How to write a conference abstract?

Attending and giving talks to conferences is part and parcel of academic life and of the process of writing academic papers. If you want to take part in a conference, you will have to submit an abstract summarising the essence and the main directions of your talk. The abstract should state the thesis of the paper clearly, and present the proposed structure of the talk, including a short argument in favour of the thesis.

In this post, we provide some dos and don’ts on how to write a conference abstract.


  • It is essential to be unambiguous and to use clear terms.
  • Structure and articulation need to be clear; it is advisable to make paragraphs or numeration.
  • The novelty of the conclusion is an important point of the evaluation, thus the clearness of the author’s own contribution is required in the abstract.
  • Making the abstract rich in content and to the point at the same time is of major importance.
  • It is advisable to refer to publications from recent years which either support or are in contrast with the arguments of the thesis.
  • Indicating at least the directions of your answers to possible objections against the thesis might be useful.
  • It is also advisable to introduce the method with which you work, if that is an unusual one.


  • An abstract which merely summarises the given philosophical work or the related known literature is not acceptable.
  • The abstract does not have to go deep into all the details and it is not recommended to list all your examples either.
  • The abstract should contain only a moderate number of citations.
  • Refrain by all means from exceeding the length limit.

Text: Tamás Paár

Edit: Megyer Gyöngyösi, Nikoletta Hendrik

Translation: Dalma Eged, Laura László

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