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Abstract writing workshop (115)


[NEW DATE] : 2 December 2020

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Dr Gretchen Bakke


The "Abstract" is a very particular genre of writing that, though rarely taught, is absolutely essential to scholarly life. The fact that it has genre conventions - which can be learned - is complicated by the fact that abstracts are often aspirational. We are asked to write them about things we haven't done yet, don't know enough about, or simply dream of accomplishing. An abstract is thus a very solid form for either a) summarizing in very simple terms something that is intensenly comple (a doctoral thesis) or b) expressing something mysterious, yet desired (e.g. a proposal for a conference presentation). Abstracts also come in many different lengths: 300 carachters, 250 words, 500 words, 1 page, 10 pages etc. yet the basic structure for each is the same. This structure can be learned, and with practice can be mastered.


Learning outcomes:

In this workshop:

  • We will use existing abstracts from the social science to figure out the necessary elements of an excellent abstract. This work will be done in small groups with instructor participation.
  • We will practice writing abstracts of different lenghts about something we have already done (an article or essay or chapter we have written). We will workshop these and rewrite them several times over the course of the workshop, in order to practice improving our own capacities at summary.
  • We will write a "real" abstract for something we'd really lik o do, like a conference presentation or a grant application.

Benefits include demystification of the abstract as a set (but rarely taught) form of scholarity pplication. Playful, practiced participation - as an abstract - of projects we'd like to undertake, and a clear sense of the difference between a very good and a pretty bad abstract.


University of Neuchâtel


Date: Wednesday, 2nd December 2020

Place: University of Neuchâtel

Schedule: 9:15 am to 3:15 pm - with one hour for lunch

The trainer:

Dr Gretchen BAKKE holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology form the University of Chicago. She is a private writing tutor for academics of all levels, from Masters students to tenured professors. She has helped to usher over 200 doctoral candidates through the thesis writing process. She taught dissertation writing at McGill University between 2012-2017 and offers intensive short courses in doctoral thesis writing and academic professionalization - including abstract writing and 'writing for non-academic audiences' - for universities, professional organizations, and university consortia in North America and Europe. Bakke is currently a visiting professor at Humboldt University in Berlin.


Participants are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train between the city of their university and the location of the workshop (half-fare card, 2nd class).



Délai d'inscription 25.11.2020
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