Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part II: title and abstract

  • Cals J
  • Kotz D
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Abstract

  Informative titles are those that present the outcome of the study (e.g., Drug x is effective in reducing cholesterol), whereas some journals prefer a descriptive title stating the subject and design of the study (e.g., Drug x for treatment of hypercholesterolemia: a placebo-controlled randomized trial). Revise every time the main text is revised (title and abstract). * Construct title and abstract from keywords from all sections of the main text. * Use important keywords at the beginning of the title. * Avoid abbreviations and passive voice (title and abstract). * Always state the objective and start the results section with the answer to the research question (abstract). * Give sample size if you report percentages (abstract). * Present effect sizes with confidence intervals (abstract). * Check if the abstract covers the 4 Ws: * Background: What is known and why is this study needed? * Methods: What did you do? * Results: What did you find? * Discussion: What does it mean? * Check that the abstract can be read independently from the main text. * Revise every time the main text is revised (title and abstract).

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Cals, J. W. L., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part II: title and abstract. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 66(6), 585. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.01.005

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