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Title, abstract and key words

The title, abstract and key words are items that will help other researchers to find the published paper and decide if they will read further. Abstracts must be a clear, short summary of the full manuscript. Researchers want their work to be read, so it is important that their abstract be interesting and hold the reader’s attention. More people will read the abstract than will read the full paper, so it should be easy to understand by readers without a specialized background.

Some questions to ask yourself about the title, abstract and key words are:

  • Does the title accurately say what the study was about? If not, can you suggest a different title?
  • Does the abstract effectively summarize the manuscript?
  • Could the abstract be understood by a researcher outside your specialty?
  • Does it include enough information to stand alone? Does the abstract contain information that is unnecessary?
  • Is there any information in the abstract that is not in the main text of the manuscript?
  • If present, will the key words help readers to find the article? Are they specific, and do they represent the manuscript content?

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