Writing an Eff ective Abstract

An abstract is a very concise overview of a study, usually appended to the beginning of the full report. Although the abstract characteristically appears at the beginning of the paper, it is often (and probably ought to be) the last thing that we write. Like the title, the composition of the abstract should be undertaken thoughtfully with the view of winning over editors, reviewers and readers.

There are two broad divisions of abstract: narrative and structured. In the past, abstracts often took the form of a narrative: a continuous series of sentences which described the study from start to fi nish. While a narrative is perhaps easier to read, a lack of formal structure may mean that certain important information is excluded. Hence, there is now a strong trend towards structured abstracts: abstracts with subdivisions each accorded certain content.


Congenital Heart Disease Connective Tissue Disease Structure Abstract Full Report Walk Time 


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© Springer 2009

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