Journals Library

Scientific summary

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)
  • Have 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)