Abstract and Artist Statement Tips

To present at an academic conference, such as the symposium, it is expected that presenters prepare an abstract, which simply represents a summary of the research to be presented. It offers a brief synopsis of the purpose and primary ideas of the project. Abstracts also precede papers in research journals and appear in programs of academic conferences. It is crucial that researchers learn how to write professional abstracts that succinctly convey their research to the intended audience.

Undergraduate students registering to present/perform at the Undergraduate Research Symposium submit either an abstract or artist statement for their research, creative work, or works-in-progress. Students in the arts may choose to submit an artist statement in lieu of an abstract, if they prefer. All abstracts submitted for the symposium, will be published in the program book.

Abstracts and artist statements for the UO symposium will be no more than 1500 characters, and should be comprehensible to a wide-ranging audience- from those who are experts in the field to the lay person.

Attend an Abstract and Artist Statement Writing Workshop

"Crafting & Developing an Abstract, Project Summary or Artist Statement," presented jointly by ASURE and OURJ, will be held on the following days:

  • April 3, 2024, 5:00-7:00 pm in the Knight Library DREAMLab 
  • April 9, 2024, 4:30-6:30 pm in the EMU Miller Room

How Do I Write an Abstract?

An abstract should be succinct, factual, and balanced. A reader should be able to gain a summary of the project through an abstract. Your abstract should contain the following components:

  • Introductory sentence(s) - background, and general information about the topic
  • Statement of thesis, hypothesis, purpose, or question of study, motivation and significance of the work
  • General methods/procedures used- goals of the practice being implemented
  • Results/findings or anticipated results (if the work is still in progress)
  • Primary conclusion of the work, implications or insights about this work
  • General statement of the significance of the research, or range of audience who will be interested in the study

Prior to submitting your abstract, always proofread your writing and ask a friend to perform an additional proofreading. Always print out a copy to read, as it is much easier to catch typos that don’t involve misspelled words (e.g., if vs. is; both are words, so your spell check program will miss the difference). Double check your grammar, run a spell check and a word/character count, and be sure to submit it by the deadline. 

An Artist Statement

(Abstract format for those presenting creative projects)

An artist statement explains your work—a description of your creative endeavors (and/or process) that provides insight into the project. The statement introduces the reader to your work, so they may get an overall sense of the themes you are exploring, motivation, materials you work with or creative medium to express your creativily and potential influences.

  • Medium, materials and methods- Describe the medium and materials you use to answer the "how." How do you create your art? What materials do you use (camera, oil paint, charcoal, metal, wood pencil)? For example, are you a digital photographer or prefer film and print in a darkroom?
  • Subject matter- The subject matter might be obvious to you, but not to your audience. However, you may introduce the 'subject' in ways that still allow your audience to form their own interpretations.
  • Relationship between your concept and materials- What are your influences, vision for the work? What is the message that you hope to convey through your creative work?

What Are General Abstract Guidelines?

Every conference and professional meeting will have guidelines for submitting an abstract. Be sure to check the guidelines and to follow them (otherwise, you risk your abstract/submission being rejected immediately). 

  • Abstract deadline date: These are usually very strict. An abstract received after the deadline will not be accepted. 
  • Word count restriction: Most meetings have a word (or character) restriction (typically 200– 250 words: 1500 characters). Abstracts that exceed this word count will be cut off at the restricted number when published or not accepted. 
  • Format: All meetings will require a specific format for an abstract, including specific margins, font, and/or font size. They will also require a certain way to list the authors and to present their affiliations.

Where Can I Get Feedback or Help with My Abstract?

Ask your faculty or research mentors to help with writing an abstract. The Undergraduate Research Symposium organizers and ASURE (Affiliated Students for Undergraduate Research Engagement) student group also offer drop-in open hours advising.

Symposium preparation workshops are offered by ASURE & OURJ in the coming weeks leading up to the symposium, and recorded workshops accessible via the Symposium YouTube channel. 

Fine-tune your symposium presentation and get feedback (as well as pizza) during a drop-in session at the "Symposium and Slices" workshop presented by ASURE & OURJ. It will be held Thursday, May 9, from 3:00 to 9:00 pm at the DREAMLab in the Knight Library.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

At what point in my research project should I submit an abstract for the Undergraduate Research Symposium?

Participants will submit abstracts through the Undergraduate Research Symposium Participation Registration form. The Undergraduate Research Symposium organizers recognize that abstracts may represent tentative or projected findings, conclusions, or outcomes. 

Posters can be presented at almost any stage of a research project and are an excellent way to get feedback on work in-progress. Typically, students who have been doing research for two terms are in a good position to present a poster. 

You are encouraged to discuss your research progress with your faculty and research mentors. They should assist you in the abstract-writing process. 

Where, additionally, should I present my work?

The University of Oregon’s Undergraduate Research Symposium offers a supportive environment to present your work and to receive informal feedback that can help prepare you for regional and national academic conferences in your field of study. Consult your faculty mentor or research advisor for recommendations of conferences to attend and/or present at. Subject librarians at UO Libraries serve as valuable resources for publication, presentation opportunities information and resources. The UO Library also hosts Scholars’ Bank, an open access repository for the intellectual work of faculty and students, and staff at the University of Oregon, is a resource to make public scholarly work. 

Additional Resources for Abstract and Artist Statement Development


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