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Academia and the Profession |

More Informative Abstracts Revisited

R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD; Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc; Edward J. Huth, MD; Douglas G. Altman, BSc; and Martin J. Gardner, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD, Health Information Research Unit, Room 3H7, McMaster University Medical Center, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Haynes: Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Department of Medicine, McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.

Dr. Mulrow: Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78284-7879.

Dr. Huth: 1124 Morris Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.Mr. Altman: Medical Statistics Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, P.O. Box 123, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, UK WCZA 3PX.

Dr. Gardner: MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK.


Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(1):69-76. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-113-1-69
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Following proposals in 1987 and 1988, several medical journals have provided more informative abstracts ("structured abstracts") for articles of clinical interest. Structured abstracts for original studies require authors to systematically disclose the objective, basic research design, clinical setting, participants, interventions (if any), main outcome measurements, results, and conclusions; and for literature reviews the objective, data sources, methods of study selection, data extraction and synthesis, and conclusions. More informative abstracts of this kind can facilitate peer review before publication, assist clinical readers to find articles that are both scientifically sound and applicable to their practices, and allow more precise computerized literature searches. We review the feasibility, acceptability, and dissemination of structured abstracts, reassess the underlying strategy, and describe modifications of the approach. This innovation can aid communication from scientists to clinicians, and other clinical journals are invited to join this effort.

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