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General Guidelines 

General Guidelines
Manuscript Preparation

Cheryl Iverson

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General Guidelines

A few specific guidelines to consider in preparing either type of abstract follow:

  • Consult the journal’s instructions for authors.

  • Follow the journal’s specific sideheadings when preparing a structured abstract.

  • Do not begin the abstract by repeating the title.

  • Do not cite references.

  • Provide absolute results for main outcome measures (eg, report incidence rates rather than reporting only relative risks). In addition, provide confidence intervals whenever possible (if not, provide P values) (see 20.1, Study Design and Statistics, The Manuscript: Presenting Study Design, Rationale, and Statistical Analysis).

  • Include major terms and describe databases and study groups (related to the subject under discussion) in the abstract, since the abstract can be text-searched in many retrieval systems.

  • Include the stated hypothesis, if applicable.

  • Ensure that all concepts and data in the abstract are included in the text.

  • Include the active moiety of a drug at first mention (see 15.4, Nomenclature, Drugs).

  • Avoid proprietary names or manufacturers' names unless they are essential to the study (see 15.5, Nomenclature, Equipment, Devices, and Reagents).

  • Spell out abbreviations at first mention.

  • If an isotope is mentioned, spell out the name of the element when first used and provide the isotope number on the line (see 15.9, Nomenclature, Isotopes).

  • Provide the dates of the study, or date ranges for studies and other data included in reviews.

  • Verify the numbers provided in the abstract against those provided in the text and tables to ensure internal consistency.

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