Guidelines for Abstracts

Purpose of this guideline

This information is designed to help you prepare an abstract that meets the criteria for FIP congresses. It is intended to be read alongside the call for abstracts, which specifies the congress topic areas, and applies to abstracts for oral presentations and posters.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a short statement that gives the reader a comprehensive yet concise understanding of your work. Your work could be research, such as a study or clinical trial, or a new or unique service, programme, theory or resource.

An abstract is an opportunity to make your work known, inform practice and/or education, and to establish connections with others in your field of interest. It should tell readers what you are going to present and interest them in learning more about your work — they may decide to attend your presentation, visit your poster or contact you based on it.

Who is your audience?

Your abstract will have difference audiences:

  • Congress delegates (pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, students, educators, policy-makers and researchers) use abstracts to select which sessions to attend.
  • Reviewers will assess the quality of your abstract and recommend its acceptance (and whether the work should be presented orally or as a poster) or rejection.
  • Journal editors use abstracts to look for papers to encourage for publication.
  • People who can’t attend the congress access abstracts online.

Abstract content and structure

Required subheadings

Your abstract should contain information under the following subheadings:

  • Title
  • Background information (Why is your work important? Does it fill any gaps in knowledge or research? What is the context?)
  • Purpose (What are the objectives? You may include a short statement of your hypothesis.)
  • Method (Explain your methods, such as study design. What was done, by whom, how and where? What measurements were taken and how were the data managed?)
  • Results (What did you find, discover or achieve? Not just in subjective terms, but also in the form of data. How significant were your findings?)
  • Conclusion (What were your overall findings? What do they mean? How could the methods be improved? Is this work part of a bigger piece of research or strategy? What are the suggestions for future work?)
  • Topic area (Refer to the areas listed in the call for abstracts and select the most appropriate so that the congress organisers can place your abstract in the appropriate session.)

Rules for content and structure

  • Abstracts must be in British English. (If you are not a native English speaker, you are advised to have your writing reviewed by a native English speaker before submission.)
  • Abstracts should preferably contain previously unpublished results.
  • Abstracts must be no more than 1,700 characters (including spaces), excluding the title and excluding the name(s) and institutes/companies of the authors and co-authors.
  • All co-authors must be listed.
  • All listed co-authors must have reviewed the abstract and accepted responsibility for its contents.
  • Abstract titles should not include phone numbers, email or website addresses.
  • No images, tables, graphs, citations or end notes are permitted in the abstract.
  • Non-proprietary (generic) drug names must be used wherever possible.
  • Active promotion of commercial entities, products or services is not permitted. 

Twelve tips

Your abstract is more likely to be accepted if you follow these tips:

  1. Before you start, be clear on what aspect of your work you want to present. What will the audience find most interesting?
  2. Have a look at abstracts from last year’s FIP congress to get a feel for tone and style. (You can access them at
  3. Many readers will not be native English speakers so avoid any play on words in the title and opt for simple sentence construction.
  4. Keep language correct, simple, clear, professional and, where needed, scientific.
  5. Include key words for your area of work so that content can be determined easily (congress delegates scan hundreds of abstracts to determine what to see.)
  6. Avoid abbreviations. (If you do use them, place them all in parentheses after the full word(s) the first time it/they appear in the text.)
  7. Delete as many unnecessary words and sentences as possible. Use short sentences
  8. If you need help with your writing ask supervisors and colleagues. Or use the FIP Abstract Mentoring Programme (see below).
  9. Check that your conclusions can be confirmed by the findings of your study.
  10. Test your abstract before submitting it. Ask someone else to read it and to tell you what your work was about. (If he or she is not able to explain it clearly, your abstract may need to be revised.)
  11. Proofread your abstract several times.
  12. Understand what the reviewer will be looking for. (See below.)

The four Cs of abstract writing



The abstract covers the main part of your research/work



The abstract contains no excess words or unnecessary information.



The abstract is easily read, well organised and without too much jargon


Different parts of the abstract should be properly linked - ensure that there is a logical and coherent flow


FIP Abstract Mentoring Programme

The FIP Abstract Mentoring Programme is for authors with little experience of writing abstracts or for whom English is not their first language. For further information refer to the call for abstracts.

Rules for submission

  • By submitting an abstract, the author(s) agrees to allow publication of the content on the FIP website and in publications.
  • Authors who are invited to present their work grant FIP permission to store and share their presentation.
  • The online submission form must be used.


Submitting your abstract

Abstracts must be submitted using the online abstract form. Paper, faxed or emailed submissions will be rejected.

Be sure to select the topic area for your abstract from the drop-down menu.

The presenting author is invited to indicate on the form, his or her preference for oral or poster presentation. However, the final decision is that of the reviewer and programme committee and will be influenced by the quality and suitability of the abstract and logistics such as presentation space and time.

Tip: If you have prepared your abstract in Word, check no changes are introduced when you copy and paste into the online submission form.

The review process 

After the submission of your abstract, a uniform review process will take place. The goal is not to limit the number of presentations or posters but to ensure that all abstracts published meet minimum professional standards and reflect good work.

Reviewers ask the following five basic questions:

  1. Does the work address a significant or important issue?
  2. Is the work new or has it been published already?
  3. Do the methods/approach enable the question asked at the start of the project to be answered rigorously?
  4. Have the data/findings been interpreted appropriately?
  5. Are the contents of the abstract clear and intelligible?

The outcome of the review will be emailed to the main author by 1 May 2017.

Note, however, that any accepted abstracts will be cancelled if the presenting author has not registered and paid the registration fee for the congress by 15 May 2017. This is the date by which the FIP congress programme materials must be finalised and so authors whose attendance cannot be confirmed by registration will not be scheduled. Their abstracts cannot be presented and will not be published.

Summary of important dates

  • 1 March 2017
    Submission deadline for those wishing to use the mentoring programme to
  • 1 April 2017
    Submission deadline for those who do not wish to use the mentoring programme
  • 1 May 2017
    Review outcomes communicated
  • 15 May 2017
    Deadline for congress registration

Is your abstract ready? Final checklist

  • Will your title capture the interest of congress delegate?
  • Does your title describe the subject being written about?
  • Is the abstract well written in terms of language, grammar and spelling?
  • Does the abstract convey what the presentation is about and why people should attend?
  • Does the abstract clearly state the subject of your project, and the questions it aimed to answer?
  • Does the abstract say how the project was carried out?
  • Does the abstract indicate the value of the findings and to whom will they be of use?
  • Does the abstract give a concise summary of the findings?
  • Is the abstract below 1,700 characters?

Most frequent reasons for abstract rejection:

  • Not properly written/ not understandable
  • No new information provided
  • Previously published
  • Promotional in nature
  • Duplicate of another abstract