writing a good 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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This is a recorded Cochrane Australia webinar with Elaine Beller and Paul Glasziou from the Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice at the Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia.
Abstracts are a key window on your review – many readers will rely only on the abstract to summarise your findings, and a recent audit of published Cochrane abstracts found that many authors struggle to clearly communicate their key findings. This webinar describes various uses for abstracts of systematic reviews and points out some common errors in writing abstracts. It presents published and planned reporting standards for abstracts of systematic reviews. Finally, some examples of poor reporting practices in abstracts are discussed and recommendations for improvements provided.