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Gambescia Publishes “A brief on writing an abstract” in International Journal

December 2, 2013

Stephen GambesciaFor those who have had questions about writing a successful journal abstract, look no further than our own Stephen Gambescia, PhD’s most recent publication. A clinical professor in the Health Administration Department and the Assistant Dean for Academic Student Affairs, Gambescia recently published “A brief on writing an abstract,”  in the international journal Education for Health. In it, he discusses the best ways to develop an abstract and make it more efficient and useful. The brief is categorized into different sub-sections, where he dissects the different components of an abstract. According to Gambescia, an abstract is the first impression that a peer researcher, professional or editor has of a journal article, and therefore should be the strongest and most powerful 150-200 words written in the entire piece.

Title: The title should at least include a “who” and a “what” (topical area). A good title will often include enough information in it to provide the reviewer with a general overview of the paper in the most efficient manner possible.

Problem Statement: A health professions journal article abstract almost always includes a problem statement. According to Gambescia, “In most abstracts it is appropriate to define a health professions challenge, problem or concern and to provide some background to the issue. What are the reasons for studying this issue? Why is this problem or issue important?”

Methods: Gambescia urges writers to use “terms that help the reader understand the characteristics of the people or organizations involved in the study like age, sex, race, occupation, geographic location, etc.” Since the methods tend to be an expansive section in the journal article, writers often face difficulty in summarizing the methods in just a few sentences. However, Gambescia says to not get weighed down with too many details for this section in the abstract.

Results:  “This is often the most important section of the abstract because it is the raison d’être of academic research and scholarly publications,” said Gambescia.

Discussion: According to Gambescia, this part of the abstract can be the most “interesting and exciting” part of the abstract because it allows the author to express his/her own opinions. This is the part where the author can write passionately and give a lasting impression.

Click here to read Gambescia’s full article.