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How To Write A Quality Abstract For Publication or Presentation

The purpose of an abstract is to succinctly and accurately summarize a publication so that readers can easily evaluate the usefulness of the paper. Normally one to two paragraphs in length, an abstract should include the purpose, methods, findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the research while following the chronology of the paper. Because the interpretation of research has important implications, one must avoid generalizations and focus on data when writing abstracts.

What is an example of a low quality abstract that is without data?

Example of a low quality abstract: HIV prevalence is high among women in Country A, but there is little research about HIV/AIDS perceptions in the region, and there are few educational programs about HIV. This study involved in-depth interviews with 50 women in each of three villages in Country A, followed by an educational intervention. To be eligible, the women had to be married and at least eighteen years old. Prior to the educational intervention, the women reported awareness about HIV, and most correctly identified that HIV is sexually transmitted. The analysis demonstrated statistically significant improvements in knowledge about preventing HIV after the educational intervention. These results suggest that educating women is an effective way of increasing awareness about and reducing the prevalence of HIV.

Why is this abstract considered low quality?

How should the abstract be revised?

According to the World Health Organization, HIV prevalence is ___% among women in Country A. This study involved in-depth interviews with 50 women in each of three villages in Country A who were married, at least eighteen years old, and enrolled in self-help groups. Each woman participated in an in-depth interview to assess understandings and perceptions about HIV. ____% of the women reported knowing at least one person in the community with HIV, and ____% stated that a member of the household has been diagnosed with HIV. ____% self-reported an HIV diagnosis, though HIV tests were not administered to confirm this value. ___% correctly identified that HIV is sexually transmitted. Within one week after the interview, the 50 women in each village gathered for a 2-hour lecture educational intervention that was implemented by local community health workers who are employed by a local primary care clinic. After the educational intervention, ____% correctly identified that HIV is sexually transmitted, and ____% demonstrated an understanding that condoms can help prevent HIV. ___% reported that they understood how to utilize a condom. The data demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in knowledge about HIV, though this study did not assess the application of this knowledge by the women participants. These results suggest that lecture-oriented educational programs implemented by community health workers may raise awareness about HIV prevention.

Why is this abstract considered high quality?

Every sentence in this abstract is supported by data.