Crafting your Abstract for the Online Postgraduate Research Symposium

Abstract submissions close 1 October 2021 – submit yours here!

Thinking of presenting at the AUT Postgraduate Research Symposium on Friday 26 November?

No matter what stage you’re at, all AUT research students are welcome to give a presentation. It’s a great way to meet other researchers, stimulate new ideas, and practise disseminating your work in front of a friendly crowd. The process for applying to the PG Symposium mimics the process for applying to a conference – so this is an opportunity to prepare if you are thinking of presenting at conferences in the future.

As we announced last week, this year’s Symposium will look a little different. Whereas we’d usually meet in person for a day of presentations and discussions, we’ll now meet online. That’s partly a practicality (we don’t know which alert level we’ll be at) and partly good academic preparation. Many conferences have gone online in the COVID era; even post-COVID, some may stay online for the cost savings and ease of access.

One way or another, 21st century academics need to be able to present their research online. Treat this PG Symposium as a chance to practise that. We’ll guide you through the process of giving an online talk or poster presentation. How can you make the best use of the technology available? How can you connect with your academic peers when you can’t see them IRL? How should you tweak your presentation style?

At this early stage, all you need to do is craft your abstract of up to 300 words and submit it by 1 October via the online application form.

Check out our short video below for a guide to writing a well-structured, informative, and concise abstract that will give you the best chance of (a) being accepted to your chosen conference or symposium; and (b) getting lots of interested attendees coming along to your talk!

The basic idea is to use your precious few words economically to cover:

  • contextual information about the state of existing knowledge in your niche area
  • the purpose of your presentation (the actual talk or poster)
  • a description of your research project & methods
  • an indication of your findings (or hypotheses, if you don’t have findings yet)
  • the significance & implications of your research

At our PG Symposium there is an award for the best abstract, so it pays to put in a bit of effort to get this right!

Do you need to tweak your abstract-writing strategy for an online event? In general: not really. Abstracts for virtual conferences and symposia have the same purpose as for IRL events, and should cover the same information. The only potential difference is that while some IRL events would print your abstract on paper (often alongside or supplementing a digital version), an online event will definitely publish your abstract online – and often, it will be keyword searchable. That means you’ll need to give plenty of thought to your keywords to help bring your abstract to the attention of those with shared research interests.

If you’d like to learn more about crafting an abstract, check out our cheat sheet here on Thesislink. And if you have any questions about presenting at the PG Symposium, you can email us on

We look forward to seeing your abstracts!

About Graduate Research School (Auckland University of Technology)

The Auckland University of Technology Graduate Research School offers support and resources to all postgraduate students at AUT. Come and visit us on the 5th floor of the WU building.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available