1 Abstract Development: How to write an abstract Fall 2017 Sara E. Dolan Looby, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Neuroendocrine Unit/Program in Nutritional Metabolism Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research *Slides developed with Carolyn Paul formally of the MGH Treadwell Library
2 Oh No! I need to write an abstract! How do I start?
3 Why is it hard to write an abstract? Fear / anxiety about the writing process others reading what you wrote Takes time / feel overwhelmed Commits you to analyzing your project and doing a poster Not sure what to include
4 remember you had an idea you did a project you thought important you need to share it to benefit others & yourself! There is support: this class, mentors, CNS, Munn Center
5 Today s goals: Describe what a structured abstract is and relevant headings Review content for each part of the abstract Understand guidelines for writing an abstract Practice by critiquing some abstracts You will be more prepared to write an abstract!
6 Abstract: a short, informative summary of your completed research / project Each journal/group has its own requirements. Structured abstract: started in the 1980 s uses specific headings for each section Abstract formats continue to evolve: video abstracts
7 Structured Abstract examples: paragraph at the beginning of the journal article
8 Summary on online search engines
9 Present in Abstract Books Title: A Study Examining Why Students Choose Nursing Purpose of the study: To explore why students chose nursing. Background/Significance: Numerous studies have been carried out examining why people choose nursing for their careers. Generally four significant themes emerge from previous studies: 1) a past experience with a loved one or self being ill and/or hospitalized, 2) past work experience in the health care industry, 3) family member or friend that is a nurse, and 4) financial gain/job security. Method/Design: A convenience sample of 129 generic Baccalaureate Nursing Students and Direct Entry Students were surveyed using a quantitative questionnaire that examined demographic data, reasons for entering the nursing profession, and previously held perceptions of nursing. Respondents included second career students and men. Using a Likert scale, students rated their top 3 choices based on a total of 12 themes described in the literature for choosing nursing. Also, openended questions asked students to describe the reasons behind their choice and their personal satisfaction with nursing as a career choice. Findings: The primary reason of the student respondents (n =69) who chose nursing was the desire to help others at 53.5%. The second most common reason for choosing nursing is that it was an alternative choice to medicine at 20.4% of generic students and 23.8% of direct entry students that were queried. Implications for Nursing Practice, Research, Policy, and/or Education: Knowing student s perceptions of the profession will guide nurse educators in developing a student focused curriculum that will increase the numbers of nursing students and future registered nurses. This allows students to adjust to the ever-increasing demands of today s healthcare system. Additionally, our study results would be beneficial in the recruitment and retention of nurses through improved selection of nursing student candidates based on their perceptions of nursing.
10 What s the Reader looking for? Does it look interesting? Do I have time to read it? Can I understand what was done? Can I do this in my unit? All incentives for writing a great abstract!
11 Abstract categories: Which to use? Original Research Evidence-Based Practice Quality Improvement
12 Abstract Categories: Based on purpose and method: Original Research: to generate new knowledge within the broader scientific community generalizable beyond the study sample. Evidenced-Based Practice: to evaluate evidence along a continuum to identify the strongest or best evidence to guide nursing practice within an organizational setting and with a specific patient population Quality Improvement: to improve internal processes and practices within a specific patient group or organization.
13 Standard headings help to: Cover key points in research process Organize information in a consistent format Make it easier to read/scan/skip to decide if the reader wants to read on
14 Structured Abstract Headings Original Research and Evidence-Based Practice Quality Improvement Background / Significance Purpose of Study Methods Results Conclusions Implications for Nursing Practice and/or Future Research Background / Significance Objectives Implementation Performance Improvement Outcome Implications for Nursing Practice and/or Future Research
15 Important Abstract headings are not one size fits all and may vary by meeting/organization/journal. Always make sure to review the abstract headings required by the conference or meeting you are submitting your abstract too. Always make sure the content of your abstract reflects what is requested in the structured abstract heading.
