URCAD Abstract Guidelines

Please read…

Please check the points below to ensure that your abstract meets the URCAD specifications.
Abstracts not conforming to specifications will be returned for revision. If directions from your mentor
conflict with these instructions, follow your mentor’s instructions.


  • This exact abstract has been approved by the faculty mentor.
  • The abstract has been proofread and is ready to be published in the URCAD program.
  • The abstract is written to be understandable to well-educated non-specialists. (Understanding
    your audience and speaking directly to them is central to good writing.)
  • The first sentence states the research problem / scholarship / creative project addressed.
  • The abstract contains a sentence or two at the beginning or end indicating why the research
    topic is relevant to the general public as a whole followed by information about scope, purpose,
    approach, significant results and major conclusions.
  • Text follows, elaborating on method, results, and further implications: what was done, how it
    was done, what happened, what the results mean.
  • The importance of the research to the general public is described, typically with one or two
    sentences at the beginning or the end of the abstract.
  • Abstracts about research involving human subjects include the number of subjects and a
    description of the subjects, e.g., 25 male college students
  • If there are any results from the work, these are included. (As much URCAD work is ongoing, not
    all abstracts will include results.)


  • The abstract is typically written in the past tense, describing work completed and results.
  • The abstract uses active voice where feasible, while limiting the use of the word “I.”
  • The text of the abstract is 150-200 words in length. (Maximum = 200 words)
  • The text is presented in one paragraph only.
  • All text is single spaced.
  • Text is left aligned.
  • A single space is used after a period and no spaces before or after a slash.
  • Standard form is used for abbreviations: “i.e.,” “et al.” and “e.g.,” These are not italicized.
  • The word “and” not “&” is used.
  • Punctuation is located inside quotation marks.
  • Numbers under 10 are written, e.g., “nine” not “9” as well as ordinal numbers under 10, e.g.,
    ”eighth” not 8th. Typically write out “percent,” as in nine percent or 15 percent.
  • Bacteria are referred to by genus and species name, with the genus capitalized and species
    lower case, both in italic.
  • The genus name is written out in first usage, e.g., Escherichia coli. Subsequent uses can be
    abbreviated, e.g., E. coli.
  • Gene names are lower case italic. Protein names begin with a capital letter and are not in italic.
  • Typically the abstract does not include citations.

Also read for:

  • General logic
  • Noun-verb agreement
  • Consistent tense (typically past tense)
  • Proper italicizing and capitalizing of scientific words