English Editing Research Services

how to write an abstract for a narrative review

Writing a Narrative Review in 4 Steps [and just 6 weeks]

Writing a review – Edanz

Narrative reviews are the most common type of literature review and are the easiest to write. They’re a chance for any researcher to build their own knowledge, boost their reputation, get cited, help other researchers, among other benefits.

A narrative review is a big, rewarding project, but many researchers don’t write them. If you want to know why to write one, read this Learning Lab post . And if you want a manageable four-step roadmap to writing a narrative review and publishing it in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, congrats, you’ve found it. Keep reading.

On this path, you’ll move from developing the concept and planning where you’ll publish, to the research and writing, to revision and peer review to actual publication in a journal. And then you’ll be rewarded for years to come. And if you get stuck at any point, you can get expert guidance, because it’s the same path we follow in Edanz manuscript development services . We use this to help authors finish their reviews in as little as a 6 weeks).

What you’ll learn in this post

• The Edanz 4-step (and as little as 6-week) method to writing a narrative review article.

• How to separate the stages of a review, which is a big project, so they are manageable in your busy schedule.

• The critical importance of identifying a knowledge gap, preparing an outline, and targeting journals BEFORE you even start writing the main document.

• How to make everything go downhill and with a tailwind after getting through the first stage.

• Where to get expert guidance from Edanz at any stage of the review-writing and review-publishing process.

1. Concept development and journal identification

In this first stage, you’ll find what you want to write about, develop your review’s concept, and find target journals that will publish it. Do a thorough job in this stage and the rest of the process will smoothly fall into place.

The first step in writing a narrative review is, naturally, identifying the topic. (To learn more about types of reviews, read this post .)

Identify gaps and start to pick your topic

You write a narrative review on a topic you’re familiar with as a researcher, and a topic that needs reviewing right now . You’re looking for gaps in the research that need greater coverage. Trends, emerging areas of interest, underserved areas, etc.

In narrative reviews, there’s usually no specific research question or defined search strategy, unlike with systematic reviews. So you’ll need to expand upon the topic and develop it into a “concept.”

Writing a review – Edanz

As an example, this review was about the role of vitamin D in diabetes . That’s quite broad. It then covered the topic from as many relevant angles as possible, giving valuable insight for other medical researchers. The literature search is where you’ll get grasp of how wide your research net will be.

Start with the literature search

Do a basic, sweeping literature search to determine all aspects you want to include in your review. After this, write out all the information that you’ve gathered (in whatever form of note-keeping works for you) and arrange it into a logical sequence of headings, moving from the known to the unknown.

At this stage, it’s enough to have a broad overview with headings and subheadings, without great detail under them. You don’t have to include any references in this write-up, either. It’s like developing a basic skeleton: all the internal organs come later.

A note about references

If you write a review, you’re going to do a lot of reading and a lot of citing. Narrative reviews, by their nature, can contain over 100 references. You’ll probably already have a collection of PDFs from your previous research.

Stay ahead of them before they bury you (and your PC’s desktop).

Use a reference management software such as Zotero or Paper Pile to electronically store your PDFs, ideally in the cloud so they can be accessed among your colleagues. These tools also help you reformat your references in line with the style the journal requires. Read this post on reference management for more ideas.

Create a concept brief

The concept brief takes your skeleton outline builds on it further. Now you’re going to add in some structure so that when you get to fully writing the review, it’s a matter of filling in the details.

Of course the length will vary depending on your topic and how deep you’re going, but generally this section is about 10–15 pages (that’s typical of what we provide in a concept development document).

A good structure here is:

In your header material…

In the body, you’ll put in the topics and themes you aim to cover…

Write in future tense about you plan here (“This section will…”) and in present tense about the current state of things (“There is a lack of research on…”). For each of these sections, add a few sentences, with as many specifics as possible, on what you’ve found in your review and gap identification, and on what actions you aim to take in addressing these areas.

Don’t worry about if it’s too long or short. You should primarily be concerned with adding as much detail as you can. This is all for your reference, so you can break some grammar rules. Whatever works for you.

Identify target journals

By now, you know quite well what your review will cover, and you’ll have done the background work to justify it.

It may seem early, but the next step is to find good potential journals for publishing your review.

Think of this like market research – you’re looking for a potential “buyer” for what you’re “selling.” If there’s no market for your review, there’s now point writing it. Right?

Types of Review Papers

Nine types of review papers, including narrative reviews, are concisely explained by our experts in this infographic-style ebook.

Download the free PDF


Factors to help you choose candidate journals for your review

You can examine journal selection at a deeper level in this article , but in general, the following are universally valuable in picking good journals for your work:

Preparing a list of 3-4 journals in the order of priority/desire is a good start. Collaborate with your co-authors to refine and finalize the list.

Many reputable journals publish narrative reviews only by invitation. That said, journals often encourage unsolicited reviews from researchers who are new to the field. For this, you’ll need to send a presubmission inquiry letter to the editorial office.

For help with concept development and choosing a journal, explore Edanz’s author guidance services here .

Draft presubmission inquiries

A presubmission inquiry letter is such a good strategy, such a time-saver, we might almost call it a “hack.” Far too few researchers use this approach.

Sending an inquiry letter gives the journal’s editors an idea of what your review is going to cover and gauges if they’re interested.

Writing a review – Edanz

In your letter, include:

There should be a match between your review, the journal’s area of coverage, and the interest of the readership. You should be covering a novel topic or exploring a novel angle on a topic that’s already been covered.

All these boxes are checked in this review about recent advances in hypertension , and that was published in a journal that specializes in hypertension research.

Presubmission inquiry letters are not mandatory, in fact, they’re often not even done. But they help both the editor and the researcher.

A well-written inquiry letter helps the editor quickly decide if the review is suitable for their journal. For you, the researcher, you get a quick idea of what type of journal will welcome your work. This saves you time on formatting and submission, only to be quickly rejected.

2. Sending presubmission inquiry letters and preparing an extensive outline

Moving to phase two, you’ll start a simultaneous process of drafting your review’s structure while you look for takers.

It’s a bit like marketing a new product while it’s still being designed. You’re gauging the market’s interest and seeing if it’s sufficient and how you can satisfy that interest with your work.

Send the presubmission inquiries

Once you’ve drafted and finalized the presubmission inquiry letter, send it to the journals. Some journals have a portal for presubmission inquiry letters, but most ask that the letter be emailed to the editorial office. Thoroughly check the spelling and grammar of both the letter and the overview document.

And don’t forget to attach your documents to the email! (Many a facepalm has occurred after hitting the Submit or Send button. Double- and triple- check everything with a clear head.)

Extensive outline: going deeper, your bridge to the final manuscript

You may get some feedback as you start to hear from the journal with which you inquired. Incorporate that into this next step – the extensive outline.

Build on the concept brief that you’ve already developed. This is especially helpful if you’re collaborating with colleagues in writing different parts of the review. Again, there are no specific rules, but around 20–30 pages is a common length for extensive outlines we’ll help you with at Edanz.

Start with a proper cover page. Include what is now the decided title. Include the authors and their affiliations. Add aspects (if possible) such as:

If you don’t know them yet, just put TBD or n/a .

Add in space for the abstract and keywords. As you can probably see, you’re setting up the structure for submission. Then when the final journal determination is made, you’ll use these as guidelines – filling in some, accommodating others.

A good extensive outline contains numerous bullet points under each heading/subheading. Elaborate on what was in the concept development, and then you’ll fill this out in the final writing of the review.

The headings in a narrative review are usually not fixed, unlike those in an original research article. Most narrative reviews start with an Introduction and end with Conclusions/Summary, like an article. But in between these, you can have headings as you feel appropriate. Try to identify the limitations of the review and include them just before conclusions. You can also include recommendations at the end of your review, if applicable.

For example, if a heading in your brief is “Epidemiology of the novel X virus,” in the outline, elaborate this heading like so:

You can also insert a note about what you’d like to cover under a specific heading. For example, if the heading is about “treatment,” note something along the lines of “We’ll need to cover all the current drugs in brief, the newly approved drugs in the past 5 years, and at least 2–3 drugs undergoing trials”.

List the most important references that you have come across so far in your literature search, preferably at the end of the outline.

Note any restrictions that the journal has and keep these in mind while developing the outline:

Fingers crossed – during this process, hopefully, you’ll hear from the journals you’re written to.

For assistance with extensive outlines, see Edanz’s author guidance services here .

how to write an abstract for a narrative review

3. Manuscript development and journal submission

Now that you have your extensive outline ready and, hopefully, an interested journal, start writing the review. Most authors, at this point, have a bunch of notes and haven’t even thought of the target journal. See how ahead of the game you are already?

All you have to do now is add in the substance of your review.

Write the review

Continuing on from the extensive outline, you’re now going to turn this into a full-fledged article. Bullet points will be replaced with full paragraphs. All necessary sections will be developed. You’ll end with a product that you can submit.

