Title and abstract

The title has two main purposes; to attract readers and to aid retrieval and indexing.

Titles should be concise, specific and clear, and should accurately describe the main part of the paper using the minimum of words.

Avoid unnecessary phrases such as:

A Report of a Case of…
The Treatment of…
A Study of…
The Effects of…


A study of the expression of p53 in melanoma tissue.


p53 expression in melanoma tissues.

The title is the first point of contact with potential readers as they scan the Table of Contents of a journal, so make it clear and short to get their attention.


Tissue expression of MRP-8-related nucleotide: a calcium-binding protein of the S100 protein family, in the human placenta as revealed by non-radioactive in situ hybridization technique.


Expression of the S100-related MRP8 gene in human placenta tissue.

If you are confident of your results and conclusions use the title to emphasize them. This will help get the readers attention.


Effect of KM966 on A381- and ADM-tumor-bearing mice and spontaneous regression of ADM tumors.


KM966 induces spontaneous regression of ADM tumors If this is the result that you observed.

Indexing and abstracting services often use only the title to extract keywords for computer searching, so try to include keywords in the title.

The Abstract is the most read part of any paper. Readers will use the Abstract to decide whether to read the whole article. Often the reader will only see the title and Abstract if they are using an abstracting service such as Medline or Current Contents. A well prepared Abstract should therefore allow the reader to identify the basic content of a document quickly and accurately.

The Abstract must be concise, not exceeding 250 words (AMA journal limited to 150 words). It should succinctly describe:

  • What was done.
  • Why it was done.
  • How it was done.
  • What it means to the field.

  • As in the main paper, the results are the most important part of an abstract, and should clearly cover only the principal findings. You must also give the major conclusion, but do not include any general discussion. If you can say everything in 150 words, then do not use 200.

    There are certain things that should NOT be included in the Abstract:

  • Omit all references to the literature.
  • Do not refer to tables or figures.
  • Do not repeat the title in the abstract.
  • Omit P values.
  • Avoid abbreviations.
  • Again include major terms in the abstract for computer text searching.

    Give the abstract careful thought, it is the gateway to your paper.