how to write a good scientific abstract
Due to lack of training in scientific writing and sometimes unethical practices, abstracts are often poorly written, lack critical information, and sometimes contain spin. An effective abstract provides brief but adequate information on the purpose, procedure, results and implications of a study. This paper discusses the key components of a good abstract, offers recommendations on reducing spin in abstracts, and analyzes three abstracts written by the author with the goal of helping young researchers write honest and effective abstracts.
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- Introduction: rationale, main objectives, and aims of study
- Methods: very brief statement of general methods used
- Results: summary of main results, patterns, or trends
- Discussion: main conclusions
The abstract is the part of the paper scientists often read when deciding whether they are interested in looking at the rest of the paper. Thus, the information in the abstract should help people decide whether your research sheds any useful light on what they are studying. The abstract summarizes your experiment and consists of 1 or 2 sentences for each of the major sections of the report as follows: