Some Advice on Writing a Good Abstract

In this article, Esther Bloem, a longtime contributor to EAGE events and publications, and a member of our Near Surface Division, outlines the steps required for putting together an abstract. First-time submitters should find this particularly useful.


Before you start writing


1.         Select the EAGE event. Choose the most relevant EAGE event to present your research. Find information about the different events on the EAGE website. Which ones are relevant for your topic? When are the EAGE events? What audience are you looking for?


2.         Make a planning. Writing an extended abstract is not done in just one hour. Think of:

•          When is the deadline for submission? To prevent last minute problems, try to submit early, 24 hours before the deadline is recommended.

•          Go through the online submission to check what requirements are needed besides the abstract like authors, title, summary, keywords, etc. Avoid last minute surprises.

•          Download the abstract template.


Let the writing begin


1.         Write down the message you would like to present. This is the objective of your abstract. Think of: 

•          What aspect of your research would you like to present? 

•          On which aspect of your research do you like to get feedback? 

•          What is the most groundbreaking result(s) you have? 

•          What will your audience be interested in? 

•          Normally for an article, there can only be one message. Keep this simple. People should not get confused.


2.         Select your figures

•          These visually show the message of your study. A figure can sometimes tell more than thousands words. 

•          Make sure to check the figures are readable at print size. 


3.         Writing the 4 pages abstract, which should include introduction (~0.5 page), materials and methods (~1 page), results and discussion (~1.5 page), conclusions and references (~1 page). The abstract should be readable, stand alone and complete.


4.         Start (after you have your objective and figures copied to the abstract) with the materials and methods. This is what you have done. How is the study performed? The reader should be able to repeat the study after reading the M&M


5.         Write results. What are the results of the performed study?


6.         Write discussion. In the discussion focus on combining results and answering your objective. What is additional in this study to existing literature?


7.         Write the introduction. This includes:

•          The background

•          The problem you are addressing

•          The objective of your study


8.         Write conclusions. Conclusions must give answer on your objective. Check that the results and discussion support the conclusion.


9.         Write the references and acknowledgement.


10.       Do not forget a title, which covers the objective of this study and to include the relevant co-authors. Let them review your abstract before submission.

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