Writing abstracts


Communication skills

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools one year or more into their PhD


This workshop is a one-day intensive training session on writing research abstracts - a key form of scholarly communication. Essential for gaining acceptance to speak at conferences (and an audience for your presentation), and for attracting readers to your journal articles, they are of critical importance for raising the profile of your research and developing an academic career. This short form of description, representing the essence of a research contribution, places particular demands on academic writing style, in terms of clarity, economy and precision. The workshop is designed to develop the necessary skills, encouraging participants to find clear, concise and powerful ways to summarize their research and make an impact. Non-native speakers will receive feedback designed to improve their written English, including questions of style and tone. There will be a mixture of presentation, group discussion and interactive exercises; handouts will provide reference material and further resources for continuing to develop the skills learned in the workshop.

The workshop coverage will be as follows:

  • What are abstracts for? Group discussion
  • What makes a good abstract? An exercise in critical thinking
  • Key elements: Rationale – Research question – Methods – Results – Conclusions - Implications - Applications
  • Differing conventions between subject areas: Identifying norms and expectations in your discipline
  • Abstracts for Conferences
  • Abstracts for Journal Articles
  • Writing, Revising and Editing: Exercise – revising your draft abstract; editing your colleague’s abstract



Workshop Tutor Josie Dixon is an international training consultant and specialises in running workshops for postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers and staff in the humanities and social sciences. She has over 100 university clients in the UK, Europe and the USA. Principal areas for training are publishing research, writing and giving conference papers, and research communication skills. She was previously Publishing Director for the Academic Division at Palgrave Macmillan and Senior Commissioning Editor at Cambridge University Press, and also has clients in the publishing industry. More details at www.lucianconsulting.com


Important: participants have to write a brief (max 1 page or even a paragraph will do) details of their subject area and thesis topic in order to plan groupings for the exercises in the course of the workshop. 

Date & Program

Thursday 5 May 2022 from 10:00 till 16:00


  • 10.00 Introductions and Group Discussion: What are abstracts for? 
  • 11.15 TEA / COFFEE BREAK
  • 11.30 Writing exercise: Key elements to structure your abstract 
  • 12.30 LUNCH BREAK
  • 1.30 Exercise: editing your draft abstract
  • 2.00 Mutual editing
  • 2.20 Discussion in pairs
  • 2.40 Exercises: i) Finalise your abstract (15 minutes) ii) Tailoring to the context, and Keywords
  • 3.30 Q&A, Group discussion, review of learning points
  • 4.00 Finish


Please follow this link (registration by e-mail is not accepted). Your registration will be confirmed by separate e-mail from the Doctoral Schools.

Should the course be fully booked, please ask to be added to a waiting list by sending an e-mail to doctoralschools@ugent.be

Registration fee

Free of charge for Doctoral School members.  The no show policy applies.

Number of participants




Teaching and learning material


Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% participation