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Writing Abstracts for a Conference Submission


Identify a conference that fits your research area and topic. Check the deadlines, criteria for submission and acceptance, location, and funding avenues.

Once you have decided on an appropriate conference, prepare your research to meet the submission criteria. For example, your conference might ask you to submit an abstract and provide specific guidelines explaining what the criteria for a successful abstract should be in order for it to be accepted at that conference.

The next section below will focus on explaining the function and form of an abstract: What is an abstract, how to write an abstract. It will then provide you with NCUR guidelines for a successful abstract and a range of abstract examples from SU students from different majors.

What is an Abstract

What is an Abstract?
  • In general, an abstract tells the reader what the research contains. Thus a good abstract should include a clear and brief statement on the purpose of the research, the methods employed, the sample, findings or results, conclusions, and recommendations/ or significance for your field.
  • Thus a good abstract is a brief summary (for example, NCUR gives a word limit of 300 words) that introduces the reader to your research study and all its key elements.
Overview: How to Write an Abstract
  1. After completing your research report, start preparing your abstract. Review your report for its main elements: purpose, research questions, methods, findings or results, conclusions or discussion, and recommendations. Limitations and significance can be included if you have space.
  2. Now start to write a rough draft of your abstract. It may be over the word limit at this stage. Once you have a rough draft down, go back and edit your abstract for organization, coherence, focus, flow, redundancy, and typos.
  3. Your final version of the abstract should meet all the required word count and compositional criteria, be tightly edited, clear and focused, and without any grammatical errors.
  4. A good abstract should ultimately reflect all the key elements of your study for the reader and give them a good idea of what you wanted to do, how you did it, what you found, and its significance.

NCUR Abstract Guidelines

Students submitting NCUR abstracts should:

  1. Complete **all** required fields on the online submission form
  2. Submit only one abstract per presentation (the first author/primary presenter can submit this on all co-authors’ behalf).
  3. Upon submitting, check that you receive a confirmation email from Check that it has not gone to spam.

NCUR Abstracts Guidelines:

  1. Clearly state the central research question and/or purpose of the project.
  2. Provide brief, relevant scholarly or research context (no actual citations required) that demonstrates its attempt to make a unique contribution to the area of inquiry.
  3. Provide a brief description of the research methodology.
  4. State conclusions or expected results and the context in which they will be discussed.
  5. Include text only (no images or graphics)
  6. Be well-written and well-organized. Check for typos—proof-read!

Other formatting guidelines:

  1. References are allowed within abstracts, but not required.
  2. Double-check your title: This will appear on the program exactly as you type it.
  3. Likewise, check the spelling for the names of all authors and co-authors (first name, middle name, last name).
  4. The form will not process all formatting and special characters (e.g., scientific symbols). Use plain text format for your abstract.
  5. There is space in the form to include a link to online documentation, formulas, images, music files, etc. in support of your submission. You may use this space to provide a link to a location to view your abstract in its original form.
  6. It’s a good idea to work on your abstract with your mentor’s support on a word document. Once it is ready to submit, you can copy and paste it on the online form. Don’t wait till the last minute to do so.
  7. Abstracts are usually 200-300 words long with no paragraph breaks. MAXIMUM LENGTH = 300 WORDS!

Have the following information available when submitting your abstract:

  1. Name and e-mail address for each faculty mentor and co-author
  2. Undergraduate Research Office Coordinator (UROC) name, e-mail address, and phone number
Jessica Clark, PhD and Chrys Egan, PhD
Co-Directors, Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities
Phone number: 410-677-0083
  1. Presentation type: oral, poster, visual arts, or performing arts
  2. Field of study.

