But with the ubiquity of online publication databases, writing a compelling abstract is even more important today than it was in the days of bound paper manuscripts. Because it is often the ONLY chance you have to convince readers to keep reading, it is important that you spend time and energy crafting an abstract that both faithfully represents the central parts of your study, as well as captivates your audience. Before You Start Writing Your Abstract… Decide which type of abstract you need to write All abstracts are written with the same essential objective: But there are two basic styles of abstract:
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Abstracts of scientific papers are sometimes poorly written, often lack important information, and occasionally convey a biased picture.
This paper provides detailed suggestions, with examples, for writing the background, methods, results, and conclusions sections of a good abstract.
The primary target of this paper is the young researcher; however, authors with all levels of experience may find useful ideas in the paper. Earlier articles offered suggestions on how to write a good case report,[ 1 ] and how to read, write, or review a paper on randomized controlled trials.
Although the primary target of this paper is the young researcher, it is likely that authors with all levels of experience will find at least a few ideas that may be useful in their future efforts.
The abstract of a paper is the only part of the paper that is published in conference proceedings. The abstract is the only part of the paper that a potential referee sees when he is invited by an editor to review a manuscript. The abstract is the only part of the paper that readers see when they search through electronic databases such as PubMed.
Finally, most readers will acknowledge, with a chuckle, that when they leaf through the hard copy of a journal, they look at only the titles of the contained papers. If a title interests them, they glance through the abstract of that paper. Only a dedicated reader will peruse the contents of the paper, and then, most often only the introduction and discussion sections.
Only a reader with a very specific interest in the subject of the paper, and a need to understand it thoroughly, will read the entire paper.
Thus, for the vast majority of readers, the paper does not exist beyond its abstract. For the referees, and the few readers who wish to read beyond the abstract, the abstract sets the tone for the rest of the paper. It is therefore the duty of the author to ensure that the abstract is properly representative of the entire paper.
For this, the abstract must have some general qualities. These are listed in Table 1. The usual sections defined in a structured abstract are the Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions; other headings with similar meanings may be used eg, Introduction in place of Background or Findings in place of Results.
Some journals include additional sections, such as Objectives between Background and Methods and Limitations at the end of the abstract. In the rest of this paper, issues related to the contents of each section will be examined in turn. Background This section should be the shortest part of the abstract and should very briefly outline the following information: What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question What is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine or what the paper seeks to present In most cases, the background can be framed in just 2—3 sentences, with each sentence describing a different aspect of the information referred to above; sometimes, even a single sentence may suffice.
The purpose of the background, as the word itself indicates, is to provide the reader with a background to the study, and hence to smoothly lead into a description of the methods employed in the investigation. Some authors publish papers the abstracts of which contain a lengthy background section.
There are some situations, perhaps, where this may be justified. In most cases, however, a longer background section means that less space remains for the presentation of the results. This is unfortunate because the reader is interested in the paper because of its findings, and not because of its background.
A wide variety of acceptably composed backgrounds is provided in Table 2 ; most of these have been adapted from actual papers. Note that, in the interest of brevity, unnecessary content is avoided. Table 2 Open in a separate window Methods The methods section is usually the second-longest section in the abstract.
It should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. Table 3 lists important questions to which the methods section should provide brief answers.
Table 3 Open in a separate window Carelessly written methods sections lack information about important issues such as sample size, numbers of patients in different groups, doses of medications, and duration of the study. Readers have only to flip through the pages of a randomly selected journal to realize how common such carelessness is.
Table 4 presents examples of the contents of accept-ably written methods sections, modified from actual publications.
Table 4 Open in a separate window Results The results section is the most important part of the abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality.Writing an Abstract: Rules and Technique The abstract is brief note that must be clear and summarizing.
You may use different literature tricks, special procedures, and various writing techniques in the rest of your survey or argumentative essay. If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.
A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. The Structure of the Abstract. As mentioned above, the abstract (especially the informative abstract) acts as a surrogate or synopsis of your research paper, doing almost as much work as the thousands of words that follows it in the body.
Written by native experts: all abstract examples, research papers, and other academic assessments are written by graduate experts in their respective fields of knowledge. Completely confidential: any examples of an abstract and/or other papers you get from us remain your sole intellectual property.
We do not claim any rights to your work and keep a strict non-disclosure policy. Writing the abstract last will ensure that it is complete and consistent with the findings and statements in your paper.
Keep your content in order Both questions and answers should be organized in a standard and familiar way to make the content easier for readers to absorb. Mar 05, · Reread your essay before writing the abstract to refresh your memory. Pay close attention to the purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations mentioned in your paper.
Write a rough draft of your abstract without looking directly at your paper%(48).