Narrative reviews are expected to be elaborate and have in-depth coverage of the topic. Try to bring a balanced viewpoint of the topic you’re writing about. Think from all possible angles, and try to answer all possible questions about the topic.

Writing a review – Edanz

Where possible, summarize information using appropriate tables. But make sure you don’t repeat the information in the text once again in the table. For example, Table 1 in this review gives a snapshot of thalassemia classification based on clinical severity, without repeating the information in the text.

After you’ve finished writing the narrative review, write the abstract . In narrative reviews, the abstract is usually unstructured, so you’ll need to briefly summarize the entire narrative review. Depending on the journal the abstract may only need be a few sentences, like in this review about non-small cell lung cancer .

Circulate the document among all the authors, get feedback, incorporate it, make sure all authors approve of the contents. Then it’s time to submit the manuscript to the journal.

We don’t take this section lightly. It is, after all, the review itself, which is the output of your work. It takes time and it will likely hit some roadblocks and delays.

To speed things along and make sure you do it right, explore Edanz’s manuscript development services , where an expert will guide you through the process.

4. Dealing with revisions and peer review

Peer review can be the most time-consuming process in any manuscript publication, including narrative reviews. At the end of the peer review, most journals respond with one of the following outcomes:

The editorial decision will be accompanied by peer review reports. Most journals need the authors to provide a point-by-point response to each reviewer comment.

Since there’s usually no specific search strategy in a narrative review, it’s not uncommon for you to miss some concept or viewpoint on the topic. There are likely more studies you can include in your coverage. Some of your interpretation may already be addressed elsewhere. Peer reviewers may point these things out.

You might be asked to elaborate on some sections in the review that you’d only briefly touched upon, and cut short some sections which you’d written in length. You might be asked to update some information, and include a specific set of references in the review.

Yes, these outcomes all create more work for you, but they also make your final product much better and more unique.

After revising, check the entire document for language, spelling, and punctuation.

Again review the citations and references, and update the abstract as appropriate. Once all authors are satisfied with the updated manuscript and the rebuttal to the reviewers, the next step is to submit the revised manuscript package to the journal.

Your narrative review could still get rejected, even if you’ve sent a presubmission inquiry and been invited to submit. And sometimes this can even happen after the first round of peer review. Rejections are inevitable in academic publication. Accept this and look at it as natural and a part of your learning and development process as a researcher. Peer review is something you can use to further improve your review, and sometimes move on to the next journal on your list.

Publish a review article – Edanz

Congratulations, your review is published!

If you followed the steps, and the stars were aligned for your work, your review will be published. Researchers will read it and cite it. It will help advance your field and your own personal career. But even of lots of things went wrong (author conflicts, none of your top journals wanted it, tons of revisions), you still have something to build on.

Expert assistance: The best part of the Edanz 4-step review process

Edanz’s research and manuscript development services can guide you through the entire process of review writing.

We don’t write it for you, we guide you through the process, no matter what stage you’re at. We’re here to help you publish great science.

Please note that Internet Explorer version 8.x is not supported as of January 1, 2016. Please refer to this page for more information.

Narrative Review

Narrative reviews fail to content-code the studies either for theoretically important aspects or for aspects that gauge methodological quality, with the result that the accuracy of the review’s claims about the characteristics of the studies and the quality of their methods is difficult to judge.

From: Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexuality , 2013

Related terms:

Defining and Analyzing the Problem

George Demiris , ... Karla T. Washington , in Behavioral Intervention Research in Hospice and Palliative Care , 2019

3.2.1 Narrative Review

A narrative review is the type first-year college students often learn as a general approach. Its purpose is to identify a few studies that describe a problem of interest. Narrative reviews have no predetermined research question or specified search strategy, only a topic of interest. They are not systematic and follow no specified protocol. No standards or protocols guide the review. Although the reviewers will learn about the problem, they will not arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the state of the science related to the problem. Fins and colleagues provide an example of a narrative review in hospice and palliative care. 6 Box 3.3 outlines steps for conducting a narrative review.

Steps for Conducting a Narrative Literature Review

The published scientific literature is indexed in a variety of databases. Search these databases for studies. It is important to search numerous databases to ensure that the majority of relevant studies have been identified. Neglecting a database in the search strategy will result in studies going unidentified. Common databases for hospice and palliative care studies include PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL.

Authors call out several keywords when publishing their research so others can identify the work during database searches. Once you find a relevant article, use its keywords and similar ones in your search. To find individual studies on similar topics, you must use the keywords that were used when they were indexed. You may try numerous keywords before finding a paper that is pertinent to your review question.

After the search is complete and all duplicates are thrown out, it is time to review the abstracts of the remaining articles to ensure that they address your review question. With narrative reviews, it is not necessary to include every article on a topic.

Summarize and synthesize the findings from the articles you have found, and integrate them into your writing as appropriate. You do not need to document your literature search. Reference the articles as you use information from the studies.

Volunteering and health in later life*

Jeffrey A. Burr , ... Sae Hwang Han , in Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (Ninth Edition) , 2021

Mortality risk

Narrative reviews and meta-analyses conclude that the association between volunteering and risk of mortality is substantial, with the earliest evidence found in the seminal work of Berkman and Syme (1979) . A meta-analysis study by Okun et al. (2013) reports that volunteering is associated with an average adjusted effect of 24% decreased risk of death (95% CI=16%–31%). Similarly, the Jenkinson et al. (2013) meta-analysis finds an average adjusted effect of 22% (95% CI=10%–34%). Based on their evaluation, Okun et al. (2013 , 576) conclude that

…it is no longer a question of whether volunteering is predictive of reduced mortality risk; rather, our results suggest that the volunteering-mortality association is reliable, and that the magnitude of the relationship is sizable.

Further, prospective research design studies demonstrating an association between volunteering and mortality include Ayalon (2008) , using Israeli data, Luoh and Herzog (2002) , using the Assets and Health Dynamics (AHEAD) data, and Musick, Herzog, and House (1999) , using data from the American’s Changing Lives study, adding to substantial empirical literature that evaluates the benefits of helping others and being socially engaged.

Some research indicates that the benefit of volunteering for human longevity may be strongest for certain kinds of people and under certain conditions. For example, Konrath, Fuhrel-Forbis, Lou, and Brown (2012) , examining 4-year follow-up data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, discovered that the survival benefits accrue only to those who volunteer for “other-oriented” reasons (i.e., in alignment with social connections or altruistic values). Lee, Steinman, and Tan (2011) demonstrated with Health and Retirement Study data that volunteering is only beneficial in reducing mortality risk among those who are nondrivers, and they propose that volunteering may benefit those who are otherwise at risk of social isolation.

Okun et al. (2010) , using 6-year follow-up data from the Later Life Study of Social Exchanges, argue that volunteering serves as a buffer between functional limitations and mortality, with one result being that people with functional limitations may benefit from volunteering in terms of expanded longevity. In comparison, Rogers et al. (2016) , using the English Longitudinal Study on Aging in an 11-year follow-up research design, reveal that the benefit of volunteering for reducing risk of mortality occurs only among those who report no disabilities.

Case Conceptualization and Treatment: Adults

Alan Carr , in Comprehensive Clinical Psychology (Second Edition) , 2022 Adults

Narrative reviews and meta-analyses support the effectiveness of FBPIs as an adjunct to medical care for adults with chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, and caring for aging relatives with dementia ( Campbell, 2003 ; Han et al., 2019 ; Hartmann et al., 2010 ; Nguyen et al., 2019 ; Vintilă et al., 2019 ). For example, in a meta-analysis of 52 randomized controlled trials involving a range of conditions in adults including cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, Hartmann et al. (2010) found that FBPIs led to significantly better physical health in patients and better physical and mental health in both patients and other family members compared with routine care. Effect sizes were small, ranging from 0.28 to 0.35 indicating that the average case treated with systemic therapy fared better than 61%–64% of cases who received routine care. Effects were stable over long follow-up periods. FBPIs included psychoeducational and cognitive behavioral couple and family therapy as well as multifamily support groups, and carer support groups. These interventions had some or all of the following elements ( McDaniel et al., 2013 ; Rolland, 1994 ). They provided psychoeducation about the affected family member's medical condition and its management. They promoted adherence to medical regimes, an increase in adaptive “well behavior”, and a reduction of “illness behavior”. They offered a context within which to enhance support for the person with the chronic illness, and other family members. They provided a forum for exploring ways of coping with the condition, and its impact on family relationships.

