SREcon20 Americas West Proposal Guidelines

Advice for Writing Abstracts

The abstract is the primary resource for the PC (program committee) to understand what the talk is about and what it will contain. Writing good abstracts is very important for both the PC and potential speakers.

Be Clear

We are not mind readers; try not to make too many assumptions about prior knowledge in your abstract—e.g. we may or may not have heard of X, and if you submit a talk about it, it’s good to explain (or link to) what it is. Be explicit about what you are going to speak about.

Abstracts are not teasers—if you want a teaser to be published on the conference schedule (perhaps you are unveiling a new project) rather than the abstract you can write so in the abstract and we will try to oblige, but the abstract must contain information about the content of the talk.

Be Focused

A good abstract provides an idea of why this talk provides an added value to the conference and the ongoing dialogue in the field. It is obviously not easy to trim down your talk to a few paragraphs. The following questions can help you focus on what the abstract needs to communicate:

  1. What is the problem you address? Why is it important now?
  2. Who is the target audience?
  3. What type of session is this? (e.g. technical, conceptual, review)
  4. What are the takeaways from this talk? What is the message?
  5. What is the format of this talk? (e.g. demo, live coding, structured talk, loose talk, improve, etc.)

And take your time! A good abstract is not written in just a few minutes. Even experienced speakers prefer to go over it several times.

Try to keep the abstract short but don’t skimp on the words if you feel important information might be excluded.