16 Parts of the Abstract: What goes where?
17 Today: Describe what is included Identify questions to ask Review examples At the end, discuss ways to say it better
18 Abstract Title is Key Describes your research Topic Type of study Population or Study subjects Results Sometimes writing it afterwards is best Does it attract attention and encourage reader to read more? When listed in the table of contents or when walking by at a poster session? Does it reflect the content? Is it too broad i.e. Diabetes Treatment
19 Title Example - Informative Topic Setting Fall Prevention in Hospitals: Impact of Fall TIPS Toolkit on Documentation Quality Tool Outcome measure
20 Background / Significance 2-4 sentences Describes key issues/problems Briefly reviews what has been written Library will help you do this search Why is it an important / interesting issue? What gap in knowledge are you filling? What are you doing that is different?
21 Background/Significance Example Problem Need for info Sleep disturbance has been correlated with a decrease in the immune function, changes in mental status, and increased stress levels. Negative effects on the immune system, functional status and stress levels may aggravate the healing process for adults requiring acute care in a hospital setting. Further research is required to understand better how environmental modifications and nursing interventions may effectively support sleep for patients in acute care settings. Why it s important Setting
22 Purpose of Study / Objectives 1-2 sentences Research question or hypothesis Brief statement of goal(s) What did you hope to find/solve? Why did you start?
23 Purpose / Objectives Example Purpose Statement Intervention The purpose of this pilot study is to determine if clinical research subjects who receive additional education regarding potential side effects of medication will be more likely to report these side effects. Impact
24 Methods / Implementation 2-4 sentences Describes design of the study Design, RCT, focus group, case study, questionnaire Population, subject, sample, setting Interventions, procedures, or protocols Statistics used What important variables did you control, ignore, or measure? How did you do it? RECIPE!
25 Methods / Implementation Example Method of collection Selection criteria This qualitative study used open-ended questions related to sleep and sleep disturbance. A convenience sample of patients who had spent three consecutive nights on a general medical unit, a surgical unit or a cardiac access unit were interviewed. Structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Members of the research team analyzed the transcripts using content analysis to identify critical themes. These findings were shared with unit-based nursing staff for content validity. Data analysis
26 Results / Outcome 2-5 sentences Main focus of your abstract Relate back to the purpose of the study Findings: Qualitative/quantitative data and analysis Statistics 10% of the Nurses were satisfied How many is 10%? Include the study n What did you find? What is the significance of results?
27 Results Example Impact of interventions Following initiation of keratin gel dressings during post-op week three, wound surface area (WSA) decreased 23-25% during each of the next four weeks of treatment. When the solid keratin dressing was added to the regimen, the weekly decrease in WSA accelerated from 35% to 56% with final closure in two weeks or a total of nine weeks after starting keratin therapy. A scheduled skin graft with donor site was averted, saving substantial cost for surgery and hospitalization. Patient satisfaction was exceptionally high. Meaning of results
28 Conclusions 1-2 sentences Summary statement of research Interpret findings Emphasizes significance of the study What did your project show? What do you want readers to remember?
29 Conclusions Example The use of a fall prevention tool kit in hospital units compared with usual care significantly reduced the rate of falls. Simple final statement
30 Implications for nursing practice and/or future research 1-2 sentences Impacts nursing, research, policy Patient outcome, efficiency, morale, etc. How will the results be used in practice? Are the results general or specific to a particular case?
31 Implications for nursing practice and/or future research Example Patient Implications for nursing practice include reductions in patient wait time, enhancement of patient flow through the MGH system, improved patient safety, and empowerment of the nurse. System Staff
32 What are helpful guidelines for abstract writing?
33 Starting early helps you find missing information and gives you time to find the answer
34 Writing Guidelines Use section headings to organize ideas Pick your words detailed yet concise (300 word limit) enthusiastic, powerful, strong words Gear your abstract to your audience scholarly yet easily understood Re-read and revise grammar & spelling count!
35 Grammar Do s and Don ts Yes Use active voice Use third person Be specific Be clear Smooth flow of sentences Do not use x Passive voice x We or I x Acronyms or abbreviations -- unless well-known or explained Full sentences not always required
36 Length Guidelines Title Background / Significance Purpose of Study / Objectives Methods / Implementation Results / Outcome Conclusions Implications for nursing practice and/or future research title / subtitle 2-4 sentences 1-2 sentences 2-4 sentences 2-5 sentences 1-2 sentences 1-2 sentences Total: 300 words
37 Abstract Summary Tips Reduce / Refine Remove redundancy and unnecessary detail Use meaningful, powerful, dynamic words Stay within the 300 word limit Review Emphasize major ideas and key messages Use the section headings Re-read Leave enough time to proofread Get all authors to read and edit Re-write - clear, concise, easy to understand