Other Sources of Evidence

Susan M. Wilczynski , in A Practical Guide to Finding Treatments That Work for People with Autism , 2017

Narrative Reviews

Narrative reviews include consensus and critical reviews. When a group of scholars create a consensus review (also known as a best practice panel), they draw from their expertise and evaluation of the scientific literature. These experts have been asked to lend their expertise to the review because they are very familiar with the evidence and have been regular contributors to the literature. The greatest weakness of a consensus review results from the potential for bias entering into the final conclusions. Bias may result from the selection process that initiates a review. That is, there is little transparency about how editors or funding agencies select the experts to complete reviews. Editors (of a book, journal, or other document) or funders may include experts who confirm their biases and exclude experts who offer disconfirmatory perspectives ( Slocum et al., 2012 ). The expert may also introduce bias by placing inordinate weight on a single research article or completely ignore another. This form of bias is typically unintentional; however, human beings inadvertently allow bias to influence their conclusions. Group-based bias can also influence the reported outcomes of consensus reviews. For example, when a highly prestigious member of an expert panel states his or her opinion, others may agree without applying due diligence. This source of bias is less likely to occur when experts hold diverse views about the literature. Unfortunately, it is also more difficult to achieve consensus when a larger, more diverse group of experts write a review ( Wilczynski, 2012 ).

A critical review is similar to a consensus review, but it is completed by a single researcher or a group of researchers who have not been invited to discuss their views based on their expertise. These reviews are prone to the same sources of bias as consensus reviews. Despite these limitations, consensus and critical reviews were the primary source of evidence that could guide practitioners until recently. They may still prove very useful, particularly when a systematic review closely matching the characteristics of a given case is not available. Evidence-based practitioners should recognize that a consensus or critical review of the literature may reflect a better fit with the specifics of a given case. For example, a critical review could match the setting, diagnosis for participant, target behavior, etc., in every way—and better than the parameters used to conduct the only available systematic review.

Sensorimotor Rehabilitation

Hamza Farooq , ... David W. Cadotte , in Progress in Brain Research , 2015

This narrative review captures a subset of recent advances in imaging of the central nervous system. First, we focus on improvements in the spatial and temporal profile afforded by optical coherence tomography, fluorescence-guided surgery, and Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Microscopy. Next, we highlight advances in the generation and uses of imaging-based atlases and discuss how this will be applied to specific clinical situations. To conclude, we discuss how these and other imaging tools will be combined with neuronavigation techniques to guide surgeons in the operating room. Collectively, this work aims to highlight emerging biomedical imaging strategies that hold potential to be a valuable tool for both clinicians and researchers in the years to come.

Behavioral Couples Therapy in the Treatment of Alcohol Problems

Adrian B. Kelly , in Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment , 2009

How Well does ABCT Work?

Recent narrative reviews (e.g., O’Farrell & Fals-Stewart, 2003 ) and meta-analytic reviews (e.g., Powers, Vedel, & Emmelkamp, 2008 ) conclude that ABCT has better outcomes than individual-based treatment for alcoholism, and indeed other drug use problems. Based on 12 randomized controlled trials of BCT (8 relating to alcohol and 4 relating to other substance abuse), Powers et al. (2008) found that ABCT outperformed controlled conditions when all follow-up time points were combined. When results were assessed for specific post-therapy time points, results were somewhat different. Specifically, ABCT produced improvements in relationship satisfaction at post-treatment, but did not result in improvements in the frequency or consequences of alcohol/substance use relative to control conditions. At follow-up, ABCT retained its superiority in terms of elevated relationship satisfaction, but also showed better outcomes on alcohol/substance use measures at later follow-ups. As noted earlier, ABCT programs contain some variability in therapeutic factors that may differentially account for positive findings. For example, three studies reviewed by Powers et al. (2008) included naltrexone or disulfiram in the couple conditions and not others. However, Powers and colleagues found that the effect sizes for BCT with and without these medication regimes were comparable. These authors conclude that the improvements in relationship satisfaction evident at the end of therapy may provide a context for improved substance-related gains in the longer term.

In general, ABCT has been used with couples in which only one partner (typically the male) is the identified drinker and the alcohol problems are moderate to severe. It is less clear how well ABCT works for couples where both partners have substance abuse problems and how well ABCT works for problem drinkers (as opposed to alcohol-dependent people). O’Farrell and Fals-Stewart (2006) recommend that a couples approach is contraindicated when both partners have substance abuse problems. Preliminary research suggests that ABCT may not be any more efficacious than alcohol-focused spouse involvement for people with mild to moderate alcohol problems. Walitzer and Dermen (2004) compared BCT (group format) to alcohol-focused spouse involvement and treatment for problem drinkers only. For those whose partners participated, identified drinkers reported fewer heavy drinking days and more abstinence/light drinking days in the year following treatment relative to treatment for problem drinkers only. However, the combination of alcohol-focused spouse involvement and BCT yielded no better outcomes than alcohol-focused spouse involvement alone. More research is needed on the utility of ABCT for problem drinkers. It is possible that couples with less severe alcohol problems may also have less severe couple relationship problems, so ABCT-related improvements may not be as marked. It is also possible that these couples may have more circumscribed problems than those with severe alcohol problems and that a tailored ABCT program to meet circumscribed relationship issues might yet prove effective. It would be surprising if such couples approaches were not helpful to couples with less severe alcohol problems, but this remains an empirical question yet to be tested.

Personality and Type 2 Diabetes

Mika Kivimäki , ... Markus Jokela , in Personality and Disease , 2018

Conclusions and Practical Implications

In this narrative review , we have described evidence for an association between personality and diabetes. Individuals with high conscientiousness seem to experience a reduced risk of developing, and dying from, diabetes, indicating that this personality trait may affect both the etiology and prognosis of type 2 diabetes. One of the mechanisms underlying the protective effect of high conscientiousness was the ability to maintain a healthy body weight. Other evidence suggests bidirectionality whereby having multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes, was related to reductions in conscientiousness over time.

In general, the contribution of personality to diabetes risk and prognosis seemed relatively modest compared with conventional diabetes risk factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity. In light of this small effect size and the overall difficulty to modify psychological characteristics, personality is unlikely to be considered as an important risk factor in diabetes prevention strategies. In relation to targeted strategies, however, personality might have a role. Better understanding of the role of personality in diabetes etiology and progression could help in developing more personalized prevention and treatment strategies for people with high risk of diabetes and those who already have type 2 diabetes.

Environmental protection through societal change

Sebastian Bamberg , ... Maxie Schulte , in Psychology and Climate Change , 2018

8.4.1 Positive and negative outcomes of being an activist

In an extensive narrative review , Vestergren, Drury, and Chiriac (2016) summarized the outcomes for participants after they had taken part in protest and activism. The authors categorized the changes they found in published research articles into two domains, the behavioral or objective and the psychological or subjective changes. As already suggested, these effects point to both negative and positive personal outcomes for individuals engaging in protest and activism. On the one hand, activists reported negative objective changes, such as a higher rate of divorces, fewer children, and tension affecting personal relationships, which were not part of their activism. These effects might be related, for example, to participants’ changes in attitudes toward life or a lack of time caused by the engagement in collective actions. However, on the other hand, activists also described the formation of new and strong social relationships during the collective action. They emphasized positive subjective changes of, e.g., feeling empowered by the participation, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, taking up a new job in the educational, social or creative area, gaining new organizational skills and knowledge.

Participating in collective action in general and in the context of environmental activism more specifically can be a frustrating enterprise. Especially when actions do not succeed as planned, such failures can evoke feelings of frustration and helplessness. Activists need strategies for dealing with frustration to ensure their continued participation, given that fundamental societal change usually needs a long time to unfold and that the process of change is often characterized by setbacks. One obvious psychosocial resource for coping with these negative experiences is the group itself: As part of groups, individuals experience that collective action helps them deal with what might seem like an unsolvable, overwhelming problem at first. To elaborate on this idea of the group as a psychological resource, we briefly review evidence from the London road protests including the mass occupation of a green area ( Drury & Reicher, 2005 ). This campaign in northeast London was part of an active UK-wide antiroads movement. People living in the area were involved and hundreds of people motivated by ecological principles joined the protests. The activists mobilized for a rally at a green area, which should be removed within the construction of the road. On the day of the rally, contractors had erected a fence around the green and it was guarded by security. The rally first took place in front of the fence. After the rally had finished, participants started to climb over the fence, started to push it down, and the crowd entered the site.

The Human Hypothalamus: Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Michael Nair-Collins , Ari R. Joffe , in Handbook of Clinical Neurology , 2021

Management of the patient diagnosed as “brain dead”

There are many narrative reviews on the management of patients diagnosed as brain dead ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ; Maciel and Greer, 2016 ; Chamorro-Jambrina et al., 2017 ; Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). There are also systematic reviews ( D’Aragon et al., 2017 ; Buchanan and Mehta, 2018 ) and guidelines on this management ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). These publications give guidance on all acute clinical management of patients with brain death, with an emphasis on maintaining organ functions to optimize organ donation rates. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to discuss all of this management, and here we focus on what has been called Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) aimed to replace hypothalamic–pituitary axis hormonal deficiencies.

