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Manuscript Preparation

Cheryl Iverson

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In this age of electronic data dissemination and retrieval, in which abstracts are typically indexed and freely available, a well-written abstract has become increasingly important in directing readers to articles of potential clinical and research interest. The abstract of a research report summarizes the main points of an article: (1) the study objective or background, (2) the study design and methods, (3) primary results, and (4) principal conclusions. For scientific studies and systematic reviews, narrative expressions, such as “X is described,” “Y is discussed,” “Z is also reviewed,” do not add meaning and should be avoided. Results should be presented in quantitative fashion, but authors and editors should be scrupulous in verifying the accuracy of all data and numbers reported and ensuring consistency with the results published in the full article.7

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