The abstract of a research report summarizes the report, but it is not intended to be a substitute for reading the article. Instead, the main purpose of an abstract is to filter information. Librarians use abstracts to manage database search and retrieval; researchers use abstracts to make initial decisions about whether an article is relevant to their probe.
Abstracts are very brief, but also are accurate and informative. Like the spec sheet on a fresh lump of technology, the reader expects the abstract to provide enough information for intelligent decision-making. To this end, journals now permit (or even request) longer abstracts — however a few still adhere to the 120 words or less rule. Some journals specify the abstract go after a modified “IMRD” format, with subheadings similar to “objective” — “method” — “results” — “conclusion”.Some even go so far to have a 2nd abstract-like text that provides a genuine overview of article.
For our class, you’ll write the more-or-less standard paragraph abstract. There is no word limit, but the length of the abstract should indicate the length of the paper, so most of yours will brief. In addition the the abstract, you’ll also write 3-5 keywords that could be used to search for your paper. Journals often request author-supplied keywords in addition to providing database specific terms.
The abstract contains five basic parts :
* A statement describing the topic and the questions the research attempts to response
o present tense (past tense also when dealing with historical ideas)
* A brief description of the methods
* A brief statement of the major result/s
o present tense
* A precise indication of the conclusions of the report
* A brief list of 3-5 keywords that permit more accurate retrieval by readers
Abstracts come in two flavors. unstructured and structured. Both contain the same information in the same order, but the structured one adds subheadings to organize the reading practice. Parts included in the abstract are (in this order!): Topic, RQ, Method, Results, Contribution. Journals will mandate which form as well as maximum number of words. Journals focusing on clinically-relevant work often choose longer, more detailed abstracts — usually structured — with the explicit justification that busy health care professionals need to make informed decisions quickly and effectively, assigning the aim of decision-making contraption to abstracts. This makes the influence of the abstract greater than a mere filtering device and increases the ethical responsibility of the writer to provide sufficient and accurate information. (In particular, do not overstate results and interpretation.) Most psychology journals still favor the unstructured abstract, and that is what you will write for your research report.
Note. Key words are very first provided by the author, and subsequently, by the journal, publisher, or host database according to their categorizations (usually found in the publication information or left side bar in academic search engines). Some journals provide Two lists of key words with an article: author-provided and journal/database-generated.
It would be superb if all titles could be joy, but the fact is, few titles can be both joy and informative. Instead, the best titles solve the reader’s problem of determining whether to read the abstract/article by including the most significant information up front. What is the most significant information? For the most part, it is the OUTCOME of the research — that is, the most significant result. The most successful titles from the reader’s point of view make explicit assertions about the outcome — acceptable titles often signal only the topic and leave the reader wondering what happened and whether it is worth reading further.
The three titles below are ranked from least to most successful. The very first is merely topical — this was particularly disappointing given the very interesting outcome of the probe! The 2nd is better and makes a concise assertion (is a entire sentence) about the outcome, but doesn’t specify the type of ischemic injury (which a group of pro readers would have preferred). The advantage to concision here is that it makes the article more likely to come up in numerous searches, a useful strategy when a reader could be looking for “estrodiol”, “neuroprotective agents” or “ischemic injury”. The third has all the components a reader most wants — it asserts an outcome in a entire sentence and includes some specific information about type of injury. The advantage to a longer title is that more key words are available to the searcher, so this article is likely to come up in many different searches: CO, Nrf2 pathway, neuroprotection, focal cerebral ischemia, cerebral ischemia. The disadvantage to this strategy is the enlargened chance of the article coming up when the reader is not looking for that particular kind of information. Still, there is a good balance inbetween quantity and quality of information provided.
(1) Junior physician’s use of Web Two.0 for information seekingand medical education: A qualitative explore