When hypothalamic–posterior pituitary function is lost, indicated by central diabetes insipidus (see previously for manifestations of this), treatment with antidiuretic hormone replacement is indicated to prevent dehydration, hypovolemia, hemodynamic instability, and hypernatremia from the hypoosmotic polyuria. This can be done using desmopressin (1-deamino-8- d -arginine vasopressin or DDAVP), a vasopressin analogue with a much greater affinity for V2 renal receptors than for V1 vascular smooth muscle receptors. Usually, a dose of 1–4   mcg IV is used initially, typically followed by 1–2   mcg IV q6h titrated to maintain urine output <   34   mL/kg/h ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dose for DDAVP is 0.25–1   mcg IV q6h for the same target urine output ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). If the dosing is adequate, intravenous fluids can be administered as insensible losses (20% maintenance fluids as dextrose 5% in 0.9% sodium chloride) plus urine output (as normal saline (NS)); if the serum sodium is dropping at a rate more than 10   mmol/L/day, and urine sodium is measured to be much lower than that of NS (i.e., ≪   154   mmol/L), urine replacement fluid may need to be changed to 0.45% sodium chloride with a close following of serum sodium measured every 4–6   h initially.

Another option to replace antidiuretic hormone is to use vasopressin, which has affinity for all three receptors, and thus can treat diabetes insipidus and also improve vasodilatory shock from vasopressin deficiency at the vascular smooth muscle V1 receptor ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ; Maciel and Greer, 2016 ; Chamorro-Jambrina et al., 2017 ; Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). In the presence of hypotension from vasodilatory shock, vasopressin is considered as a first-line vasoactive agent and given by intravenous infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). The dosing of vasopressin suggested in the literature can be confusing, given variously in units/min, units/h, milliunits/h, milliunits/kg/min (mU/kg/min), etc., and clinicians need to pay close attention to these details when prescribing vasopressin to avoid dosing errors. We suggest that the dose used is best given as 0.3–0.7   mU/kg/min, with the maximum being an absolute dose of 40   mU/min (which is 2.4   U/h) IV, titrated to effect on blood pressure and urine output of ~   100   mL/h in adults and 2–3   mL/kg/h in children. Oral DDAVP is used in the setting of chronic vasopressin deficiency from loss of hypothalamic–posterior pituitary function; however, this is not a reliable treatment in the acute setting and will not be discussed more here.

More controversial is whether to treat for hypothalamic–anterior pituitary loss of function. As reviewed previously, central thyroid deficiency may occur in 16%–22% of patients with brain death and central adrenal deficiency in at least 27%–29% of patients with brain death. Studies and reviews focus on whether replacing thyroid and adrenal hormones improves the outcomes of the number of organs donated and post-organ-transplant organ function, and not on efficacy for long-term maintenance. Most narrative reviews suggest replacement of thyroid and corticosteroid hormones based on retrospective observational studies and expert opinion; however, the evidence from randomized controlled trials is not supportive of this practice ( Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). There are no studies of the efficacy of HRT in pediatric patients.

Thyroid hormone replacement has had no effect on the number of organs donated (based on findings from five of six observational studies), on heart donation rates (based on four of six observational studies and four of four randomized controlled trials), or on heart function (based on three of three randomized controlled trials; Buchanan and Mehta, 2018 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). Nevertheless, the Society of Critical Care Medicine guideline still suggests that thyroid replacement be “considered” for hemodynamically unstable donors or for potential heart donors with “left ventricular ejection fraction less than 45%” ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). If used, T4 can be given as 20   mcg IV bolus followed by 10   mcg/h IV, or, if available, T3 can be given as 4   mcg IV bolus followed by 3   mcg/h IV infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dosing of T4 is an initial bolus of 1–5   mcg/kg IV followed by 0.8–1.4   mcg/kg/h IV infusion. These ranges are based on age: for age ranges of 0–6   months, 6–12   months, 1–5   years, 6–12   years, 13–16   years, and   greater than 16   years, the loading dose is 5, 4, 3, 2.5, 1.5, and 0.8   mcg/kg IV, respectively, followed by the infusion dose of 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.0, 0.8, and 0.8   mcg/kg/h IV, respectively. T3 dosing in pediatrics is 0.05–0.2   mcg/kg/h IV infusion, with the higher dose used in younger patients ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). Again, for chronic thyroid deficiency, oral dosing is used, and this is beyond the scope of this review.

Replacement of corticosteroids has had a possible benefit on treating hypotension (based on two of four observational studies reporting increased donor blood pressure; however, this was not confirmed in meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials), no clear benefit on the number of organs donated (based on five observational studies and two randomized controlled trials), and no effect on post-organ-transplant organ function in recipients (based on nine randomized controlled trials) ( D’Aragon et al., 2017 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). In spite of these findings, for unclear reasons, the guideline from the Society of Critical Care Medicine states that administration of corticosteroids “reduces the potential deleterious effects of the inflammatory cascade on donor organ function” and therefore recommends using methylprednisolone 15   mg/kg (up to 1   g) IV daily or 250   mg IV bolus followed by 100   mg/h infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dose is 20–30   mg/kg IV daily (up to a maximum of 1   g IV daily) ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). Some reviews suggest an alternative is to use hydrocortisone 1   mg/kg/dose q6h, up to 50   mg IV q6h ( Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). In the setting of chronic adrenal insufficiency oral corticosteroids are used, and the dosing is beyond the scope of this review.

It is important to emphasize that these reviews and guidelines only address the acute short-term (i.e., at most days) management of the hypothalamic–pituitary axis in brain-dead patients. No study we are aware of addresses whether treatment of thyroid and/or adrenal failure can change the results of apnea testing. No study we are aware of addresses cases of “chronic-brain-death” where testing for, and treatment of central thyroid and/or adrenal failure may be used to support homeostasis. The testing and treatment of these deficiencies in the chronic setting are beyond the scope of this chapter.

Health Psychology

Chris J. Main , Michael K. Nicholas , in Comprehensive Clinical Psychology (Second Edition) , 2022 The Yellow Flags Framework

In 1997, following a narrative review , a system for the identification and management of (primarily) psychological risk factors (or yellow flags) for the development of chronic low back disability were developed. The clinical yellow flags were further differentiated from psychiatric factors ( orange flags) and socio-occupational factors. The latter comprised blue flags potentially modifiable worker and workplace centered risk factors (such as perceptions of work as harmful or the possibility or work accommodations); and black flags or system factors such as conditions of employment, and benefit entitlement that are outside the immediate control of the employee and/or the team trying to facilitate the return to work. They are more fully described elsewhere ( Main et al., 2008 ; Nicholas et al., 2011 ; Shaw et al., 2009 ).

There is specific evidence for both yellow flags and blue flags as risk factors for long-term work disability. There also is evidence for the influence of pain severity and level of depressive symptoms on the transition to chronicity. The influence of these factors is variable across studies, and there is dispute among authors as to their relative importance, but the weight of current evidence supports the yellow flag hypothesis, with maladaptive pain coping behaviors, anxiety, and depressive features being especially salient factors. ( Chou and Shekelle, 2010 ). However, the Flags classification is offered however as a framework rather than a model and has been developed as a way of thinking about interventions in the context of obstacles to recovery. In that sense it aligns both with the sociological framework distinguishing macro-, meso- and micro-levels of focus, but draws attention to fact that the prevention of chronic pain or disability may involve different sorts of solution. The framework has three important features. It offers a “systems perspective” and assumes that an adequate understanding of the problem requires consideration of both the injured worker and the individual's social and occupational context. It contains both clinical and occupational elements. Finally, it makes an important distinction between the individual's perception of the situation and the objective features. However, it is important to understand yellow flags in context and to appreciate that they do not operate in isolation from other factors.

97% Unique

Composing an Authentic, Academic Narrative Literature Review: How to Evaluate Scholarly Articles and Write a Thorough Narrative Literature Review

Don't get caught plagiarizing

Over the course of many years of teaching, I’ve found that both my students and I struggle with our course unit on research writing. It’s boring, it’s difficult, and we all undoubtedly become aggravated with each other throughout the process.

If you’ve ever experienced a lesson burnout, like I have so many times, you know how frustrating it can be for both teacher and students. Unless you’ve written tons of research papers in your lifetime, they can seem like a daunting task. This is especially true for middle school and high school students who are likely just learning how to do so.

If your students are embarking on a research project, one of their first steps in the research process will be completing a comprehensive narrative literature review.

Ironically, I’ve had to do my own narrative literature review of sorts to bring you the resources you’ll find herein. Of note, after you’ve made it to the end of this post, you’ll be able to effectively guide your students in composing a narrative literature review by focusing on these basic tenets:

What is a narrative literature review?

Defining, Differentiating, and Composing a Narrative Literature Review

Essentially, it is a step in the research process that follows selecting a topic and asking a research question. Before developing an engaging thesis, a researcher has to ascertain that scholarly literature exists in support of their proposed thesis.

