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The Angry Stoic
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Any advice for writing them? Writing a scientific abstract and a lay report of a research publication?

Cheers
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Hype en Ecosse
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So are you trying to write an abstract for an already published paper, and then a lay summary of it?
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Becca-Sarah
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For an abstract, there are 7 questions you need to answer:

- Why was the study done?
- Who was studied?
- How many were studied?
- How was it done?
- What was the intervention?
- What were the outcome measures?
- What's the significance of the results of this study?

Most abstracts now use a structured approach (Background/Aims, Methodology, Results, Conclusions), so answer the questions above under those subheadings. You can't use any references and you need to write very concisely - typically you're looking at a word limit of 200-250 words.

As for a lay report, just imagine you're trying to explain the paper to your mum (or other non-medical person if your mum happens to be in healthcare). You need to avoid any medical jargon or explain what each word means.
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
So are you trying to write an abstract for an already published paper, and then a lay summary of it?
Yes

First experience with this sort of thing.
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Becca-Sarah)
For an abstract, there are 7 questions you need to answer:

- Why was the study done?
- Who was studied?
- How many were studied?
- How was it done?
- What was the intervention?
- What were the outcome measures?
- What's the significance of the results of this study?

Most abstracts now use a structured approach (Background/Aims, Methodology, Results, Conclusions), so answer the questions above under those subheadings. You can't use any references and you need to write very concisely - typically you're looking at a word limit of 200-250 words.

As for a lay report, just imagine you're trying to explain the paper to your mum (or other non-medical person if your mum happens to be in healthcare). You need to avoid any medical jargon or explain what each word means.
Thanks
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Becca-Sarah)
For an abstract, there are 7 questions you need to answer:

- Why was the study done?
- Who was studied?
- How many were studied?
- How was it done?
- What was the intervention?
- What were the outcome measures?
- What's the significance of the results of this study?

Most abstracts now use a structured approach (Background/Aims, Methodology, Results, Conclusions), so answer the questions above under those subheadings. You can't use any references and you need to write very concisely - typically you're looking at a word limit of 200-250 words.

As for a lay report, just imagine you're trying to explain the paper to your mum (or other non-medical person if your mum happens to be in healthcare). You need to avoid any medical jargon or explain what each word means.
What exactly do you mean by intervention and outcome measures?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
Yes

First experience with this sort of thing.
Becca's summary is brilliant (and she's published. OoooOOooh. ), so you can follow that. If you've got a choice of what paper you write about, I'd recommend something clinical, as those are easier to be concise about and summarise than basic science, imo. I've been having to do a bunch of basic science reading recently, and the number of experiments and outcome measures some authors are using does my head in.

(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
What exactly do you mean by intervention and outcome measures?
"Intervention" is the thing that they did. "Outcome measures" are the things they measured at the end - the things that happened after you gave the intervention. The results, basically!

So suppose you want to study the effects of aspirin on the incidence of strokes in people who've already had heart attacks. Your intervention would be "aspirin (dose, frequency, mode of administration)"; your outcome measure would be "number of strokes".
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
Becca's summary is brilliant (and she's published. OoooOOooh. ), so you can follow that. If you've got a choice of what paper you write about, I'd recommend something clinical, as those are easier to be concise about and summarise than basic science, imo. I've been having to do a bunch of basic science reading recently, and the number of experiments and outcome measures some authors are using does my head in.



"Intervention" is the thing that they did. "Outcome measures" are the things they measured at the end - the things that happened after you gave the intervention. The results, basically!

So suppose you want to study the effects of aspirin on the incidence of strokes in people who've already had heart attacks. Your intervention would be "aspirin (dose, frequency, mode of administration)"; your outcome measure would be "number of strokes".
Ok. We've been given the paper. It's a study on how the excessive consumption of hypotonic fluids is associated with hyponatremia in marathon runners. It's a study where they tested marathon runners blood before and after a race and had them self report their fluid intake.

So is their fluid intake the intervention? Obviously out one measure is prevalence of hyponatremia and how much their sodium levels have dropped after the race right?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
Ok. We've been given the paper. It's a study on how the excessive consumption of hypotonic fluids is associated with hyponatremia in marathon runners. It's a study where they tested marathon runners blood before and after a race and had them self report their fluid intake.

So is their fluid intake the intervention? Obviously out one measure is prevalence of hyponatremia and how much their sodium levels have dropped after the race right?
Well, technically, what Becca's outlined is what you'd include when writing about a clinical trial or experiment. For an observational study, there isn't an intervention. This sounds like an observational study to me.

Here, my abstract would go along the lines of "Here is important background information on which this paper is built. This is why it's important to study this issue." <---this info's usually in the introduction/background section of a paper. Then I'd go on to say "We studied [population] - measuring plasma sodium levels before and after a race, and collected self-reported (how exactly?) data on hypotonic fluid intake." <-- in the methodology section "we found ___" (<--results). Then I'd discuss why the results are important, or what they show. (<--conclusion/discussion section). But you obviously do all that with much fancier and better flowing wording.

