April 10, 2013
New Guidelines For Writing Abstracts Will Help Authors Summarize Their Research
New guidelines for writing abstracts will help authors summarize their research
A new extension to the PRISMA guideline on reporting systemic reviews and meta-analyses (types of studies that analyze information from many studies) will help authors to give a more robust summary (abstract) of their study and is detailed by an international group of researchers in this week's PLOS Medicine.
New guidelines are necessary as despite published guidance on writing the abstract in previous guidelines (the PRISMA Statement); evaluations show that reporting of systematic reviews in journal and conference abstracts is poor.
An international group of researchers (the PRISMA for Abstracts Group) developed the new consensus-based reporting guidelines to give authors a checklist and framework for summarizing their systematic review into the essentials for an abstract that will meet the needs of many readers.
The authors say: "Abstracts should not replace full articles in informing decision making, but for time-pressed readers and those with limited access to full text reports, the abstract must stand alone in presenting a clear and truthful account of the research."
They continue: "The PRISMA for Abstracts checklist will guide authors in presenting an abstract that facilitates a quick assessment of review validity, an explicit summary of results, facilitates pre-publication or conference selection peer review, and enables efficient perusal of electronic search results."
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