April 1988

Writing an Abstract for a Scientific Meeting

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(4):422-424. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150040076021

The scientific abstract is an example of precise, informative writing. This essay incorporates the advice of experts and lessons from personal experience in writing and grading abstracts. The aim is to help you achieve the seemingly impossible task of squeezing your research report into the small box on the abstract form.

DECIDE ON THE MESSAGE  First, your work must be original, must not have been previously published as a manuscript, and must be submitted with the full knowledge and agreement of your coauthors. Do not submit identical or nearly identical abstracts to different sections of the same meeting, as that is a form of double publication. Do not write the abstract based on anticipated data. You may find yourself in the embarrassing position of presenting different data, or withdrawing the abstract.An abstract is not a full-length article. You can only make one or two specific points in each abstract.

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