There Are Many Important Steps in the Research Process

For students who have grown up with the ability to simply Google a wealth of information and receive desired results in a moment’s time, vetting sources may seem like a foreign concept. Teaching your students how to write this type of work will teach them how to scrutinize sources.

But what is a narrative literature review? According to top researchers, “A literature review is a type of research article published in a professional peer-reviewed journal.” These articles are published in vetted, scholarly journals that you and your students can trust as fact.

In essence, your students select a research topic then hit the databases in search of reputable, trustworthy journal articles that answer their research query and support their anticipated position on that topic. By reviewing the existing literature on the selected topic, students can be sure there is proven data and a body of existing knowledge that supports their thesis.

According to J.D. Baker, a professor at Charles Sturt University, acquiring current and relevant literature on a given topic is, “…an essential part of the research process [that] help[s] to establish a theoretical framework and focus or context for your research.” For this reason, the narrative literature review may very well be one of the most important steps in the research process.

Narrative Literature Review Is One of the Most Important Parts of the Research Process

As one of the first few steps in the research process, a step that is likely a foreign task to your students, it’s imperative that the process is broken down into simplified, manageable tasks.

Rebecca Alber, blogger for Edutopia, discusses the importance of scaffolding projects for students. She expounds upon the pedagogy of breaking projects into manageable chunks and “providing concrete structure for each.”

By reading through and analyzing the body of knowledge on a given topic, researchers, like your students, can focus and justify their research. As discussed here , the thesis is the most important part of a research paper, but you can’t arrive at your thesis without a thorough narrative literature review.

In this video, research specialist, Sarah Bronson, explains what a narrative literature review does, how to plan it, and how to write a cohesive and proper review.

Systematic vs. Narrative Literature Reviews: Knowing the Difference

In short, the difference between a narrative literature review and a systematic literature review has to do with the search terms used and the methodology employed when searching databases.

According to those in the know, “A narrative literature review is fairly broad, as it involves gathering, critiquing and summarizing journal articles and textbooks about a particular topic.” In other words, you enter general search terms into a search engine and sift through the yielded articles.

These Are the Key Steps in Writing Narrative Literature Review

Essentially, a narrative literature review summarizes and synthesizes the body of work on a topic. The review may be generally focused on a broad topic or a specific research question.

A systematic literature review, on the other hand, “tend[s] to use specific search terms and inclusion/exclusion criteria, whereas the criteria for narrative reviews may not be as strict.” This type of work is best employed by writers who have already focused their query and/or thesis. By including or excluding particular terms, a more pointed search return is gleaned.

In essence, the goal of a systematic literature review is to answer a focused objective question. To be clear, in this type of work, the researcher is working with a clearly defined question.

Check out this helpful video that further explicates the point and process of a systematic literature review. Cochrane provides insight into why, in some instances, a systematic review is more useful than its narrative counterpart.

Though both systematic and narrative literature reviews can be useful in producing desired and relevant research documents, knowing which method to use depends on your experience and how far into the research process you’ve gone.

If you are beginning preliminary research, you’ll likely only be able to perform a narrative literature review. You may have a general topic that you’d like to investigate before committing to a topic and a thesis.

However, if you’ve already focused your study and have a better grip on the direction you wish to go, then you may find the systematic review to be useful.

Again, the literature review is just one step in a series of interrelated steps that help students write a focused and cohesive research paper. In this article, you can take a look at later steps in the writing process.

Narrative Literature Reviews: Four Unique Approaches

According to Onwuegbuzie and Frels, there are four common types of narrative literature reviews. Essentially, literature reviews can be broken down into these four categories: general, methodological, theoretical, and historical. Let’s take a look at how they differ from one another.

There Are 4 Main Types of the Narrative Literature Review

A general literature review takes a close look at the most important and most current knowledge on a given topic. This type of work will form the basis for your thesis or dissertation; it’s what you’ll do before focusing your query.

Sources cited in a general literature review may include scholarly articles, governmental data, books, interviews, and websites. The general literature includes a summary and assessment of the literature.

A methodological literature review defines the methodology used to apprehend the literature. In other words, this type of paper outlines and explains research methods and parameters.

A Methodological Literature Review Can Help You to Highlight and Understand All the Research Methods

The methodological literature review analyzes how information was arrived at not necessarily what the literature asserts.

A theoretical literature review analyzes how theories inform research practices. Basically, this type of paper identifies pre-existing theories, the connection between and among them, how well scrutinized the theories are, and the development of new possible theories.

Finally, a historical literature review focuses on the emergence, development, and historical context of a research topic as it presents in a body of knowledge. To be clear, this type of literature review traces the history of a particular issue or theory and how it has evolved since its onset.

In this excellent resource featuring Leigh Hall of teachingacademia.com, Hall further explains the different types of narrative literature reviews. Hall explains the four types of reviews in further detail to help writers determine which is best suited for their research purposes.

Teachers should be clear about their expectations of students concerning which type of narrative literature review is expected of them. A closer look at which type of review is best suited to your students’ projects can help you, the teacher, in guiding your students.

As one of the most important steps in the research process, it’s imperative students can successfully complete a literature review before moving on in the research process.

Lisa L. Munro, Phd., a blogger who examines the importance of creating writing communities among our students, asserts the importance of, “writing a concise literature review just comprehensive enough for the purpose of an academic journal article.”

Narrative Literature Review: A Writer’s Checklist

The writing process is a step-by-step undertaking and some steps are more of a process than others. That’s especially true of composing a narrative literature review.

This Step-by-Step Process Takes Time but It's Worth It

Essentially, a narrative literature review is a project in and of itself. A proper review adheres to the following steps.

Entitle your review as a “review of…” Titling your work this way lets your reader know exactly what you’re setting out to do in the subsequent paragraphs. However, as a researcher, doing so helps you keep your sources organized and makes it easy to refer back to that source.

Write a brief summary of the article and how it applies to your course of study. This step is where you synthesize the information gleaned from a particular source. It will provide you, the researcher, with an opportunity to decide if it’s useful information that will support your research query.

Your abstract should include a sentence about how the source applies to your own research, your purported thesis, a summary of the literature, and conclusions you’ve made based on your findings.


The writer provides his/her rationale and objectives for the literature review. Your introduction should establish your topic of study and an explanation of why your research is important.

Describe the methods used in performing the research. Essentially this is a few sentences explaining the steps and mediums used to acquire your sources. This indicates whether or not your research comes from reputable sources.

Nowadays You Can Easily Find Billions of Sources

Here is where you explain if you used computer databases along with the search terms you employed, scoured physical files at a given office building, read physical texts on a given topic, etc.


The writer discusses his/her discoveries as well as an overall summary of the information. Without repeating what you’ve written in the other parts of your review, in the discussion, you summarize your main findings, interpret those findings, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the given source, compare your findings with other literature on the topic, explain how and if your findings answer your research query, and assert if your thesis is supported by the literature.

In this helpful tutorial, David Taylor, an online writing professor, walks you through the formatting of a literature review. He walks writers through the five-step process of completing a paper in less than 30 minutes.

As in writing any type of composition, students should be reminded to carefully proofread for clarity and correctness. I always suggest that students read their compositions aloud as readers will often hear mistakes before they see them.

A final consideration that students inevitably need to be reminded of is avoiding plagiarism. I find it’s helpful to define plagiarism for students so there’s no question about why copying another’s ideas is problematic.

There are many online plagiarism checkers for teachers and students to use to ensure work is entirely authentic. Check out this article for some tips and tricks for avoiding and identifying plagiarism.

Useful Resources

One of the most arduous tasks in a research project is gathering the right sources for your purpose. Help students understand how to search in the right places for articles and how to evaluate sources.

One of the questions my students rightfully ask is why they can’t use news media websites. News networks like CNN deliver the facts, don’t they? This article may help you and them to better recognize and evaluate credible source material.

A thorough narrative literature review will get your students off on the right foot. Everything after the literature review falls into place more readily when you have the right sources for your purpose.

97% Unique

11.8  Writing an abstract

All full reviews must include an abstract of not more than 400 words. The abstract should be kept as brief as possible without sacrificing important content. Abstracts to Cochrane reviews are published in MEDLINE and the Science Citation Index, and are made freely available on the internet. It is therefore important that they can be read as stand-alone documents.

The abstract should summarize the key methods, results and conclusions of the review and should not contain any information that is not in the review. Links to other parts of the review (such as references, studies, tables and figures) may not be included in the abstract. A hypothetical example of an abstract is included in Box 11.8.a .

Abstracts should be targeted primarily at healthcare decision makers (clinicians, informed consumers and policy makers) rather than just to researchers. Terminology should be reasonably comprehensible to a general rather than a specialist healthcare audience. Abbreviations should be avoided, except where they are widely understood (for example, HIV). Where essential, other abbreviations should be spelt out (with the abbreviations in brackets) on first use. Names of drugs and interventions that can be understood internationally should be used wherever possible. Trade names should not be used.

