based on what was known and unknown, why did you do the study? • What was the research question? What was the tested hypothesis? What was the purpose of the research? 24
  25. 25. Methods • When, Where and How did you do the study? • What materials were used? • Who was included in the study groups (patients, animals etc)? • What statistical methods were used?
  26. 26. Results • What answers did you get? • Was the tested hypothesis true?
  27. 27. Discussion • What does it mean in the context of the existing knowledge? • How does it fit in with what other researchers have found? • What are the perspectives for future research?
  28. 28. Goal of an abstract: “maximum info in minimum space” Structured • Uses headings to identify • Follows IMRAD format • 250 -300 words Unstructured • Arranged in 1 paragraph • Follows IMRAD format • 150 – 200 words
  29. 29. What makes a good abstract? • Follows guidelines of the conference • ‘Stands alone’ : it is an independent unit of information • Is accurate (check for inconsistencies and omissions) • Is readable and coherent • Includes specific data Cornett, 2001
  30. 30. 6 steps for writing your abstract • Identify guidelines of the conference • Highlight key features of your work • Insert sentences into abstract format • Write, revise, and condense • Edit sentences and words • Check final
  31. 31. Do you find this abstract alright? Ayurveda is one of the most ancient healthcare systems in the world. The term Ayurveda consists of two words: ‘Ayu’ and ‘Veda’. ‘Ayu’ means life and Veda means knowledge. Therefore, Ayurveda means the science of life. In Ayurvedic literatude, immunity has been described as ‘Ojas’. This is of two kinds: ‘Para’ and ‘Apara’. In the recent years, immune system related disorders are being increasingly recognized and the role of immunomodulatory drugs is being explored. In Ayurveda, ‘Rasayana’ drugs are described to have immunomodulatory effect. The present study aims at evaluating the role of Amalaki as an immunomodulatory agent in animal model. Details are explained in the paper.
  32. 32. Do you find this abstract alright? Ayurveda is one of the most ancient healthcare systems in the world. The term Ayurveda consists of two words: ‘Ayu’ and ‘Veda’. ‘Ayu’ means life and Veda means knowledge. Therefore, Ayurveda means the science of life. In Ayurvedic literatude, immunity has been described as ‘Ojas’. This is of two kinds: ‘Para’ and ‘Apara’. In the recent years, immune system related disorders are being increasingly recognized and the role of immunomodulatory drugs is being explored. In Ayurveda, ‘Rasayana’ drugs are described to have immunomodulatory effect. The present study aims at evaluating the role of Amalaki as an immunomodulatory agent in animal model. Details are explained in the paper.
  33. 33. Review: abstracts • Accepted only if they are exceptionally good • Provide new insights • Rejected if repetitive and contain known information • There has to be ‘something new’
  34. 34. Do NOT submit: • Already published work (It is already there in the public domain) • Plagiarized work / Cooked data / Falsified / Fabricated data (It will do more harm than help)
  35. 35. Advantages of conferences • Abstract is often published • Full paper may be published in proceedings • You can present your work that is still underway and incomplete • Based on the feedback, your direction of work can be changed • Get to know people working in your field • Most beneficial for young scholars / budding scientists
  36. 36. Limitations of conferences • Mushrooming journals are serving the purpose of conferences ! (By publishing anything and everything !) • Your work is no more a secret! • Often Commercial interests dominate • Often promoting self-interest • Often promote only positive studies
  37. 37. Thanks!
  • soumyapatil35

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    May. 14, 2015

This presentation describes the fundamentals of writing abstracts for scientific conferences. It specifically addresses the Ayurveda conferences.

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