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This course is suitable for all MSD postgraduate research students and early career researchers who have produced enough work to be able to draft their first conference abstract. This course contains pre-work you will need to complete before the live session.


This course aims to help you develop the skills and confidence to plan and write an abstract about health research for a conference or journal article that showcases your work’s importance, methodological rigor, and results appropriately and without spin.

To get most out of the course, we suggest joining once you have produced enough work to be able to draft your first conference abstract, when you are in the process of writing an abstract, or after you have written an abstract. However, we will supply sample abstracts for those who are not yet in a position to write their own.

The course will use a blended format of pre-recorded lectures and a live interactive session, held online. It will cover:

  • The purpose of an abstract
  • The ingredients that make up an effective abstract
  • A process for putting together those ingredients, including how to find and use reporting guidelines for abstracts
  • The difference between conference and journal abstracts
  • Choosing words and keywords to help readers find your abstract
  • Critically appraising an abstract to suggest revisions

Before the live session, you will watch around 1 hour of pre-recorded lectures through a separate platform called Canvas and complete their associated exercises. You will be given access to the pre-recorded content once you have booked onto a live session date (please refer to 'This course contains pre-work' below). You will be prompted to draft an abstract using your own work or to revise an existing abstract. A sample abstract will be made available for those who prefer not to work on their own abstract.

We recommend completing the pre-work a week before the live session. Please allow a half-day to complete this pre-work. 

The live session will not simply repeat the content from the pre-recorded lectures. Instead, the live session will be used for discussion, questions, and putting the learning into practice. For example, the tutor will demonstrate how to critically appraise and revise an abstract. You will then revise each other’s abstracts in groups.

This course is delivered by writing experts from the UK EQUATOR Centre: Dr Patricia Logullo and Dr Jennifer de Beyer.

Please make sure you read all of the sections below relating to how the course will work, pre-work and the survey and attendance certificate policy.


 By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Plan and write an abstract that clearly and completely describes their work’s importance and rigor, with the help of reporting guidelines
  • Match the abstract to a journal or conference’s audience, scope and aims
  • Revise the abstract and keywords to increase visibility




For the live interactive session (via Teams or Zoom) you will be sent the link in the automated communication along with joining instructions. To join the session, you can click on the link 15 minutes before the session. Once the tutor has started the session, they will tell you what to do. You will need to complete the pre-work before the live session (see below).


After you have booked onto the live interactive session you will be sent an enrolment invitation email from Canvas. You need to accept the invitation then access and work through the pre-recorded videos and exercises in advance of the live interactive session. This is a compulsory part of the course and if you have not completed the pre-work, you may be not be able to participate in the live session.

Please note that as Canvas is a separate platform to the booking system, you may need to check your junk folder if you haven't received the enrolment invitation email.


A good internet connection, uninterrupted time, camera and microphone enabled on PC.


It is now a requirement that you complete the three short questions in the survey you receive after attending the course. Once you have submitted the survey, you will be sent an email with a link to your attendance certificate. This is to ensure we receive the feedback we need to evaluate and improve our courses. Survey results are downloaded and stored anonymously.


Where no cost is indicated in the shopping trolley, no deposit is required. However, more than two consecutive non-attendances or late cancellations without good reason will be logged and may mean you cannot attend any further MSD training that term. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for further information.