So you should answer the Call for Papers? It offers tips for the information and presentation associated with the abstract, along with examples of the best abstracts submitted into the 2012-2013 abstract selection committee for the ninth annual North Carolina State University graduate student history conference.
Typically, an abstract describes the topic you may like to present at the conference, highlighting your argument, evidence and contribution to the historical literature. It is usually restricted to 250-500 words. The word limit can be challenging: some graduate students do not fret within the short limit and hastily write and submit an abstract during the last second, which often hurts their likelihood of being accepted; other students make an effort to condense the Next Great American Novel into 250 words, that could be equally damning. Graduate students who approach the abstract early, plan accordingly, and carefully edit are those most frequently invited to present their research. If you are intimidated because of the project, don’t be – the abstract is a fairly standardized form of writing. Stick to the basic guidelines below and steer clear of common pitfalls and you’ll greatly boost your abstract.
Diligently follow all abstract style and formatting guidelines. Most CFPs will specify page or word length, as well as perhaps some layout or style guidelines. Some CFPs, however, will list very specific restrictions, including font, font size, spacing, text justification, margins, just how to present quotes, simple tips to present authors and works, whether or not to include footnotes or otherwise not. Ensure that you strictly stick to all guidelines, including submission instructions. If a CFP does not provide abstract style and formatting guidelines, it is generally appropriate to stay around 250 words – abstract committees read many of these things plus don’t look fondly on comparatively long abstracts. Make certain you orient your topic that is abstract to any specific CFP themes, time periods, methods, and/or buzzwords.
With a 250-500 word limit, write only what exactly is necessary, avoiding wordiness. Use active voice and pay attention to excessive phrasing that is prepositional.
Plan your abstract carefully before writing it. A good abstract will address listed here questions: what’s the historical question or problem? Contextualize your topic. What is your thesis/argument? It must be original. What exactly is your evidence? State forthrightly that you are using source material that is primary. How does your paper fit into the historiography? What are you doing in the field of study and how does your paper contribute to it? Why does it matter? We understand the topic is important to you, why should it is vital that you the selection committee that is abstract?
You need to be as specific as you can, avoiding overly broad or overreaching statements and claims. And that is it: don’t get sidetracked by writing too much narrative or over explaining. Say what you ought to say and absolutely nothing more.
Maintain your audience in mind. How much background you give on a topic will depend on the conference. Is the conference a broad humanities conference, a general graduate student history conference, or something like that more specific like a 1960s social revolutions conference? Your pitch ought to be suitable for the specificity for the conference: the more specific this issue, the less broad background you need to give and vice versa.
Revise and edit your abstract to ensure that its final presentation is error free. The editing phase can be the time that is best to visit your abstract as a whole and chip away at unnecessary words or phrases. The draft that is final be linear and clear also it should read smoothly. If you should be tripping over something while reading, the abstract selection committee will as well. Ask another graduate student to read your abstract to ensure its clarity or attend a Graduate Student Writing Group meeting.
Your language should be professional and your style should stick to standards that are academic. Contractions might be appealing because of the expressed word limits, however they should always be avoided. If citation guidelines are not specifically given, it really is appropriate to use the author’s name and title of work (in a choice of italics or quotation marks) inside the text as opposed to use footnotes or in-text citations.
While one question, if really good, may be posed in your abstract, you should avoid writing more than one (maybe two, if really really good). If you do pose a question or two, make sure that you either answer it or address why the question matters to your conference paper – unless you are posing an evident rhetorical question, you should never just let a question hang there. A lot of questions uses up way too much space and leaves less room for you really to build your argument, methods, evidence, historiography, etc. quite often, posing too many questions leaves the abstract committee wondering if you are planning to handle one or all in your paper and in case you even comprehend the answers to them. Remember, you aren’t expected to have already written your conference paper, but you are anticipated to own done enough research that you can adequately cover in 15-20 minutes that you are prepared to write about a specific topic. Illustrate that you have done so.
Language that helps you be as specific as you can in presenting your argument is very good but don’t get your readers bogged down in jargon. They’ll be reading lots of abstracts and won’t like to wade through the language that is unnecessary. Ensure that it it is simple.
When students repeat claims, they often don’t realize these are generally performing this. Sometimes this occurs because students are not yet clear on their argument. Contemplate it a few more and then write. Other times, students write carelessly and do not proofread. Make certain each sentence is exclusive and that it plays a role in the flow of one’s abstract.
The committee that is abstract not require to be reminded of the grand sweep of history so that you can contextualize your topic. Place your topic specifically inside the historiography.
The samples below represent the five scoring samples that are highest submitted to the selection committee for the ninth annual graduate student history conference, 2012-2013. Two associated with the samples below were subsequently selected for publication into the NC State Graduate Journal of History. Outstanding papers presented at the graduate student history do my homework conference are recommended for publication by panel commentators. Papers go through a review that is peer before publication.