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A/Prof Lisa Chopin Leader, Ghrelin research group, IHBI Lecturer in physiology, Biomedical Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "A/Prof Lisa Chopin Leader, Ghrelin research group, IHBI Lecturer in physiology, Biomedical Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 A/Prof Lisa Chopin Leader, Ghrelin research group, IHBI Lecturer in physiology, Biomedical Sciences

2 What is an abstract a brief summary of the whole work Not a brief introduction or a review A mini-thesis (UQ) – must stand alone Important summary of your work Should be equal to your best work Requires an investment of time and effort Beginning of thesis or research paper Conference proceedings Frequently published

3 Types of abstracts - purpose Types of abstracts Varies with audience/purpose Thesis abstract Abstracts for journal articles Conference presentations or posters Applying for awards/prizes Grant writing Different guidelines

4 Why write a good thesis abstract? Important first impression for examiners Idea of contribution to the field and novel findings Get your message across key findings must be clear Must demonstrate a cohesive body of work

5 Thesis abstract QUT requirement Likely to be publically available Often read first or instead of whole thesis QUT Summary of thesis guidelines The abstract summarises the main findings and demonstrates a significant contribution to knowledge. QUT Requirements for presenting theses Short abstract, Before table of contents Faculty/school Guidelines, supervisor Unstructured, 3-4 pages, No references (citations) ~1000 words, concise

6 Writing style Clear, accurate, brief, concise, punchy message Limited length Word limits can be strict Can be very difficult Summarise whole thesis cut down to correct length Strunk and White – Elements of Style Time 2011 – one of the 100 best and most influential books written since 1923 in English a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences...

7 Use of language Language used does not have to be complex Simple, economic language Avoid long, complex sentences and unnecessary words In a study by Smith et al., (2003) it was discovered that the hormone, growth hormone, decreases fat mass and in another study..... Growth hormone decreases fat mass and...

8 Writing style – Jargon and colloquialisms Avoid jargon Avoid extensive use of acronyms if possible Only use acronyms and abbreviations if very common in the field Spell out first time DNA vs SPA Avoid colloquial language ‘after spinning down the protein we ran the gel in our lab’ The sample was collected by centrifugation and proteins separated by electrophoresis

9 Abstract structure Relates to purpose and guidelines Reflects thesis or journal article structure Thesis abstract Divide by chapter to reflect the structure of the thesis Generally follows IMRaD structure Introduction Materials and methods Results And Discussion

10 Example: thesis abstract structure Abstract structure reflects thesis structure General introduction Research chapter 1 Introduction, methods, results, conclusions Research chapter 2 Introduction, methods, results, conclusions Research chapter 3 Introduction, methods, results, conclusions General conclusion Sections linked Flow Overall cohesion

11 Title includes the major conclusion concise Not vague or too complicated Bacterial species may exist, metagenomics reveal Environmental microbiology Avoid complex words, jargon (buzzwords) Avoid abbreviations and acronyms Amusing, witty catch phrases less cited -Research trends 2011 Local Pancake Defeats Axis of Evil (astrophysics) Question marks and colons – cited less often

12 Introduction Provide background information Reader understands context experiments/study Justification of the study Hypothesis/thesis Knowledge gaps to be addressed Aim of the study

13 Methods Depend on study and structure May be brief Unless techniques are novel May not be a separate methods section but integrated with results Organised by research chapter May include Study design Subjects Interventions, tests, measurements Outcomes measured Statistical tests applied Materials used

14 Results Important section What were the key findings? What question were you asking? Data must relate to the research question Clear outcomes

15 Results Quantitative data Correct units Statistics where possible Allow meaningful interpretation of the data Mean, Standard deviation P values, Tests for statistical significance Clear comparisons Survey response rates Apnoea in air produced a significant decrease in heart rate to ± 4.15% (P < 0.001) of control and to ± 3.55% (P < 0.01) of control with a BAC of 0.05% over 60 seconds.

16 Discussion/conclusions What your study’s findings are and what they mean Impact in the field How they could guide future studies Don’t overstate findings Avoid strong claims

17 When to write your thesis abstract Write it first or write it last? Excellent exercise/tool Distil ideas Cohesive message of thesis Inform thesis writing Final version after writing the thesis Ensure consistency Take time

18 Reviewing your work Revise –early and often Cut unnecessary words Have a break and go back to it Error free Supervisors Ask someone outside the field to read for clarity

19 Abstracts for conferences Required to submit an abstract for conference presentations and poster presentations Often many months in advance Can be very competitive Basis of selection for a conference and/or award Reviewers may read hundreds Follow the instructions carefully May be structured or unstructured Word limit May need to be careful regarding IP and unpublished work

20 Abstracts for papers/grants Follow guidelines very closely Journals in field may provide useful tips for thesis abstract Eg. JAMA Used for assignment of reviewers First, general impression Can be rejected on basis of abstract Endocrine society Abstract Do not exceed 250 words Briefly describe in complete sentences the purpose of the investigation, the methods used, the results obtained, and the principal conclusions Do not refer to the text or references Write the abstract with a general audience in mind

21 Getting started - Thesis abstract worksheet Title: (Informative and concise) ________________________________________________________________________________ Introduction: (What is being tested and why?) ________________________________________________________________________________ Methods: (How was the study performed?) ________________________________________________________________________________ Results: (What were the data?) ________________________________________________________________________________ Conclusions: (What do the data say and what are its consequences) ________________________________________________________________________________ Ira Blader Generally keep it short and to the point. It is not a novel you are writing. If you get stuck, take a break. Leave the draft by your bedside. Sometimes a phrase just comes to you and it is a shame to lose it. Anthony David

22 This article is often termed a "pearl" of science because it is brief and contains the answer to a fundamental mystery about living organisms.livingorganisms Wikipedia 18/5/12 Make every word count Get your message across in as few as possible words Applies to all scientific writing

23 References Available online through QUT library Langdorf and Hayden (2009) Turning your abstract into a paper: academic writing made simpler. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine Andrei V. Alexandrov and Michael G. Hennerici Writing good abstracts Cerebrovasc Dis 2007;23:256–259 Sarah Huggett (2011) The value of bibliometrics Heading for success: or how not to title your paper Research trends 2011/heading-for-success-or-how-not-to-title-your-paper/ Monash University ‘Write the thesis’ Last update April University of Queensland. Writing an abstract services/phdwriting/phlink08.html Irene Blader Abstract Writing G.pdf G.pdf list.html


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