Structured Abstracts – Some Interesting Learning

Structured abstracts are abstracts that have clear sections, and not just a full paragraph (as abstracts of the past used to be). These kind of abstracts first evolved in 1987. The IMRAD format is the most common structure for a structured abstract, but other formats are also used. Why did structured abstracts emerge? It made reading an abstract easier. It possibly made the writing of structured abstracts better, because the authors had a basis on which they would summarize their research article’s contents. This also made it better for health professionals searching the literature in selecting clinically relevant and methodologically valid journal articles. In PubMed, there is an additional step that makes things easier. If you wish to find structured abstracts on any topic, to the search strategy, just add AND hasstructuredabstract
Example – Asthma/drug therapy[mesh] AND hasstructuredabstract

To learn more about structured abstracts, do check out the following pages, from which we have summarized the above.
Structured Abstracts – What are structured abstracts?  – We recommend spending some time reading each of the reference items at the end. The last item is a reference to a poster
Performance comparison of MEDLINE structured abstracts to unstructured abstracts –  which mentions that they used the “Medical Text Indexer”(MTI) to compare structured and unstructured abstracts and found that structured abstracts are better for several purposes. The MTI, incidentally is a software application that helps indexers by parsing journal titles, abstracts and articles and suggesting Mesh terms for indexing.

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