Abstract Tips & Formatting

Abstract Structure

A structured abstract is required and should be organized into the sections as listed in the links below.

Research Abstract Organization

Innovation Abstract Organization

Character Count
Abstract submissions should not exceed 2,000 characters (including spaces)


  • Keep it short (no more than 15 words). The title should summarize the abstract and contain major key words.
  • Do not include any abbreviations, acronyms or initials. Spell out every word (Exception: vs instead of Versus)
  • Capitalize and single space the first word after a colon or a dash. (Exception: a hyphenated compound that is considered to be a single word, i.e. it can be found as a single entry in Webster's, the second word after the hyphen should not be capitalized)
  • Use title case:
    • Capitalize prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters (e.g. from, than, etc)
    • Capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs (including those of fewer than four letters) adjectives and adverbs.
    • Capitalize the first and last word of the title.
    • Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinator conjunctions or words of fewer than four letters unless they are the first or last word.

      When in doubt, follow this rule: Capitalize all major words in titles except a, an, the, at, by, for, in, of, on, to , up, and, as, but, or, and nor.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enter the primary affiliation of each author.
  • Spell out the fill name of the primary institution for each author.
  • Do not use abbreviations such as "Univ" for "University" or "Med Ctr" for "Medical Center"

Within the body of the abstract

  • Do not include illustrations, images or graphs.
  • Do not insert hard returns or code for justification, hyphenation, line height, line centering, margins, spacing, fonts, page centering, page numbering, suppression, or tabs, underlining, boldface type, italics, subscripts, superscripts, or to insert headings, spaces between paragraphs, references, or footnotes.
  • Do not use bulleted lists.
  • Do not use abbreviations on first mention; spell out the name in full and follow with the abbreviations in parenthesis. Abbreviations may be used in subsequent mentions.

Please Note: Your abstract will not be edited, you are responsible for any spelling, grammatical and typographical errors.

Abstract Tips

Tips to save on word count, and to get your abstract reach for publication in WestJem.


  • Make sure your name, degrees, and affiliations are quoted consistently on every abstract that lists you as an author. Double check.
  • If one research project is split into two or more abstracts, they may be rejected for "data splitting."
  • Have a colleague critique and proofread the abstract each time you revise it, especially if you do not usually write in English.
  • You do not have to mention IRB or animal committee approval in your abstract, because you will attest to that during submission.
  • Do not include bibliographic references in your submitted abstract. (You may do so in your poster or presentation.) 

Statistics and Analytical Software

  • Use this format for confidence intervals: (95%CI 2.0-2.7) Use "to" if there is a negative number, as in (95%CI -2.0 to 2.7).
  • You do not have to say what statistical software you used. Save that for the manuscript.
  • Mention your statistical alpha only if it is something other than 0.05.

Grammar and Style

  • The following standard abbreviations will be shown for all abstracts, so you can use them without defining them: 95%CI, AAAEM, AAEM, ACEP, AEUS, AGEM, AWAEM, ACGME, ADIEM, AIDS, ASA, AUC, BP, bpm, CBC, CDEM, CORD, CPR, CT, CXR, dBP, ECG, ED, EM, EMS, FDA, GEMA, HIV, INR, IQR, IV, mmHg, MRI, NIH, PGY, ROC, SAEM, sBP, SIM, SD (when used as standard deviation after a mean). tPA, U/S.
  • Do not use other new or uncommon abbreviations unless it is avoidable.
  • Do not define abbreviations/acronyms in the title.
  • Never use abbreviation in place of a single English word. (i.e. "pts" in place of "patients")
  • Only capitalize the first word of each sentence, acronyms and proper names. It is not necessary to capitalize "emergency medicine".
  • In sentences, do not use symbols instead of words (i.e. "&" instead of "and"). Using symbols in the usual way (50% or $50) is ok.
  • There should be a space between a number and its units. i.e. 80 mmhg
  • Use a leading zero for all decimal figures: i.e. 0.5.
  • Do not use underlined < and > and + symbols. Instead use the “Insert / Symbol” function to show the real ≤ and ≥ and ± symbols. 

    Use the “Insert / Symbol” function for the ° (degree) symbol, rather than a superscript o.

More guidance and information can be found at http://www.equator-network.org/