Journals Library

Scientific summary

The scientific summary should provide a succinct overview of the methods and results of your report. It will be included in your published report and also made available separately online. The summary should:

  • Not exceed 2400 words, including headings. Please include a word count at the bottom of your summary
  • Appear at the front of your final report as an unnumbered section without references, figures or tables
  • Cover all the key points from the main text of the report
  • Be written in a simple manner, with sufficient detail to help readers understand the results of the study and give confidence in the findings
  • Have an appropriate structure (see below)
  • Include funding details -  this should be only your main research award and should be worded as follows: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) XXX programme and will be published in full in XXX Journal; Vol. XX, No. XX. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.  Details of other funding, such as NIHR professorships and CLAHRC funding needs to be clearly shown in the statement of declared interests
  • Include study registration details, for example, if the report is a randomised controlled trial, the ISRCTN should be included at the end of the summary, whereas if the report is a systematic review a PROSPERO number should be included

We suggest the following main headings for your summary, but please use headings as appropriate for your report:

  • Background (if required)
  • Objectives (list of research questions)
  • Methods (how the research was conducted): data sources, study selection (inclusion criteria), data extraction (and assessment of validity), data synthesis
  • Results (research findings)
  • Conclusions: implications for healthcare, if appropriate; recommendations for research (numbered in priority order)

To aid readability, abbreviations may be used in the summary but must be defined at their first mention and again at their first mention in the main text of the report.  Commonly used abbreviations may be substituted at production stage, the final editorial decision rests with NETSCC.