Awesome abstracts

Abstracts are not all created equal; writing abstracts that are technically sound is relatively easy, writing amazing abstracts is not as straightforward. In our Insider's Insight on how to write abstracts we provide insights from the Niche medical writing team who have been writing amazing abstracts for a collective two centuries.

According to William Shakespeare "Brevity is the soul of wit". But we can't all be witty. And let's look a little closer at the play the quote derives from. Ironically, Hamlet was Shakespeare's longest play.

For young scientist, to whom this task is often allocated, writing an abstract can be a little like the writing of Hamlet. For example, there are often very different early adaptations of your work and each new version includes lines and aspects of your findings that are modified or excluded. When you share your work with your colleagues and peers it will likely inspire much critical scrutiny and misinterpretation. Let’s hope that the abstract won’t take you as long to write as it took Shakespeare to write Hamlet. We would also want to avoid complex philosophical and ethical issues or feelings of cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, and thwarted desire!

As with Shakespeare, what will posterity think of your contribution to science? It is very possible that your abstract will remain findable and available for reading long after your symposia posters have been forgotten and your beautifully constructed manuscript have been buried by time. Internet search engines, online databases and ready retrieval systems mean that anyone can (and will) find and read your abstract. Manuscript abstracts, for example, will continue to emerge from carefully constructed and broadly executed search strategies for decades to come – perhaps even longer. As such, they will form a major aspect of your scientific legacy, available for scrutiny and comparison long after you have stopped active research. Follow our guidance and hopefully your past work will not return to haunt you like Hamlet's ghost.