A scientific abstract conveys the summary of a scientific paper to the audience without reading the entire paper. An abstract is as an important piece of writing that boosts the visibility of a study. They serve as a filter for the researchers to find the appropriate study in lesser time. Let us investigate a few points that might help in writing a winning abstract,
Rule 1: Structure it well:
A structured approach is necessary for writing a well organised abstract. The general template used for an abstract writing includes:
- Background or Introduction – Provide the purpose of your study and the research questions/challenges that you tried to address in your study.
- Methods – A brief about the research methods used to conduct your study.
- Results or Findings– Describe your major findings or discoveries in the study.
- Conclusion – Include how did your study contribute to the field. It is the take-home message of your project and its impact.
*Certain papers provide their personalised templates.
Avoid: Avoid copy-pasting the content from the main paper craft a standalone abstract.
Rule 2: Follow the guidelines
Word count, font size, spacing, units and abbreviations, do not miss any of them. These are the things that judge your attention to detail. The following are a few general guidelines:
- Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph.
- The abstract should be in a block format (no paragraph indentations).
- Centre the word “Abstract” at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract.
- Mostly, the abstract page immediately follows the title page.
Avoid: Avoid including references unless the guidelines demand. This allows to maintain the word limit and makes your abstract simpler.
Rule 3: Title that grabs the attention
Remember the reader reads the title first and follows the study. So, your title must be eye-catching, simple, clear, and informative. It should reflect all the important points covered in the study.Remember the title with active verbs grabs the reader’s attention.
Avoid: Avoid having a lengthy title. A good title contains less than 15 words.
Rule 4: Apply No more No less concept
Ensure that the abstract narrates all the parts of your paper. Provide a brief about why and how the study is conducted, study findings and why is the study important and remember not to overstate any of them. For example, an abstract usually does not include citations.
Avoid : Avoid using lengthy background, redundant phrases, unwanted adverbs/adjectives, repetitive information, and acronyms in your abstract.
Rule 5: Keyword usage
Include keywords, which people are likely to use when searching for papers on your topic. This supports the search engines to rank your document and make it easier for others to find. Keywords that are relevant to the topic should be added in a separate line after your abstract.
Avoid: Avoid using too small or long keywords. For example, if your study is about gestational diabetes, usage of keywords like “diabetes”, “blood glucose” are too broad, and your paper may not be visible on top in the ocean of papers on diabetes.
To write an abstract that summaries the entire study in one self-contained paragraph is a skill. To develop the skills of writing an abstract require practice. If you are willing to learn how to write a scientific abstract, I-CME – Online Training in Medical Writing and Healthcare Communications, invites you for a challenge.
“Pick up any scientific paper available online and write an abstract on your own. Do not copy/look into the abstracts that are already written. Submit it to us and our expert scientific writers will review and provide the feedback. Equip your skills necessary to write a concise and informative abstract.”