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How to Write an Abstract for PNSQC

Moss Drake

Woman considering her PNSQC abstractEvery paper presented at the Pacific NW Software Quality Conference over the years has started with an abstract.  You might be wondering “What is an abstract and how do I get an idea for one?”  PNSQC President Philip Lew takes you through the process in this blog post.


For those that are wondering what to submit for your abstract for PNSQC, I thought I’d give a few pointers on putting together a good abstract. Your abstract need not be long. One paragraph is enough and two most; perhaps 200-300 words is enough. Keep in mind, with 200 words, you need to convince the PNSQC Program committee that your topic is worthy to be developed into a conference paper. 

An abstract is an outline/brief summary of your topic. Therefore, it should have an introduction, body and conclusion. And, it must be understandable to a wide audience. In other words, you don’t want to dive into too many details. There are five basic components to well-written abstract as outlined below:
Reason for writing: What is the importance of this topic? What value is there for the audience? What is the main advantage they will gain? Will it help: 
  • Improve software quality?
  • Perform faster?
  • Make something easier? 
  • Avoid mistakes (because you share yours)?
  • Teach someone a new way of working?

Problem: What problem do you solve or help to solve? Some ideas could be:
  • Automation object recognition
  • Implementing Agile in large organizations
  • Managing testers as a new manager
  • Interpreting performance test results
  • Filtering through all the AI technologies currently available
  • Understanding how to measure software quality
  • Where and what buttons to place where in your mobile app

Methodology: How did you approach the problem? 
  • Did you try several options and finally come to what you think is best?
  • Did you model the problem and decompose it?
  • Did you try to apply a new technology or tool?
  • Did you try one method or process model (i.e. Scrum) and modify it to meet your needs?

Results: So you had a problem, and tried to solve it.
  • Did you improve what you were working on? How much?
  • What people or parts of your organization benefitted?
  • What mistakes did you make that others can learn from?
  • Alternatively: did the solution fail in a useful way?

Implications: How will this affect future work?
  • Will this help your organization in the future?
  • Will you be able to build on this work and keep going forward?
  • Can others use your work in their organizations and how?

Now that you’ve got a good idea of how to write the abstract, put together a few sentences and structure them into a paragraph and submit! You can get some ideas on topics here in our archive.  Submit your abstract here and be part of PNSQC’s 40+ year history. In doing so, your paper will be published in our annual proceedings and will forever be available to your fellow colleagues in our online archives.