1 April 2009 Content and Organization of a Scientific Paper
Leslie N. Carraway
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This section is placed at the beginning of a manuscript and must convey everything presented: what the research was about, where, why, and how it was conducted, and what it means relative to the current state of knowledge. It should consist of one paragraph of 250 or fewer words (i.e., no more than 3% of length of manuscript). Abstracts always are written in the past tense, thus, the best quality abstracts are written after the remainder of the manuscript is finished. Bibliographic services publish only the title and abstract of manuscripts. When conducting a literature search, researchers may read abstracts of perhaps 100 s of papers in which the titles possibly have bearing on an aspect of their work. Only if the content of the abstract seems relevant, will researchers progress to reading the article from which the abstract was derived. Therefore, great care must be used to write an abstract so it correctly reflects the contents of the manuscript in a precise and concise manner that can stand alone. Furthermore, it must contain no figures, tables, or references to them, or material not presented in the body of the manuscript; except for critique papers, no literature citations should be included. Also, it should not contain acronyms or jargon, even with definitions, not readily known to the general reading audience of the publication in which the manuscript will be published.

Leslie N. Carraway "Content and Organization of a Scientific Paper," The American Midland Naturalist 161(2), 371-379, (1 April 2009). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-161.2.371
Published: 1 April 2009
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