APS Careers | How-to

Best Practices for Writing Titles and Abstracts

Though brief, titles and scientific abstracts may be the most important part of your paper or presentation. As an initial summary of your research, they are the first chance you have to make an impression on your audience and the basis for whether they decide to attend your presentation or read your paper.

Before you start writing, think about the big picture. What is the relevance of your project? What is the context in which you will present your work? How does your project fit into the broader scope of the meeting or journal you are submitting to? Use the answers to these questions as the framework.

Crafting effective titles

When crafting an effective title, be sure that it:

  • Predicts the contents
  • Contains important keywords
  • Defines purpose, scope, tone, and methods

Parts of an abstract

Good abstracts include many of the parts of a paper, condensed or simplified to the most essential information:

  • Introduction
  • Previous or relevant references
  • The goal of the project
  • How that goal was met
  • Key results
  • What makes your results unique or noteworthy

Helpful hints

A few helpful hints to keep in mind:

  • Stay within the required character or word count.
  • Use proper submission format—often LaTeX, MS Word, or plain text.
  • Ensure your abstract can stand alone — it should be understandable without reading the paper or seeing the presentation.
  • Proofread.
  • Define acronyms and minimize jargon.


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