The content under each heading in the abstract should be as follows:

Background: This should be one or two sentences to explain the context or elaborate on the purpose and rationale of the review. If this version of the review is an update of an earlier one, it is helpful to include a sentence such as “This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in YEAR, and previously updated in YEAR”.

Objectives:  This should be a precise statement of the primary objective of the review, ideally in a single sentence, matching the Objectives in the main text of the review. Where possible the style should be of the form “To assess the effects of   [intervention or comparison] for [health problem] for/in [types of people, disease or problem and setting if specified]”.

Search methods: This should list the sources and the dates of the last search, for each source, using the active form ‘We searched….’ or, if there is only one author, the passive form can be used, for example, ‘Database X, Y, Z were searched’. Search terms should not be listed here. If the CRG’s Specialized Register was used, this should be listed first in the form ‘Cochrane X Group Specialized Register’. The order for listing other databases should be the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, other databases. The date range of the search for each database should be given. For the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials this should be in the form ‘Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials ( The Cochrane Library 2007, Issue 1)’. For most other databases, such as MEDLINE, it should be in the form ‘MEDLINE (January 1966 to December 2006)’. Searching of bibliographies for relevant citations can be covered in a generic phrase ‘reference lists of articles’. If there were any constraints based on language or publication status, these should be listed. If individuals or organizations were contacted to locate studies this should be noted and it is preferable to use ‘We contacted pharmaceutical companies’ rather than a listing of all the pharmaceutical companies contacted. If journals were specifically handsearched for the review, this should be noted but handsearching to help build the Specialized Register of the CRG should not be listed.

Selection criteria: These should be given as ‘ [type of study] of [type of intervention or comparison] in [disease, problem or type of people]‘ . Outcomes should only be listed here if the review was restricted to specific outcomes.

Data collection and analysis: This should be restricted to how data were extracted and assessed, and not include details of what data were extracted. This section should cover whether data extraction and assessments of risk of bias were done by more than one person. If the authors contacted investigators to obtain missing information, this should be noted here. What steps, if any, were taken to identify adverse effects should be noted.

Main results: This section should begin with the total number of studies and participants included in the review, and brief details pertinent to the interpretation of the results (for example, the risk of bias in the studies overall or a comment on the comparability of the studies, if appropriate). It should address the primary objective and be restricted to the main qualitative and quantitative results (generally including not more than six key results). The outcomes included should be selected on the basis of which are most likely to help someone making a decision about whether or not to use a particular intervention. Adverse effects should be included if these are covered in the review. If necessary, the number of studies and participants contributing to the separate outcomes should be noted, along with concerns over quality of evidence specific to these outcomes. The results should be expressed narratively as well as quantitatively if the numerical results are not clear or intuitive (such as those from a standardized mean differences analysis). The summary statistics in the abstract should be the same as those selected as the defaults for the review, and should be presented in a standard way, such as ‘odds ratio 2.31 (95% confidence interval 1.13 to 3.45)’. Ideally, risks of events (percentage) or averages (for continuous data) should be reported for both comparison groups. If overall results are not calculated in the review, a qualitative assessment or a description of the range and pattern of the results can be given. However, ‘vote counts’ in which the numbers of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ studies are reported should be avoided.

Authors’ conclusions: The primary purpose of the review should be to present information, rather than to offer advice or recommendations. The Authors’ conclusions should be succinct and drawn directly from the findings of the review so that they directly and obviously reflect the main results. Assumptions should generally not be made about practice circumstances, values, preferences, tradeoffs; and the giving of advice or recommendations should generally be avoided. Any important limitations of data and analyses should be noted. Important conclusions about the implications for research should be included if these are not obvious.

Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Definition and Purpose of Abstracts

An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.

If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.

The Contents of an Abstract

Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.

Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:

Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.

When to Write Your Abstract

Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.

Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract

The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.

The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.

The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).

Sample Abstract 1

From the social sciences.

Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses

Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.

“The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the topic under study (the “economic resemblance of spouses”). This sentence also implies the question underlying this research study: what are the various causes—and the interrelationships among them—for this trend?] The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor—a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. [Annotation for the previous two sentences: These next two sentences explain what previous research has demonstrated. By pointing out the limitations in the methods that were used in previous studies, they also provide a rationale for new research.] We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The data, research and analytical methods used in this new study.] Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.” (p. 985) [Annotation for the previous two sentences: The major findings from and implications and significance of this study.]

Sample Abstract 2

From the humanities.

Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications

Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.

“From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a network of young urban migrant men created an underground pulp fiction publishing industry in the city of Dar es Salaam. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the context for this research and announces the topic under study.] As texts that were produced in the underground economy of a city whose trajectory was increasingly charted outside of formalized planning and investment, these novellas reveal more than their narrative content alone. These texts were active components in the urban social worlds of the young men who produced them. They reveal a mode of urbanism otherwise obscured by narratives of decolonization, in which urban belonging was constituted less by national citizenship than by the construction of social networks, economic connections, and the crafting of reputations. This article argues that pulp fiction novellas of socialist era Dar es Salaam are artifacts of emergent forms of male sociability and mobility. In printing fictional stories about urban life on pilfered paper and ink, and distributing their texts through informal channels, these writers not only described urban communities, reputations, and networks, but also actually created them.” (p. 210) [Annotation for the previous sentences: The remaining sentences in this abstract interweave other essential information for an abstract for this article. The implied research questions: What do these texts mean? What is their historical and cultural significance, produced at this time, in this location, by these authors? The argument and the significance of this analysis in microcosm: these texts “reveal a mode or urbanism otherwise obscured . . .”; and “This article argues that pulp fiction novellas. . . .” This section also implies what previous historical research has obscured. And through the details in its argumentative claims, this section of the abstract implies the kinds of methods the author has used to interpret the novellas and the concepts under study (e.g., male sociability and mobility, urban communities, reputations, network. . . ).]

Sample Abstract/Summary 3

From the sciences.

Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells

Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.

“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence announces the topic under study, summarizes what’s already known or been accomplished in previous research, and signals the rationale and goals are for the new research and the problem that the new research solves: How can researchers reprogram fibroblasts into iCPCs?] Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipo-tency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. [Annotation for the previous four sentences: The methods the researchers developed to achieve their goal and a description of the results.] Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354) [Annotation for the previous sentence: The significance or implications—for drug discovery, disease modeling, and therapy—of this reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs.]

Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract

Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study

Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.

Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.

“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.

METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.

RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.

CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)

Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:

how to write an abstract for a narrative review

Academic and Professional Writing

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Analysis Papers

Reading Poetry

A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis

Using Literary Quotations

Play Reviews

Writing a Rhetorical Précis to Analyze Nonfiction Texts

Incorporating Interview Data

Grant Proposals

Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics

Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing

Job Materials and Application Essays

Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs

Resume Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips

Cover Letters

Business Letters

Proposals and Dissertations

Resources for Proposal Writers

Resources for Dissertators

Research Papers

Planning and Writing Research Papers

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Creating Poster Presentations

Thank-You Notes

Advice for Students Writing Thank-You Notes to Donors

Reading for a Review

Critical Reviews

Writing a Review of Literature

Scientific Reports

Scientific Report Format

Sample Lab Assignment

Writing for the Web

Writing an Effective Blog Post

Writing for Social Media: A Guide for Academics

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 11, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis ,  dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.

how to write an abstract for a narrative review

See editing example

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, November 11). How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/abstract/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis or dissertation introduction, shorten your abstract or summary, how to write a literature review | guide, examples, & templates, what is your plagiarism score.


How do I Write a Literature Review?: #5 Writing the Review


You've done the research and now you're ready to put your findings down on paper. When preparing to write your review, first consider how will you organize your review.

The actual review generally has 5 components:

Abstract  -  An abstract is a summary of your literature review. It is made up of the following parts:

Introduction :   Like a typical research paper introduction, provide the reader with a quick idea of the topic of the literature review:

Body :  The body of a literature review contains your discussion of sources and can be organized in 3 ways-

You may also want to include a section on "questions for further research" and discuss what questions the review has sparked about the topic/field or offer suggestions for future studies/examinations that build on your current findings.

Conclusion :  In the conclusion, you should:

Conclude your paper by providing your reader with some perspective on the relationship between your literature review's specific topic and how it's related to it's parent discipline, scientific endeavor, or profession.

Bibliography :   Since a literature review is composed of pieces of research, it is very important that your correctly cite the literature you are reviewing, both in the reviews body as well as in a bibliography/works cited. To learn more about different citation styles, visit the " Citing Your Sources " tab.

About the Library

Using the Library

Interlibrary Services

Warner Memorial Library

how to write an abstract for a narrative review

Social Sciences & Humanities Open

ISSN: 2590-2911

How to write a great abstract for your academic manuscript

September 2020

You’ve collected your data, analyzed your findings, written your manuscript, and all that’s left to do before you submit your paper is to write the abstract.  Quick and easy, right?  But wait! 