Sample NCUR Poster and Oral Abstracts

Sample Poster and Oral Abstracts


Robert R. Audley, Amelia Willoughby (Dr. Lucy Morrison), Political Science Department, Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21801

From a rally at our nation’s capital, to the words of world leaders, to the thoughts of a survivor, our documentary about genocide in Sudan grew out of a class investigating genocide as a social, political, and humanitarian topic. Are we world citizens or individualists? Our documentary shows these aspects as intrinsically intertwined. Through speeches and interviews, we explore the conflicting arguments of survivors simply asking for help, the pitfalls of political promises not kept, and those in academia asking “What can we really do?” Our documentary entertains arguments in favor of both intervention and isolationism and supports these arguments with interviews from those closest to the conflict, including a survivor from Darfur, nationally known activists, and footage of our President and Secretary of State. President Barack Obama is shown advocating for a cautious approach to the genocide in Darfur, and Hilary Clinton is shown making her first serious speech regarding the issue. Our documentary portrays the limitations of awareness campaigns, political speeches, and academic debates. These only go so far and more tangible outreach must be undertaken to make real change happen. In our presentation, we will outline how we used a class about past genocides as a springboard for composing a documentary that captures the conversation surrounding the current struggle in Darfur, and gives voice to those most closely related to it. We will elaborate on the technical trials, such as editing and compiling footage with Avid software, along with the educational process of contacting interviewees on such a controversial topic, and the ways in which this process shaped our final product.


Sarah E. Wright (Paula Morris) Department of Management and Marketing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801

In an organization that does not produce profits, how do you justify a budget for advertising? How do you promote a non-profit organization that cannot justify an advertising budget? My thesis project, titled “Campaigning For Environmental Sustainability: A Study In Integrated Marketing Communications For Non-Profits” will address: (1) the basic structure of a non-profit organization, with emphasis on how it is different from for-profit businesses; (2) marketing and advertising strategies specifically for non-profit organizations such as “grass roots marketing”; (3) problems in marketing of non-profit organizations, including the justification of an advertising budget and the balance of advertising and public relations; (4) case studies of national, regional and local non-profits; and (5) information about the second component of my project: a promotional campaign for “MayDay: For The Environment”, an event sponsored by the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, a local non-profit in Salisbury, MD. MayDay is designed to promote environmental sustainability to children in grades K through 12 by sponsoring educational activities for children, including learning about the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, observing butterflies in the butterfly garden, learning about recycling, and building birdfeeders. I will apply the knowledge acquired through my research towards creating promotional materials for the Ward Museum’s MayDay event. In my presentation I will address background information on the Ward Museum, the unique problems of promoting MayDay: For The Environment and the Ward Museum, and an explanation behind the campaign I created for the event. I will also include mock-ups of the promotional materials that I plan on implementing for the event.


Velora A. Branch, Matthew J. Copeland, (Chasta L. Parker), Salisbury University, Department of Chemistry, Salisbury, Maryland 21801

Adiponectin (Acrp30) is a protein hormone released from adipocytes that has been shown to have anti-proliferative effects on obesity related cancer cells. Three cellular receptors from the progestin and AdipoQ Receptor (PAQR) family have been identified that can actively bind Acrp30: AdipoR1 and AdipoR2, located on the cell membrane; and AdipoR3 in the Golgi body. Prior research has indicated that AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 are involved in the anti-proliferative effect but there has been minimal research on AdipoR3 (PAQR3). The production of AdipoR3 mRNA in HT-29 human colorectal cancer cells in the presence or absence of Acrp30 was quantified using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The difference in the abundance of AdipoR3 mRNA can be related to a change in demand for the receptor by the cell, signifying its importance. The mRNA of the cell was extracted, converted to cDNA, and evaluated by qRT-PCR using fluorescent probe primers that emit light in the presence of UV-Vis radiation. The quantity of mRNA originally present is directly related to the intensity of emission. Following this study, a knockdown of AdipoR3 in the cell will be performed using RNA silencing techniques after which the anti-proliferative effect of Acrp30 on HT-29 cells will be reanalyzed. Simultaneously, the growth rate of human cancer cells will be assayed in the presence and absence Acrp30. Preliminary results confirm the anti-proliferative nature of Acrp30 and also indicate altered AdipoR3 mRNA abundance in adiponectin treated colorectal cancer cells. This work was supported by the Henson School of Science, the department of chemistry at Salisbury University as well as the Cort Scholarship.


