The technique of preparing useful and usable abstracts is a valuable skill. An author submitting an article for publication must submit a condensed version of the article to the editor of the publishing periodical. The same is required of an individual who presents a paper (speech) at a scientific meeting. Practitioners are frequently requested by editors of local and national journals to abstract articles that have appeared in other journals. Students usually write abstracts in preparing research reports. Therefore, mastering standards and form for writing an abstract is a useful skill for the professional to possess.
According to Journal of Dental Hygiene Guidelines for Preparation of Abstracts “Abstracts published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene should be a summary of the article. They should contain enough detail to allow the reader to understand and use the information, yet provide incentive to secure and read the original article. Material taken verbatim from the original article must be placed in quotation marks.”
GENERAL RULES FOR ABSTRACTING
1. An abstract is a condensed version of an original article and is written in a concise narrative form. It is written from the same point of view and balance as the original article.
2. The length should be limited to between 1 and 3 double-spaced, typewritten pages.
3. Brevity is achieved by concise writing with no loss of accuracy. State the purpose of the study; the problem investigated; the methodology, equipment and material used; the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
4. It should contain NO criticism.(a personal file copy may include comparisons, relationships to another article, etc. and placed in comment section)
5. Review of the literature is omitted. Reference to extensive review or bibliography may be noted.
6. Personal copy – aids to remembering, note on types of charts, pictures, etc. may be included in “comment” section.
FORMAT FOR ABSTRACTING (APA)
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition (~$11.95)
Annotated Bibliography (heading + 1 paragraph)
Author(s) Name(s). Year of Publication. Title of Article. Journal Name, Volume (No), page numbers.
Provide a brief summary (1 paragraph) of the author’s credentials and the purpose/main idea of the article then proceed with the following:
Method: (equipment, materials, number, type of subjects, etc.)