How to Edit Your Abstract: 3 Essential Tips

Allie Mandel is the Education Associate for ANPD and graduated from OSU with a degree in English.

The opportunity to present an abstract allows nurses to showcase their projects and portray how the strides they have made can improve the role of the NPD nurse. The ability to write an abstract is an important skill for NPD practitioners to possess, but the aptitude to edit your own abstracts will elevate your writing to the next level so that your research truly stands out. While editing your own work may seem daunting, these tips will help you to present a clear, concise, and, consequently, more effective report.

Take Some Space You've worked long and hard to produce an abstract that showcases the effectiveness of your report, and editing that abstract after all the effort you have put in probably sounds less than ideal. Before you dive in to the editing process, take a break to distance yourself from your abstract—go for a walk, read a book, eat a snack, do whatever you need to do to refresh your mind before undertaking the next step in the abstract submission process. If editing your abstract still seems overwhelming, break your writing down into chunks and tackle it piece by piece.

Keep it Simple An effective abstract summarizes the report without unnecessary elaboration or “fluff,” so it is important to stick to the facts and keep your abstract brief. If your abstract is peppered with long sentences containing several ideas, break those sentences down into 2-3 succinct ones—shorter sentences add an element of conciseness, allowing each sentence to pack a greater punch. When in doubt, remember that less is always more; rather than adding to your abstract, trim down the paragraphs that include excess or redundant information. Additionally, steer clear of big, fancy words—keep the language as simple as possible so that anyone who reads your abstract understands the main takeaways.

Use Your Resources
Even the strongest writers and editors find themselves stumped from time to time, and there are plenty of online resources you can utilize to make the editing process seem less intimidating. Whether you need assistance with grammar and punctuation, formatting, or even proofreading strategies, websites like the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) or Guide to Grammar and Writing are excellent tools to keep in mind. You can also find abstract-specific resources by researching other organizations; for example, the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses' (IACRN) site includes a PowerPoint presentation, “ Writing a Conference Abstract: Tips for Success ,” that you may find helpful when editing your abstract. A peer review is another great way to edit your abstract—a second pair of eyes is always helpful!

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