Concept to Conclusion Series – 1
I recall a poignant quote by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o: “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” This sentiment is echoed in ISRO’s commendable achievement of soft-landing on the moon’s south pole. As Napoleon Hill wisely expressed, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Each of us is born with boundless potential, and it’s imperative to have unwavering faith and belief in it.
Writing a research article can be a daunting task, especially for early-career researchers. One of the most critical parts of a research article is the abstract. It is the first section that readers, reviewers, and potential collaborators encounter. Thus, it’s imperative to ensure that the abstract is well-written, succinct, and captures the essence of the research. A structured abstract, in particular, offers a well-organized summary of the research by breaking down the content into specific sub-sections.
So, how can you ensure that your structured abstract ticks all the right boxes? Here’s a quick checklist to guide you through the process:
1. Structured or Unstructured Format:
The first step is to consult the guidelines of your target journal. Does the journal demand a structured or unstructured abstract? Structured abstracts typically include specific subheadings such as Objectives, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Make sure to align your abstract according to these guidelines.
2. Word Count Adherence:
Abstracts often have strict word count limits. Always adhere to these limits to avoid unnecessary truncations or rejections. It’s a balancing act – being comprehensive while remaining concise.
3. Appropriate Subheadings:
For structured abstracts, ensure you’ve included the necessary subheadings. Typical subheadings might include Background, Purpose, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. However, these can vary depending on the nature of the study and journal guidelines.
4. Content Inclusion:
Have you encapsulated the essence of your research? Ensure that each subheading contains the necessary details. For instance, under ‘Methods,’ provide a brief on the study design, participants, and analytical tools.
5. SEO-Backed Keywords and MeSH Terms:
In today’s digital age, discoverability is key. Including SEO-backed keywords ensures that your research is easily found on search engines. If your manuscript is a medical one, consider including Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms, which are standard terms used in PubMed indexing.
6. Graphical Abstracts and Other Add-ons:
Some journals request additional components like a graphical abstract, summary, Twitter note, or highlights. A graphical abstract is a visual summary of the main findings, offering readers a quick visual take on the study. Ensure it’s clear, concise, and adheres to journal specifications.
7. Unique Textual Content:
An often-overlooked aspect is the uniqueness of the text in the abstract. Even though the abstract summarizes the manuscript, it’s crucial to avoid lifting entire sentences from the main text verbatim. Rewording helps ensure the abstract remains a standalone piece while encapsulating the main research’s essence.
In Conclusion, crafting a perfect abstract requires a blend of precision, clarity, and adherence to guidelines. This checklist provides a quick template to guide researchers in preparing an abstractthat not only meets journal requirements but also offers readers a clear, concise insight into the research’s core. Remember, the abstract is often the ‘make or break’ for a reader’s decision to delve deeper into your research, so give it the attention it deserves! Please find the PDF of the Abstract-checklist attached with this message.
I’m thrilled to announce our new blog and webinar series, “Concept to Conclusion.” This series is designed to nurture scientific engagement and aid colleagues in publishing their ground-breaking research. Every week, an expert with extensive publishing experience will elucidate the intricacies of the publishing process. To kick things off, we have a session titled “Choosing the Right Statistical Analysis for Your Research” presented by a renowned statistician with a PhD in Statistics. This session is scheduled for 27th August 2023, Sunday at 6:00 pm. We would be honoured if you could join us.
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Prof. Dr. Prahlada N.B
24 August 2023