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Public Health Writing Resource Center

Abstract Writing

An abstract usually has the following sections.

Conference and journal guidelines will tell you the word limit and what format to use. Some will ask you to break the information into sections (as seen below), others will ask you to put the information together in a single paragraph.

  • Background / Objective: What is public health problem you are addressing? What is its scope? What is the purpose of your article / presentation?
  • Methods: What was your study design? How did you collect data? How did you analyze your data?
  • Results: What did you find that is most relevant to the objective stated above?
  • Discussion / Implications / Recommendations: What is the significance of your research? What are the implications for addressing the public health challenge? What next steps do you recommend?

Beard, J. (2022, April 13). Writing public health abstracts. Public Health Writing Program. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Useful Resources

Suhasini Nagda. 2013. How to Write Scientific Abstracts. Journal of Indian Prosthdontic Society. 13(3): 382-383

Karen McKee. 2022. How to Write a Scientific Abstract for Your Research Article. Wiley Network.

Purdue Owl. Writing Scientific Abstracts.


For more information about Abstract Writing, head over to SPH's Public Health Writing blog, where you will find countless wonderful articles written by SPH Professor and Director of the Public Health Writing Program, Jen Beard.