Research Guidelines

Research Abstract Structure

Structured abstracts facilitate explicit presentation of critical information and objective assessment of scientific validity. There are five required topic headings: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusions.

Background: A brief introduction summarizing past work or relevant controversies that place the study in perspective.

Objectives: A precise statement of the study’s purpose, including a pre-study hypothesis.

Methods: Sub-headings will be determined by the nature of the study. It is not necessary to identify each of the following sub-headings separately and it may be possible to incorporate several features of the study methodology into a single sentence. DESIGN – clearly state the study design identifying it as observational or experimental. For observational studies, specify the temporal profile of the study as prospective, retrospective or cross-sectional. Other descriptive terms such as cohort, case-control or survey should be used as appropriate. Blinding should be described where relevant. SETTING – for clinical investigations, describe the study site (e.g. community hospital ED, university tertiary referral center, urban Level I trauma center, etc.). PARTICIPANTS/SUBJECTS – Indicate the study population, study dates, inclusion/exclusion criteria and method of sampling (conservative, convenience, random). If matching was employed, specify the criteria by which subjects were matched. If controls were utilized identify them as concurrent or historical. INTERVENTIONS/OBSERVATIONS – for experimental studies, clearly describe interventions. The data analysis section should include the type(s) of descriptive or inferential statistical methods used. The observations should be a list of major data elements or outcome measures relevant to the study objective. Negative studies should be accompanied by a statement of power, beta error, or confidence intervals.

Results: Specify measurements critical to the study objective or hypothesis. Specify associations or differences between or among groups under comparison using p values or, preferably, confidence intervals. Note total number of subjects or participants, number meeting inclusion criteria who were excluded, and number enrolled who were lost to follow-up.

Conclusions: Conclusions should be succinctly stated and firmly supported by the data presented. Note important limitations.

Figures/Tables: Two (2) figures/tables are permitted per abstract. Abstract text character count is not reduced for the inclusion of these figures/tables. For optimum publishing quality, images/figures should be high resolution JPEG files.