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How to write a good abstract for a scientific paper or conference presentation

INTRODUCTION

❶This outline will be similar to a template for your paper.

1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook




Table 3 lists important questions to which the methods section should provide brief answers. Questions regarding which information should ideally be available in the methods section of an abstract. 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. The results section is the most important part of the abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality. This is because readers who peruse an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore be the longest part of the abstract and should contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.

Important information that the results should present is indicated in Table 5. Examples of acceptably written abstracts are presented in Table 6 ; one of these has been modified from an actual publication. This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcome measure; however, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned.

It is also customary, but not essential, for the authors to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:. Despite its necessary brevity, this section has the most impact on the average reader because readers generally trust authors and take their assertions at face value.

For this reason, the conclusions should also be scrupulously honest; and authors should not claim more than their data demonstrate. Hypothetical examples of the conclusions section of an abstract are presented in Table 7.

Citation of references anywhere within an abstract is almost invariably inappropriate. Other examples of unnecessary content in an abstract are listed in Table 8. It goes without saying that whatever is present in the abstract must also be present in the text. Likewise, whatever errors should not be made in the text should not appear in the abstract eg, mistaking association for causality.

As already mentioned, the abstract is the only part of the paper that the vast majority of readers see. Therefore, it is critically important for authors to ensure that their enthusiasm or bias does not deceive the reader; unjustified speculations could be even more harmful. Misleading readers could harm the cause of science and have an adverse impact on patient care. However, nowhere in the abstract did the authors mention that these conclusions were based on just 5 cases and 12 controls out of the total sample of cases and controls.

As a parting note: Most journals provide clear instructions to authors on the formatting and contents of different parts of the manuscript. These instructions often include details on what the sections of an abstract should contain. Authors should tailor their abstracts to the specific requirements of the journal to which they plan to submit their manuscript. It could also be an excellent idea to model the abstract of the paper, sentence for sentence, on the abstract of an important paper on a similar subject and with similar methodology, published in the same journal for which the manuscript is slated.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Indian J Psychiatry v. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3. 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. Abstract, preparing a manuscript, writing skills. Table 1 General qualities of a good abstract. Many of them are also animated. Have you Selected the Right Research Question? PowerPoint PPT presentation free to view. Write a Review - It's less demanding than at any other time to compose an audit and get it distributed these days.

For whatever length of time that you watch couple of basic guidelines to compose a survey you can persuade a media associations, sites, and editors to distribute your audits which might be newsworthy.

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However, the most dreadful part of the scientific paper writing is the fear of rejection. Try to suggest feasible explanations and solutions. This should be a general statement reiterating your answer to the research question and adding its scientific implications, practical application, or advice.

Just as in all other sections of your paper, the clear and precise language and concise comprehensive sentences are vital. However, in addition to that, your writing should convey confidence and authority. The easiest way to illustrate your tone is to use the active voice and the first person pronouns. Accompanied by clarity and succinctness, these tools are the best to convince your readers of your point and your ideas.

Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Moreover, you should feel more confident that you are able to accomplish your project and submit your paper within a reasonable timeframe. You also have worked out your writing schedule and followed it precisely. Just as the best and most precious diamond is no more than an unattractive stone recognized only by trained professionals, your ideas and your results may go unnoticed if they are not polished and brushed.

Despite your attempts to present your ideas in a logical and comprehensive way, first drafts are frequently a mess. Use the advice of Paul Silvia: The degree of your success will depend on how you are able to revise and edit your paper. The revision can be done at the macrostructure and the microstructure levels [ 13 ].

The macrostructure revision includes the revision of the organization, content, and flow. The microstructure level includes individual words, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The best way to approach the macrostructure revision is through the outline of the ideas in your paper. The last time you updated your outline was before writing the Introduction and the Discussion. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction.

You will be able to see if something is missing in any of the sections or if you need to rearrange your information to make your point. The next step is to revise each of the sections starting from the beginning.

Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time [ 14 ]. After these short sections, your eyes get used to your writing and your efficiency in spotting problems decreases.

When reading for content and organization, you should control your urge to edit your paper for sentence structure and grammar and focus only on the flow of your ideas and logic of your presentation. Experienced researchers tend to make almost three times the number of changes to meaning than novice writers [ 15 , 16 ]. Revising is a difficult but useful skill, which academic writers obtain with years of practice.

In contrast to the macrostructure revision, which is a linear process and is done usually through a detailed outline and by sections, microstructure revision is a non-linear process. While the goal of the macrostructure revision is to analyze your ideas and their logic, the goal of the microstructure editing is to scrutinize the form of your ideas: You do not need and are not recommended to follow the order of the paper to perform this type of revision.

