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Introduction: Whilst many medical students become involved in research during their medical school careers, there is often little formal guidance on how to write this research up into a paper that is suitable for publication. Abstracts are often used for screening and selection of research by journals, conferences/meetings as well as the readers. Therefore, a good, clear abstract that accurately conveys research in an engaging manner is necessary to provide a competitive advantage for publication/poster presentation.
Methods: A non-systematic search of PubMed and Google was conducted to identify articles published prior to November 2018 that were relevant to writing an abstract.
Results: There are three main types of abstracts: informative, critical, and descriptive. Each is used under different circumstances to summarise different types of work. In this paper, provide worked examples of each of the different types of abstract and discuss the style and formatting of an abstract. Focus is also given to how to write concisely and develop an academic writing together, with additional tips on submitting an abstract to journals or conferences.
Discussion: This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the types of abstracts that medical students may need to write and how to write them. Whilst structure and content are of course important, the key to writing a good abstract is the ability to develop a concise, formal academic writing style, which takes practice. Specific journals and conferences may have their own rules on the style of abstract needed, and these should always be followed.
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