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Four components of an abstract

Background Methods Results Conclusion


Background information

- Information relevant to the study that is already known about subjects e.g., recent related experiments

- What is not known or fully understood about the subjects in relation to the novel information about the subjects that the study will present / what the study will investigate

- Hypothesis of the study (can be presented with novel information) 


Methods information

  1. Sample size
  2. Number of groups + size
  3. Group characteristics: Who are the particpants e.g., condition, age, sex, ethnicity. How were the groups similar, how were they different, were any participants medicated etc

  4. Duration of the study: Longitudinal or cross-sectional? How many times were they scanned?  

  5. Study design i.e., Treatments/conditions: Did all groups undergo the same treatment or experimental conditions. If they differed then how. What was the task, what did they do? Block or event? 

  6. Primary outcome measure: How were the data obtained e.g., the task, the instruments of measurement. Was this primary outcome measure corroborated with any other measurements such as behavioural - if so how w


Results information

All results relevant to the hypothesis/conclusions should be stated.

  1. Qualification. Where possible all results should be quantified. e.g., if they were different then how were they different (e.g., smaller, larger).
  2. Quantification. If possible results should also be quantified in terms of percentages etc.
  3. P-values. Significance test does not need to be stated, but p-value should.


Conclusion information

  1. Take home message: Most important information from your study in one sentence.
  2. Perspective. How may your findings relate to understanding of the field, to past or future studies