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Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 1013–1014 | Cite as

Analysis of the Variability of Abstract Structures in Medical Journals

  • Tarek Eid
  • Eric vanSonnenberg
  • Antoine Azar
  • Porus Mistry
  • Kareem Eid
  • Paul Kang
Concise Research Reports

INTRODUCTION

The abstract is typically the most widely read section of articles, and sometimes the only section that is read.1 It provides readers with an overview of the article without having to read the entire paper. Thus, abstracts should be presented in a manner that will most efficiently deliver the article’s major messages to the reader. This is especially relevant in the medical field, since physicians are required to keep up with the burgeoning literature as it pertains to their chosen specialty or subspecialty.2

In 1987, the Ad Hoc Working Group for Critical Appraisal of the Medical Literature proposed a seven-heading format for structured abstracts in clinical articles.3 Their proposal was further supported by several studies that suggested that structured abstracts were superior to unstructured abstracts, in terms of both quality and the ability to allow readers to select articles more quickly.4,5However, several subsequent studies questioned the superiority of structured...

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

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    Pitkin RM. The importance of the abstract. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1987;70:267PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University Health Sciences Centre. How to read clinical journals: Why to read them and how to start reading them critically. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1981;124:555–558Google Scholar
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    Ad Hoc Working Group for Critical Appraisal of the Medical Literature. A proposal for more informative abstracts of clinical articles. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1987;106:598–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Taddio A, Pain T, Fassos FF, et al. Quality of nonstructured and structured abstracts of original research articles in the British Medical Journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1994;l150:1611–1615Google Scholar
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    Hartley J, Sydes M, Blurton A. Obtaining information accurately and quickly: Are structured abstracts more efficient? Journal of Information Science. 1996;22:349–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Hartley J, Sydes M. Are structured abstracts easier to read than traditional ones? Journal of Research in Reading. 2002;20:122–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tarek Eid
    • 1
  • Eric vanSonnenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antoine Azar
    • 1
  • Porus Mistry
    • 1
  • Kareem Eid
    • 3
  • Paul Kang
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Arizona College of Medicine - PhoenixPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Miller School of Medicine at the University of MiamiMiamiUSA

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