McNair Scholars

Abstract Guidelines

To be considered as a presenter for either an oral or poster research presentationyou must submit a mentor-approved abstract.

Abstracts are due March 29th, 2021 by 11:59 PST and are submitted as part of the Individual Student Registration process.

Work with your mentor to review your abstract and title before submitting; all abstracts must be mentor-approved. If needed, we will request edits. Students must be able to respond via e-mail to abstract feedback and make appropriate edits in a timely manner.

An abstract is a summary of your research usually presented in skeletal form, which concentrates on the essentials of a larger idea or claim. This abstract should be comprehensible to an educated, but non-discipline specific audience.

Similar to a research paper, abstracts should contain the following:

  • Background / Introduction (1-2 sentences): Provide context to explain how your research fits within a bigger picture and what the larger impact of your research might be.
  • Research Purpose (1 sentence): What’s the general problem or issue that needs solving?
  • Research Question or Hypothesis (1 sentence per question or hypothesis)
  • Methods (1-3 sentences): Take time to not only name your methods, but explain the mechanisms, processes, or theoretical approaches that you employ in your study. Be sure to highlight your individual role within the research study.
  • Data / Results (1-3 sentences): Report on any data / results your study has generated. These findings can be preliminary or anticipated if you haven’t finished data collection, i.e. “Expected results include…”, “Preliminary results indicate…”, “Results could inform…”
  • Conclusion / Implications (1-2 sentences): Based on your findings, what are your recommendations for next steps, either for research or for applying your findings to inform interventions or policy. What are the big-picture implications or broader potential impacts of your research findings?

PLEASE NOTE: While an abstract will summarize information from these research paper sections, there should be NO SECTION HEADINGS within your abstract.

Your abstract should include sufficient information for reviewers to judge the nature and significance of your research, the adequacy of the methodology employed, and the nature of the results and/or progress to date.

Additional guidelines:

  • Abstract is MENTOR-APPROVED. Your abstract will be published on the Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium online platform. Therefore, a submitted abstract must be a high quality abstract approved by your faculty mentor.
  • Project title is no longer than 150 characters in length and is in title case format. All words in the title are capitalized except for 3-letter or shorter words, which are lowercase. The exceptions to this are 3-letter words that are verbs, like “Are” or “Is”, which would be capitalized in your title.
  • Abstract texts should be a single paragraph, no longer than 300 words in length, in Times New Roman, 12-point font with no section headings.
  • Do not include references or in-text citations in your abstract.
  • Italicize Latin genus / species names following scientific conventions.
  • Use layman’s terms to define or explain key terms, concepts, or processes that may not be known to those outside your field.
  • Use past or present tense: Describe the project in terms of what will be completed by the time of the Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium Apr. 22-24, 2021. For instance, if your data collection isn’t starting until April, but will be in progress by the time of the conference, you would write, “I am collecting data on…” even though at the time of the abstract submission, you have not started your data collection.
  • Use “I” as your subject and the active voice as much as possible: Make it clear what work YOU have done whenever possible, i.e. “I measured samples…” instead of “Samples were measured…”
  • Spell out acronyms that aren’t commonly known the first time you use them. You only need to provide an acronym if you will then refer to the term by the acronym elsewhere in your abstract.

Please contact if you have any issues or questions about the abstract submission process.

Additional resources on how to write an abstract can be found here:

Below are annotated and color-coded examples of student abstracts. We recommend that you similarly use color-coding in your revising process to ensure that your abstract has all mandatory content.

Click on the images below to see a larger version.