Despite the fact that abstracts are the most visible and highly-read component of nearly all academic articles, many authors treat them as an afterthought.  However, a strong abstract is essential to ensuring your paper has the largest impact and readership possible, and to facilitate fast and appropriate peer review.  At Social Sciences and Humanities Open, we recommend viewing your abstract as a publication in itself, where the goal is to condense the key information from your article into a clear, concise form. 

We understand that for many researchers, writing a strong abstract can be a daunting ask. This resource is designed to help authors who would like to submit to Social Sciences and Humanities Open understand the importance of writing excellent abstracts, key components to include in their abstracts, and common errors to avoid when writing up.

Why should authors take the time to write a stellar abstract?  

Great Abstracts Increase Readership   

Researchers publish articles in order to disseminate knowledge to other academics, practitioners, and decision-makers. However, before these audiences download, read, and cite your paper, they read your abstract. In fact, the majority of readers will only read your abstract. There are hundreds of thousands of journal articles published every year, published in thousands of academic journals. To deal with this flood of information, researchers have become very discerning when choosing the articles to which they’ll devote their limited attention.  Abstracts are how  they decide which articles to read, and which to ignore . 

Articles which feature accurate, informative, well-written abstracts are more likely to be read, shared, and cited than articles which have incomplete or careless abstracts. Think of the abstract as your chance to  pitch your article  to the reader:  y our goal as an author is for your  abstract to be so clear and compelling that readers will be excited to click through, download, read, and cite the full article.   

Clearly-Outlined  Abstracts Speed Up the  Editorial Process

All researchers want fast, quality, and helpful peer reviews, and writing strong abstracts are a simple way authors can help enhance the editorial process. Like most journals, peer reviewers for Social Sciences and Humanities Open are invited to read your abstract— not the full article— before deciding whether they’d like to review your paper.  Reviewers use your abstract to identify if your area of research, theoretical framework and methods are aligned with their own research ; failing to include this critical information in the abstract can lead to mis-matched peer reviews and less helpful feedback. 

Reviewers are also  more likely to accept invitations to review papers which address interesting research questions and are generally well-wr itten . Your abstract is your opportunity to demonstrate to reviewers that your research article is interesting, carefully considered, compelling, and worth their time to review. If you’re successful in writing an abstract which is enticing to reviewers, our editorial team will need to invite fewer individuals to read your paper, leading to faster turnaround times for comments and decisions.  

What is included in a strong abstract?  

Understanding the importance of abstracts can make writing them feel like an overwhelming task. Luckily for authors, nearly all effective abstracts contain the same information, and it is relatively simple to ensure your abstract contains the necessary components. While the expectations of abstracts vary between academic disciplines, we generally expect to see the following components in abstracts submitted to Social Sciences and Humanities Open.  

We do not suggest you include these components as distinct sections or headers in your abstract. Instead, we recommend you write your abstract as a  single block-style paragraph . However, when writing and proofreading your abstract, use the following checklist to ensure you have included the necessary information for your audience: 

Background and research question(s) 

In one or two sentences, give your readers a very broad understanding of the need-to-know background information for your study, and how your paper will contribute to this knowledge. You may want to explicitly include your research question in this section; make sure it is concise and to-the-point!  

Theoretical or conc eptual framework

Readers should, upon reading your abstract, generally understand your epistemological and theoretical approach to your research problem. This is particularly important in fields which are dominated by canonical theorists! In one or two sentences, outline the theoretical or conceptual framework you use in your paper.  

Research Design and Methodology

Your abstract should include an outline of how your study was conducted through a short description of your research design and methodology. Include, if relevant, your sample size, methods for analysis, and the duration of the study. Do not mention very specific details such as what statistical software was used for analysis or include citations for your methodological approach.  

The majority of your audience reads abstracts because they are interested in the results of published research. As such, the results section should be the longest component of your abstract. In three to six sentences, describe the key findings of your study in the order they are discussed in the manuscript. Aim to clearly describe how your results answer your research questions(s). Include as much detail as possible and remember to report negative findings. If relevant, be sure to include p-values for statistical tests.  


Provide readers a few key points regarding the implications of your study that you describe in your paper—both for your academic field, and, if applicable, for the communities your research involves. One to two sentences here is sufficient for this section.  

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing an abstract?  

Too wordy, or not detailed enough

Social Sciences and Humanities Open  does not have a strict word limit for abstracts. Ideally, however, your abstract will fall between 150 and 400 words. Generally speaking, abstracts shorter than 150 words do not contain enough information to properly summarize and present the research to the audience. Abstracts longer than 400 words, on the other hand, often contain too much information, and could likely benefit from a copy-edit to remove unnecessary sentences and phrases. Refer to the list above to ensure that you are including all necessary information in your abstract, and also that you are including only necessary information.  

Repeats the  i ntroduction 

Our editors often receive manuscripts with abstracts which are copied-and-pasted from the paper’s introduction section. Don’t be one of these authors! The requirements of an abstract are very different from the requirements of an introduction. Not only will an abstract which is copied-and-pasted from your introduction not provide the necessary information to your readers, it will suggest a lack of care to your editors and reviewers—something authors should do their best to avoid!   

I ncludes  r eferences,  j argon, and  a cronyms 

The abstract should be written as a stand-alone document, and should also be understandable to non-specialist audiences. Many writers aim for their abstracts to be written at a level that would be understandable for first- or second-year undergraduate students in their fields. For this reason, it is recommended that authors exclude including references, jargon, and acronyms in their abstracts. If you feel you must include a reference (for example, if your analytical framework depends on a canonical work), try to limit the number of them, and be sure to cite the author and date. If included, acronyms should be written in full the first time they are introduced in the abstract.  

Grammatical Errors and Typos

Nothing turns a prospective reader or reviewer off from your article like typos, grammatical errors, passive voice, and unclear phrasing. Authors should take as much care in ensuring their abstracts are professionally presented as they do for the rest of their manuscript. We recommend doing several rounds of copy-editing before submitting your abstract, to ensure it reads as clearly and professionally as possible.  

Now, get writing that abstract!

Now that you know why you want a strong abstract, the key elements to include, and common mistakes to avoid, it’s time to write! Just as you produced several drafts of your manuscript before it was ready to submit, don’t be surprised if your abstract takes time and many rounds of edits before it’s complete. For authors unsure about the quality of their abstract, we recommend asking a non-specialist friend or colleague to read it over. Is your reader able to tell you, in broad terms, what your study was about and its contributions? Did they understand the language you used? Were all of your sentences typo-free? And, perhaps most importantly, were they interested in reading your full paper? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re ready to submit!  

The editorial team at SSHO developed this guide to help de-mystify the requirements and process of writing a stellar abstract for researchers. We hope this tool will assist SSHO authors with producing informative and attractive abstracts that will highlight their important research contributions, and allow their research to reach large and broad audiences. We can’t wait to read your abstracts!  

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Save citation to file

Email citation, add to collections.

Add to My Bibliography

Your saved search, create a file for external citation management software, your rss feed.

How to Do a Systematic Review: A Best Practice Guide for Conducting and Reporting Narrative Reviews, Meta-Analyses, and Meta-Syntheses


Systematic reviews are characterized by a methodical and replicable methodology and presentation. They involve a comprehensive search to locate all relevant published and unpublished work on a subject; a systematic integration of search results; and a critique of the extent, nature, and quality of evidence in relation to a particular research question. The best reviews synthesize studies to draw broad theoretical conclusions about what a literature means, linking theory to evidence and evidence to theory. This guide describes how to plan, conduct, organize, and present a systematic review of quantitative (meta-analysis) or qualitative (narrative review, meta-synthesis) information. We outline core standards and principles and describe commonly encountered problems. Although this guide targets psychological scientists, its high level of abstraction makes it potentially relevant to any subject area or discipline. We argue that systematic reviews are a key methodology for clarifying whether and how research findings replicate and for explaining possible inconsistencies, and we call for researchers to conduct systematic reviews to help elucidate whether there is a replication crisis.

Keywords: evidence; guide; meta-analysis; meta-synthesis; narrative; systematic review; theory.

Similar articles

LinkOut - more resources

Full text sources.

Other Literature Sources


NCBI Literature Resources

MeSH PMC Bookshelf Disclaimer

The PubMed wordmark and PubMed logo are registered trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Unauthorized use of these marks is strictly prohibited.


How To Write A Construction Project Narrative

March 6, 2023

Writing a construction project narrative is not as difficult as it may seem. By following a few simple steps, you can easily create a well-written narrative that will provide your readers with a detailed overview of your construction project. Before you begin writing your construction project narrative, you will need to gather all of the necessary information. This includes a list of materials, a project timeline , and a budget. Once you have this information, you can begin writing your narrative. When writing your construction project narrative, be sure to include a detailed description of your project. Include information such as the location of the project, the type of construction being done, and the expected completion date. Be sure to also include a list of any special features or amenities that will be included in the project. Once you have written a detailed description of your construction project, you will need to provide your readers with an overview of the budget. Include a breakdown of the costs associated with the project, as well as any financing options that are available. Finally, be sure to proofread your construction project narrative before you submit it. This will ensure that there are no errors or typos that could potentially harm your chances of being selected for the project.