Kori L. Asbury, Ryan J. Maluski, (Jonathan Munemo), Economics Department, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801

The gravity equation, as derived from the physics gravity equation, has been used to explain the value of international economic trade. Additionally, the Index of Intra-Industry Trade explains how much one country can import the same good that it is exporting under perfect competition. Our goal is to test the credibility and functionality of this economic equation, and determine its ability to explain the value and importance of international economic trade. Using historical United States international trade data, we compiled 132 countries that the United States has traded with over a period of the past twenty six years. From this data we were able to calculate the natural log of B, using the gravity term and trade. The natural log of B signifies the magnitude of the relationship between the variables of the gravity equation, including Gross Domestic Product and distance. It has been found that the larger the country’s Gross Domestic Product, or the shorter the distance between two counties, the stronger the trade relationship will be. This in turn, will cause more trade between two countries. From our research, we have found a strong positive correlation in the calculation of the gravity equation, in dealing with the relationship between overall trade relative to distance and Gross Domestic Product. In terms of the Index of Intra-Industry Trade, Gross Domestic Product and distance have little influence on the intra-industry trade value.


Brent A. Alogna (Miguel Mitchell) Department of Chemistry, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium responsible for the disease tuberculosis. One class of drugs that show antitubercular properties are promazine-based compounds, which inhibit the type II NADH-menaquinone dehydrogenase (ndh-2) enzyme in the electron transport chain of M. tuberculosis. A triflupromazine derivative with a 4-chlorobenzyl substituent on the non-2-trifluoromethyl phenothiazine base nitrogen has shown the most potency against M. tuberculosis, but it produces a compound with a permanent positive charge, which decreases the oral bioavailability of the compound. In an attempt to increase the oral bioavailability of the drug, while maintaining the antitubercular potency, a demethylated N-4-chlorobenzyl triflupromazine derivative was synthesized. Triflupromazine was demethylated with 1-chloroethyl chloroformate and 1,2-dichloroethane, followed by methanolysis, which produced the desired product in 68-92% yield (3 trials), structure confirmed by its 1H-NMR spectrum. The intermediate of the demethylation process, formed before methanolysis, was also isolated and its structure was tentatively determined by 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR. Direct alkylation of demethylated triflupromazine with 4-chlorobenzyl chloride resulted in a demethylated N-4-chlorobenzyl triflupromazine derivative, synthesized with yields of 40.9% and 71.3% respectively. Its structure was confirmed by 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and GC-MS. In order to try and make the demethylation process more environmentally friendly, water was substituted for methanol in the demethylation procedure. We were pleased to discover that the same demethylation product was obtained in 52.1% yield. In vitro and in vivo MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) assays of our final compound against M. tuberculosis will be performed at U. Illinois-Chicago's Institute for Tuberculosis Research. The associated bacteriological studies on the demethylated N-4-chlorobenzyl triflupromazine compound in mice should show an increase in the oral bioavailability of the drug, with the same or higher antitubercular potency.


Rebecca Abelman, Diane Davis, Medical Laboratory Science, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801

Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms are becoming an increasingly important medical issue in the 21st century. With the elevated use of antibiotics and better systems of delivering health care, these bacteria have mutated to survive. The nature of these antibiotic-resistant organisms makes them dangerous not only for the public, but also for the health care workers that come in contact with them on a regular basis. The impact of these bacteria on patient health and safety has been extensively researched, but these studies tend to be patient-focused and often exclude health care workers who come in contact with the microbes daily. They are at high risk from not only patients but also from contaminated objects and surfaces known as fomites. Medical laboratory scientists (MLS) face an unusually high risk due to the amplified organism loads in specimens in microbiology laboratories. Although the increased loads allow for better identification, testing, and manipulation of the organism, they also expose the MLS to very concentrated amounts of hazardous microbes. This inspired me to research Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in relation to laboratories. I determined the survival rate of VRE broth cultures on common laboratory surfaces, which gave me an indication of the risks associated with unnoticed spills. The four surfaces I tested were floor tiles, glass, melamine countertops, and polyester/cotton laboratory coats. Broth inoculated with a standard amount of CFUs (colony forming units) of Enterococcus faecium was placed on the surfaces and the number of organisms surviving on each surface was checked at timed intervals. BBL CHROMagar® plates for VRE were used to test for the VRE on the fomites. Measuring the survival rate of this organism will contribute to the growing knowledge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and aid in the protection of laboratory workers and the public alike.


Stacie L. Manger Dr. Haven Simmons Communications Salisbury University 1101 Camden Ave Salisbury, MD 21801

While significant research is devoted to traditional American sports such as baseball, football and basketball, soccer is largely an afterthought. Soccer is arguably the most popular sport globally with millions of ardent followers, but it struggles to compete in the United States. This paper examines the marketing, public relations and crisis communication strategies of professional soccer in America, where Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, professional golf and tennis attract more fans and media attention. The MLS (Major League Soccer League) must be innovative and aggressive to survive despite the popularity of American youth soccer. The league has recruited expensive foreign stars such as David Beckham, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, for example, but salary disparities remain problematic compared to other professional sports. Beckham's $6.5 annual salary is compared to players making less than six figures. Critics argue the MLS Cup at RFK Stadium in November arrived at a critical juncture for the league. They also wonder whether TV ratings and media coverage have improved enough to bolster a league that is expanding to 18 teams in the next five years. Most people consider the increasing number of team owners in the MLS a positive development. In addition, more stadiums catering exclusively to soccer have been constructed. The researcher weighs these critical factors according to marketing, public relations and crisis management tactics employed by the league, concluding with recommendations for enhancing its reputation and popularity against daunting odds.


Amanda J. Baker, (Dr. Gina Bloodworth), Department of Geography and Geosciences, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801

Monitoring and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay has been a rising concern over the past 40 years. It has been proven that storm water run-off frequently contains unfiltered pollutants, which have devastating effects on water quality and consequently the quality of life of organisms dependent upon that water. Fluctuations in population and the rapid urban and suburban development occurring in the Chesapeake Bay region from the 1970s to the present day involve the introduction of more impervious surfaces to this watershed basin, increasing the amount of run-off. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for monitoring and controlling storm water have evolved over the decades, for a variety of reasons. This paper will map and examine the connection between rapid urbanization and levels of storm water run-off; from this investigation, a typology of BMPs implemented in the Chesapeake Bay watershed basin will be generated. Finally, the research seeks patterns in the underlying implications of the availability and popularity of select BMPs.


Stephen Abresch, Lucy Morrison, Department of Philosophy, Salisbury University, 1011 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, Md, 21804

This work is an investigation into the experience of repulsion and its greater meaning in better understanding the way in which we are. The intimate relationship between a realization of imperfection and an experience of repulsion is focused on as revealing the true roots of repulsion: the clash of the belief of perfection and the inherent imperfection of human beings. The wisdom that no accurate knowledge of the world is gained before accurate self-knowledge is central to this work, and no self-knowledge is complete lest it understand that evil exists not only in the world, but within us as well. In essence, this paper seeks to understand not only the experience of repulsion in conjunction with an experience of imperfection (whether it be personality flaws, addiction, even physical imperfection) but also why we are so averse to accepting our imperfection in the first place. In investigating this topic I will be examining the experience of Exile and the implications it has for a dialogue on repulsion and taking a look at the modern day leper, the AIDS victim. In addition to these I will be using the works of St. John of the Cross, Richard Rorty, Carl Jung, Elie Wiesel, Rebalye and Jerome Miller to better explicate the relationship between repulsion and human revelation.

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