38 Team Effort! All contributing authors should contribute, read/edit the abstract.
39 Abstract vs. Poster Similarities Basic message is same Structured headings Differences Abstract = compact Poster = visual & more detailed includes charts, graphs, pictures, references
40 Abstract = Poster Make sure your abstract content is in concert with your poster content: Language Results Conclusions
41 Any questions before we go on to the practice exercise?
42 Practice exercise Learn to write by evaluating existing abstracts in journals, online, abstract books from meetings Critique and revision is ok - expected even the experts do it professional development Disclaimer: Suggested edits are subjective and fictitious
43 Title: Changing 1 word gives more info / power Fall Prevention in Hospitals: Impact of Fall TIPS Toolkit on Documentation Quality Fall Prevention in Hospitals: Fall TIPS Toolkit Improves Documentation Quality
44 Background: Drop unneeded / repetitive words & Use simpler words 68 words Sleep disturbance has been correlated with a decrease in the immune function, changes in mental status, and increased stress levels. Negative effects on the immune system, functional status and stress levels may aggravate the healing process for adults requiring acute care in a hospital setting. Further research is required to understand better how environmental modifications and nursing interventions may effectively support sleep for patients in acute care settings. 51 words Sleep disturbance has been correlated with a decrease in immune function, changes in mental status, and increased stress levels. These effects may aggravate the healing process for adults in acute care hospital settings. Further research is required to understand better how environmental changes and nursing interventions support sleep for these patients. 17 words saved to use in other ways + easier to read
45 Purpose: Simpler phrase / word Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study is to test the hypothesis that clinical research subjects who receive additional education regarding potential side effects of medication will be more likely to report these side effects. Purpose: This pilot study tested the hypothesis that clinical research subjects who receive additional education on potential side effects of medication will be more likely to report these side effects. 5 words less stronger, easier to read, not always major edit
46 Methods: Add more detail by deleting 12 words & adding words This qualitative study used open-ended questions related to sleep and sleep disturbance. A convenience sample of patients who had spent three consecutive nights on a general medical unit, a surgical unit or a cardiac access unit were interviewed. Structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Members of the research team analyzed the transcripts using content analysis to identify critical themes. These findings were shared with unit-based, nursing staff for content validity. 70 words This qualitative study used 9 open-ended questions related to sleep and sleep disturbance. A convenience sample of 55 adult patients (29 male, 26 female) who had spent three consecutive nights on a general medical, surgical, or cardiac access unit were interviewed over 3 month time period. Structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Using content analysis, the research team identified critical themes that were shared with nursing staff for content validity.
47 Results: Percentages & Statistics Following initiation of keratin gel dressings during post-op week three, wound surface area (WSA) decreased 23-25% during each of the next four weeks of treatment. When the solid keratin dressing was added to the regimen, the weekly decrease in WSA accelerated from 35% to 56% with final closure in two weeks or a total of nine weeks after starting keratin therapy. A scheduled skin graft with donor site was averted, saving substantial cost for surgery and hospitalization. Patient satisfaction was exceptionally high. Would be nice to add statistical significance of percentage changes Also nice to compare LOS without keratin therapy but this may require different kind of study or collection of data that is hard to get.
48 More Reading Bingham, R., & O'Neal, D. (2013). Developing Great Abstracts and Posters. Nursing For Women's Health, 17(2), doi: / x Discusses both abstract and poster. cm&an= &site=ehost-live&scope=site Bliss, D. (2012). Writing a successful research abstract. Journal Of Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing, 39(3), cm&an= &site=ehost-live&scope=site Russell, C. L., & Ponferrada, L. (2012). How to Develop an Outstanding Conference Research Abstract. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 39(4), , AN= &site=ehost-live&scope=site Writing competitive scientific and clinical abstracts: tips for success. (2013). Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 23(1), AN= &site=ehost-live&scope=site
49 Munn Center Website Overview of Nursing Research Day Information for Authors Abstract requirements Categories IRB approval Abstract Development How to submit your abstract
Oh No! I need to write an abstract! How do I start? Why is it hard to write an abstract? Fear / anxiety about the writing process others reading what you wrote Takes time / feel overwhelmed Commits you
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