• NSH

How to Write an Abstract

NSH recently opened abstract submissions for our 47th Annual Convention, taking place virtually September 14-16th. For our second virtual convention, we’re adding some additional presentation options to make the virtual learning experience more interactive and enjoyable for both presenters and attendees. In addition to traditional 60-minute sessions, you can choose to present a Learning Lab, an interactive session which includes a take-home piece like a staining kit, or group work in breakout rooms during a leadership session. If you’re new to presenting and want to get your feet wet, you can try an Express Talk, a 15-minute session on a very focused topic, like a troubleshooting tip or a management tool.


You may be thinking to yourself, “That’s great! I would love to present, I have knowledge to share… but the process seems dauting. What do I actually need to do?”. There are plenty of seasoned pros who know exactly what to do when it comes to writing and submitting an abstract, but the majority of people, first time presenters and even some with a little bit of experience, still struggle with what to include in an abstract. So… we thought we would provide some helpful tips for putting together the best possible abstract, and ultimately an engaging workshop your histology peers will want to attend.


What You Need to Submit

Let’s start with everything you will need to submit. You will first need to decide what type of session you are presenting, a 60-minute workshop, a Learning Lab, or an Express Talk. If you have a topic idea, but you’re not sure what type of session it is, email us! We can help you work through the format that makes the most sense.


Then, come up with a session title. If you need some inspiration, browse through the sessions from the 2020 Virtual Convention which are now available on the Online Learning Center. Sometimes the titles are creative and catchy, but the most important thing is making sure potential attendees know what the session is about!

Include 3 session objectives. These are 3 things that the attendees at your session will come away with. For example, “The audience will learn specific “dos” and “don’ts” for scientific writing.”.


Include your abstract. The abstract is essentially the session description that people looking to attend your workshop will see in the registration brochure, but we need it to determine if this session will be educational, and provide value to attendees; i.e whether or not it’s a session to accept.


What Your Abstract Should Have:

  • The problem – tell us in 1-2 sentences the problem that is being addressed.

  • Important topics and considerations – list out the important pieces of your talk that will be covered to help address the problem.

  • The solution or outcome – at the end of the session what will attendees know or be able to do…but be realistic. Attendees probably won’t walk away knowing how to fix all of their IHC staining issues, but maybe they will walk away with a list of troubleshooting tips or be able to troubleshoot specific issues.

Accepted Abstract from a Previous Convention – Example

(PROBLEM) Immunohistochemical (IHC) Staining is now so commonly performed by instruments or robots that the actual staining process is lost in the barcodes and software, bottles and vials. (CONSIDERATIONS/TOPICS) This workshop dives back down to the basics of what is really happening on the slide: from tissue preparation to the sequential application of primary antibody, linking antibodies, enzyme complex, chromogen and counterstain. We will discuss the effects that pre-analytical events such as fixation, processing and microtomy have on the staining process and on the results. Multiple staining methods will be examined including avidin-biotin, polymer and other biotin-free systems, as well as newer built-in amplification techniques. And as we examine the process we will discuss how each step leads to the success or failure of the final product. (OUTCOME/SOLUTION) A strong foundation of such basic understanding leads to not only outstanding results but also ease in troubleshooting any unexpected staining outcomes.


Session Instruction Level and Track

The final questions on the submission form are so we know how to categorize your session should it be accepted. All of the sessions at the NSH Annual Convention are sorted into three levels of instruction, basic, intermediate, and advanced. We do this so that attendees know what sessions fit their level of expertise when choosing what to attend. Similarly, sessions are sorted into educational tracks including Laboratory Operations, Leadership Development, Imaging and Analysis, IHC and Molecular, and General Anatomic Pathology so those attendees looking for specific skills can easily choose the right sessions to upskill their knowledge.


Finally, let us know if this session has been presented at another meeting in the past. Having presented somewhere else doesn’t mean you won’t be selected, but we need to know if there are any conflicts or if the session may have already been attended by the vast majority of Convention attendees.


When you are ready (and before April 14th) write up that brilliant session and submit for consideration! Click here for additional guidelines and the submission form.

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