You can start from the end or from different sections. You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word. One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ].

You may read aloud to yourself, to a tape recorder, or to a colleague or friend. When reading and listening to your paper, you are more likely to notice the places where the fluency is disrupted and where you stumble because of a very long and unclear sentence or a wrong connector. Another revision strategy is to learn your common errors and to do a targeted search for them [ 13 ].

All writers have a set of problems that are specific to them, i. Create a list of these idiosyncrasies and run a search for these problems using your word processor. The same targeted search can be done to eliminate wordiness. The final strategy is working with a hard copy and a pencil. Print a double space copy with font size 14 and re-read your paper in several steps. Try reading your paper line by line with the rest of the text covered with a piece of paper. When you are forced to see only a small portion of your writing, you are less likely to get distracted and are more likely to notice problems.

You will end up spotting more unnecessary words, wrongly worded phrases, or unparallel constructions. After you apply all these strategies, you are ready to share your writing with your friends, colleagues, and a writing advisor in the writing center. Get as much feedback as you can, especially from non-specialists in your field. You may decide what you want to change and how after you receive the feedback and sort it in your head. Even though some researchers make the revision an endless process and can hardly stop after a 14th draft; having from five to seven drafts of your paper is a norm in the sciences.

It is late at night again. You are still in your lab finishing revisions and getting ready to submit your paper.

You will submit your paper tomorrow, and regardless of the outcome, you know that you can do it. If one journal does not take your paper, you will take advantage of the feedback and resubmit again. You will have a publication, and this is the most important achievement. What is even more important is that you have your scheduled writing time that you are going to keep for your future publications, for reading and taking notes, for writing grants, and for reviewing papers.

You are not going to lose stamina this time, and you will become a productive scientist. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Yale J Biol Med. To whom all correspondence should be addressed: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License, which permits for noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any digital medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not altered in any way.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. Schedule your writing time in Outlook Whether you have written papers or you are struggling with your first, starting the process is the most difficult part unless you have a rigid writing schedule.

Create regular time blocks for writing as appointments in your calendar and keep these appointments. Start with an outline Now that you have scheduled time, you need to decide how to start writing.

Table 1 Outline — Level 1. What is the topic of my paper? Why is this topic important? How could I formulate my hypothesis? What are my results include visuals? What is my major finding? Open in a separate window. Table 2 Outline — Level 2. Why is your research important? What is known about the topic? What are your hypotheses? What are your objectives? Materials and Methods 1.

What materials did you use? Who were the subjects of your study? What was the design of your research? What procedure did you follow? What are your most significant results? What are your supporting results? Discussion and Conclusions 1. What are the studies major findings? Create a detailed outline and discuss it with your mentor and peers. Continue with drafts After you get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to, the process of real writing begins.

Starting with Materials and Methods If you still struggle with starting a paper, then write the Materials and Methods section first. So do not run into the same problems as the writers of the sentences in 1: Bacteria were pelleted by centrifugation. To isolate T cells, lymph nodes were collected.

The sentences can be improved when information is added, as in 2a and 2b , respectfully: Stem cells were isolated, according to Johnson [23]. Be meticulous and accurate in describing the Materials and Methods. Do not change the point of view within one paragraph. Writing Results Section For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section.

Table 3 clearly shows that … 7b. It is obvious from figure 4 that … Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i. We tested the hypothesis that there is a disruption of membrane asymmetry. In this paper we provide an argument that stem cells repopulate injured organs. We tested the hypothesis that the membrane asymmetry is disrupted. In this paper we argue that stem cells repopulate injured organs. Be clear, concise, and objective in describing your Results.

Table 3 Moves in Research Paper Introductions.


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HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE RESEARCH PAPER • Getting ready with data • First draft • Structure of a scientific paper • Selecting a journal • Submission • Revision and galley proof Disclaimer: The suggestions and remarks in this presentation are based on personal research experience. Research practices and approaches vary.

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Research papers are all about organizing your ideas in a linear, understandable format. A research paper is a report summarizing the answers to the research questions you generated from the sources you gathered information from. Then presenting the work in research paper format. Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Step 2: Find Finding as much information as possible is the key to writing a research paper So start looking! Newspaper articles Journals Internet Books 6. Step 3: Read and Take Notes Read the information before and while you write your paper.

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II THE PUBLICATION PROCESS “The foremost mission of the American Journal of Public Health is to promote public health research, policy, practice, and education. Presentation Sources. Task of writing a research paper can be daunting. Structure of a Paper. Scientific writing follows a rigid structure –.