Writing an Abstract

Abstract Deadline: March 1, 2016

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An abstract is a brief summary of a student(s) research project. Abstracts must be reviewed and approved by the Faculty Sponsor prior to the online submission of the abstract by the student. The SRC Committee will not proofread abstracts.


Abstracts should be one paragraph between 100 and 300 words with no figures.

In the abstract, address the following:

  • Provide the background and rationale for the project. Why do we care about the problem? What practical, scientific, theoretical, or artistic gap is your research filling?
  • Provide the method(s)/procedure/approach for how you completed your project. (e.g. analyzed 3 novels, completed a series of 5 oil paintings, interviewed 17 students).
  • As a result of completing the above procedure, what did you learn, invent or create? What is the most important implication or interpretation to know about your results?
  • Interpret your results for a broader audience. What are the larger implications of your findings, especially for the problem/gap identified above.

If your abstract requires unique characters or italicizing, please enter the abstract and then contact osp@stcloudstate.edu regarding the required changes.

By participating in the Student Research Colloquium, it is understood that photos of you and your research may be used in various publications. If you do not want to be included in any publications, please email the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.


An abstract is a brief summary of your work. "A well prepared abstract enables readers to identify the basic content of a document [or project] quickly and accurately, to determine its relevance to their interests, and thus to decide whether they need to read the document [or project] in its entirety" (American National Standards Institute, 1979). Abstracts should state the objectives of the project, describe the methods used, summarize the significant findings, and state the implications of the findings (Day, 1988).

Be sure to proofread your abstract carefully for spelling and grammatical errors. Reading it out loud will also help catch errors that you might otherwise miss.

The staff at the Write Place are an excellent resource to use for reviewing your abstract!

Submitted abstracts must be reviewed and approved by faculty sponsors. The Student Research Colloquium Committee will not proofread abstracts.


Abstracts must be no fewer than 100 words and no more than 300 words. Limit your abstract to text only; no graphs/charts. Please do not include paragraph indention.

Tips for Writing Abstracts

  • Write in past tense.
  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used. For example, write "American National Standards Institute" when first mentioned, and write "ANSI" any additional times it is mentioned.
  • Provide definitions for terms. For example, write, "Positron Emission Tomography is an imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers to map the metabolism of chemicals in the brain; the more active an area of the brain, the greater the metabolic activity in that area." rather than, "We used PET to measure the uptake of radioactive tracers to map brain function."
  • Write clearly and simply. Emphasize only the most important details of your project.
  • Everything mentioned in the abstract should be a summary of what is mentioned in the presentation. Topics not mentioned in the presentation should not appear in the abstract.
  • Avoid verbosity and jargon.
  • Consider your audience. Colloquium attendees may or may not share your area of expertise and knowledge.






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