A proposal for more informative abstracts of review articles

Ann Intern Med. 1988 Apr;108(4):613-5. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-108-4-613.


This proposal presents guidelines for preparing informative abstracts of review articles. Six guidelines are proposed: 1. The abstract should begin with a precise statement of the primary objective of the review. 2. The data sources for the review should be succinctly summarized. 3. The criteria used to select studies from the data sources and the method by which these criteria were applied should be specified. 4. The guidelines used for abstracting data and assessing data quality should be described. 5. The main results of the review and the methods used to obtain these results should be stated. 6. Conclusions and potential applications of the review's results should be clearly and succinctly stated. Application of these guidelines can lead to efficient identification of relevant, scientifically sound review articles, a greater awareness of the vital elements of a good review article, more precise computerized literature searches, and improved peer-review processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abstracting and Indexing / standards*
  • Review Literature as Topic*