The project narrative section of a business proposal is made up of goals, timelines, project management details, evaluation criteria, and long-term expectations. A proposal’s goal statement is an important part of demonstrating how you intend to accomplish it. Having this in place prior to the submission of the proposal helps the reader understand the significance of the project. A narrative should give an overview of the project’s completion and assist in the evaluation. Indicate the cost and time of the evaluation as well as the expected results. Keep in mind that the company has a long- term plan . What will the effects of the completed project be one, 5 and 10 years from now?

What Is Narrative Report In Project Proposal?

What Is Narrative Report In Project Proposal?

A narrative report in a project proposal is a section where you describe the story of your project. This is usually written after the section on objectives and goals, and it should include information on what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and why you think your project is worth doing. The narrative should be engaging and easy to read, and it should convince the reader that your project is worth pursuing.

Project Narrative Report

Project Narrative Report

A project narrative report is a document that outlines the progress and results of a project. It is used to communicate the status of the project to stakeholders and to provide a record of the project for future reference. The report should include a summary of the project’s objectives, a description of the work completed, and an assessment of the project’s results.

Project Narrative Example Nih

A project narrative is a document that describes your project. It should include information about your project’s goals, objectives, and activities. You should also describe the need for your project and how it will benefit the community.

The Project Summary and Project Narrative are required for federal grant proposals . The documents are frequently confused, and they can make simple mistakes that can be avoided. Grants that are written by experienced grant writers have the time and consideration they require. During this opportunity, you will be able to explain the significance of your project to public health. In addition to including a well-written and meaningful Project Summary and Project Narrative, both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation emphasize the importance of including a project summary and a project narrative when submitting a proposal. Samples of grant application materials have been generously provided by NIAID in order for the public to learn more about the grants. Any proposal that does not address both the project’s merit review criteria in its project summary will be rejected.

What Does A Project Narrative Look Like?

In a grant proposal or application, there is an element of project narrative. A scope and purpose statement describes how a project will be carried out. A good project narrative should be concise, organized, and written in direct, clear language.

What Is The Difference Between Project Summary And Project Narrative?

The table below compares the three to determine how they differ and what to include…Project Summary/Abstract and Project Narrative: What’s the Difference? Abstract/ SummaryProject Narrative30 lines of text or lessNo more than 2-3 sentences4 more rows (30 lines of text or less)

Photo of author

Recent POsts


  1. How To Write An Abstract For Your Dissertation A Good

    how to write an abstract for a narrative review

  2. 😂 How to write an academic abstract. How to Write an Abstract In APA Format. 2019-01-11

    how to write an abstract for a narrative review


    how to write an abstract for a narrative review

  4. How To Write An Abstract For A Journal Article

    how to write an abstract for a narrative review

  5. How To Write An Abstract For A Literature Review

    how to write an abstract for a narrative review

  6. How To Write An Abstract For A Literature Review Example

    how to write an abstract for a narrative review


  1. Strange Fruit

  2. Essay Writing

  3. Essay Writing

  4. difference between narrative review and systematic review

  5. ENC0025

  6. Tips for writing a successful abstract


  1. PDF Formatting Guide for Narrative Reviews

    Abstract . The Abstract should not exceed 4096 characters including spaces (about 650 words), and will usually be less than 500 words. (PubMed truncates abstracts at 4096 characters.) Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract. Abstracts for narrative reviews should include the following separate sections:

  2. Writing a Narrative Review in 4 Steps [and just 6 weeks]

    The first step in writing a narrative review is, naturally, identifying the topic. (To learn more about types of reviews, read this post .) Identify gaps and start to pick your topic You write a narrative review on a topic you're familiar with as a researcher, and a topic that needs reviewing right now.

  3. Structured abstracts for narrative reviews

    Background Explain the context of the problems you are addressing in the review. It can relate to the unsolved questions the review addresses, the burden of the disease or the pathophysiology of the disorder. Aims Do not use tautologies: do not repeat the title or the topic of the review.

  4. Narrative Review

    Steps for Conducting a Narrative Literature Review Step 1: Conduct a Search The published scientific literature is indexed in a variety of databases. Search these databases for studies. It is important to search numerous databases to ensure that the majority of relevant studies have been identified.

  5. Structured abstracts: narrative review

    To summarize the main findings from research on structured abstracts. Methods: A narrative review of all the relevant papers known to the author was conducted. Results: In 1987 the Ad Hoc Working Group for Critical Appraisal of the Medical Literature proposed guidelines for informative seven-headings abstracts.

  6. (PDF) Structured Abstracts. Narrative Review

    Abstract and Figures To summarize the main findings from research on structured abstracts. A narrative review of all the relevant papers known to the author was conducted. Authors and readers...

  7. Narrative Literature Review

    Your abstract should include a sentence about how the source applies to your own research, your purported thesis, a summary of the literature, and conclusions you've made based on your findings. Introduction The writer provides his/her rationale and objectives for the literature review.

  8. PDF Writing narrative style literature reviews

    tematic review methodologies that are aimed at reducing bias in the selection of articles for review and employing an effective bibliographic research strategy. The dynamics of narrative review writing, the organizational pattern of the text, the analysis, and the synthesis processes are also discussed. Keywords: Narrative review, Systematic ...

  9. How To Write an Abstract in 7 Steps (With an Example)

    Here are some tips to help you write your abstract: Stick to the word limit. Abstracts are usually 100-250 words long. Follow the specific formatting requirements for your abstract. Provide a statement of what the paper found rather than what it will ask or explore.

  10. Writing Abstracts for a Literature Review in APA Format

    When writing an abstract for a literature review, you take the same basic approach as you do for a general abstract. However, since you are reviewing other literature on a topic, you have some unique elements, including: First, briefly state the research topic and questions.

  11. 11.8 Writing an abstract

    All full reviews must include an abstract of not more than 400 words. The abstract should be kept as brief as possible without sacrificing important content. Abstracts to Cochrane reviews are published in MEDLINE and the Science Citation Index, and are made freely available on the internet.

  12. PDF Writing Narrative Literature Reviews

    Writing Narrative Literature Reviews ... tackle broader and more abstract questions, can engage in more post hoc theorizing ... A narrative literature review is valuable, however, when one is attempting to link together many studies on different topics, either for purposes of reinterpre- tation or interconnection. ...

  13. PDF How to Write an Abstract for a Literature Review

    The actual review generally has 5 components: Abstract - An abstract is a summary of your literature review. It is made up of the following parts: • A contextual sentence about your motivation behind your research topic • Your thesis statement • A descriptive statement about the types of literature used in the review • Summarize your ...

  14. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

    Definition and Purpose of Abstracts An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes: an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to…

  15. How to Write an Abstract

    When to write an abstract Step 1: Introduction Step 2: Methods Step 3: Results Step 4: Discussion Keywords Tips for writing an abstract Frequently asked questions about abstracts Abstract example Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed. Example: Humanities thesis abstract

  16. How do I Write a Literature Review?: #5 Writing the Review

    Well, this is the best place to start! Home Step #1: Choosing a Topic Step #2: Finding Information Step #3: Evaluating Content Step #4: Synthesizing Content #5 Writing the Review Citing Your Sources WRITING THE REVIEW You've done the research and now you're ready to put your findings down on paper.

  17. Secondary research

    Most journals allow for longer review articles - even longer than original primary research articles-often ranging from 5000-10000 words. Narrative reviews typically include: an abstract to summarize the article, an introduction to provide a background on the topic and to detail why such a review is required,

  18. How to write a great abstract for your academic manuscript

    However, a strong abstract is essential to ensuring your paper has the largest impact and readership possible, and to facilitate fast and appropriate peer review. At Social Sciences and Humanities Open, we recommend viewing your abstract as a publication in itself, where the goal is to condense the key information from your article into a clear ...

  19. How to write a conference abstract about a literature review?

    In any case, the abstract for a narrative/literature review for a journal article should start with two lines of background information on the topic being discussed in the review. This should be followed by one sentence of the aim of the review.

  20. How to Do a Systematic Review: A Best Practice Guide for ...

    The best reviews synthesize studies to draw broad theoretical conclusions about what a literature means, linking theory to evidence and evidence to theory. This guide describes how to plan, conduct, organize, and present a systematic review of quantitative (meta-analysis) or qualitative (narrative review, meta-synthesis) information.

  21. How To Write A Construction Project Narrative

    A project narrative report is a document that outlines the progress and results of a project. It is used to communicate the status of the project to stakeholders and to provide a record of the project for future reference. The report should include a summary of the project's objectives, a description of the work completed, and an assessment of the project's results.