But yeah, you're right. The outcome measures are the plasma sodium levels, and presence of hyponatraemia. Link to paper, plz?
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
Well, technically, what Becca's outlined is what you'd include when writing about a clinical trial or experiment. For an observational study, there isn't an intervention. This sounds like an observational study to me.

Here, my abstract would go along the lines of "Here is important background information on which this paper is built. This is why it's important to study this issue." <---this info's usually in the introduction/background section of a paper. Then I'd go on to say "We studied [population] - measuring plasma sodium levels before and after a race, and collected self-reported (how exactly?) data on hypotonic fluid intake." <-- in the methodology section "we found ___" (<--results). Then I'd discuss why the results are important, or what they show. (<--conclusion/discussion section). But you obviously do all that with much fancier and better flowing wording.

But yeah, you're right. The outcome measures are the plasma sodium levels, and presence of hyponatraemia. Link to paper, plz?
That's great thanks. I can't directly link it as its on our uni intranet but it's called 'Hyponatremia among Runners in the Boston Marathon' and its from them the New England Journal of Medicine. I'll try to find it on google.
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
Well, technically, what Becca's outlined is what you'd include when writing about a clinical trial or experiment. For an observational study, there isn't an intervention. This sounds like an observational study to me.

Here, my abstract would go along the lines of "Here is important background information on which this paper is built. This is why it's important to study this issue." <---this info's usually in the introduction/background section of a paper. Then I'd go on to say "We studied [population] - measuring plasma sodium levels before and after a race, and collected self-reported (how exactly?) data on hypotonic fluid intake." <-- in the methodology section "we found ___" (<--results). Then I'd discuss why the results are important, or what they show. (<--conclusion/discussion section). But you obviously do all that with much fancier and better flowing wording.

But yeah, you're right. The outcome measures are the plasma sodium levels, and presence of hyponatraemia. Link to paper, plz?
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa043901

This came up on google and actually has an abstract. Have to be very careful I don't get done for plagiarism though!
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Kinkerz
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
x
Do you guys do this as a sit-down exam or have they now seen sense and changed it to more of an open-book format?
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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Kinkerz)
Do you guys do this as a sit-down exam or have they now seen sense and changed it to more of an open-book format?
I get to do it in my own time but there are strict checks for collusion and plagiarism.
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Kinkerz
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
I get to do it in my own time but there are strict checks for collusion and plagiarism.
Naturally, although 100-150 people summarising the same paper is bound to draw some overlap.

I'm just glad they're evolving some of the more irksome means of examination.
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa043901

This came up on google and actually has an abstract. Have to be very careful I don't get done for plagiarism though!
Don't even read the abstract, imo. It'll just bias your view, and you'll gain more from working out how to do one yourself. The purposes of the abstract is mostly to help you decide "would I want to read this paper?", and since you have no choice...

I'd go with:

Background -> Population -> Methods and outcome measures -> Results -> Conclusion
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ash92:)
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
Any advice for writing them? Writing a scientific abstract and a lay report of a research publication?

Cheers
For the abstract, write a very brief summary of the objectives, the method, main results and conclusion.

For the report, stick to the layout of the article if it helps. Use diagrams to explain the results and double check that your understanding complies with that of the original paper. If there are any apparent, mention any criticisms of the study and state alternatives which may have been better.


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Becca-Sarah
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
Becca's summary is brilliant (and she's published. OoooOOooh. )
Becca can take no credit for this whatsoever! Went to the RCSEng Getting Into Surgical Research day last week and this is a direct copy of my notes from the 'How to get published' lecture :tongue:
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sj.chapman
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"How to Read a Paper" by Trisha Greenhalgh is an excellent book for students /those starting out in academia.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1444334360

Or

http://www.hstathome.com/tjziyuan/Ho...20medicine.pdf

SJC


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The Angry Stoic
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
So are you trying to write an abstract for an already published paper, and then a lay summary of it?

(Original post by Becca-Sarah)
For an abstract, there are 7 questions you need to answer:

- Why was the study done?
- Who was studied?
- How many were studied?
- How was it done?
- What was the intervention?
- What were the outcome measures?
- What's the significance of the results of this study?

Most abstracts now use a structured approach (Background/Aims, Methodology, Results, Conclusions), so answer the questions above under those subheadings. You can't use any references and you need to write very concisely - typically you're looking at a word limit of 200-250 words.

As for a lay report, just imagine you're trying to explain the paper to your mum (or other non-medical person if your mum happens to be in healthcare). You need to avoid any medical jargon or explain what each word means.
Hello again!

I'm now doing my actual summative PBP!

Could you answer a few more questions?

What should the first line of the abstract be? What should it tell the reader?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by The Angry Stoic)
Hello again!

I'm now doing my actual summative PBP!

Could you answer a few more questions?

What should the first line of the abstract be? What should it tell the reader?
Exactly what Becca said: "why was the study done?"

Why is what you're studying an important issue; why did you choose to study it (i.e. what important question about this issue were you trying to answer).
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