It seems like we are at a deadlock when it comes to writing abstracts for our scientific papers. Let me explain you why.
One of our previously posts talks about what people read first once they have a new paper in hands (How people read scientific papers). After you already scanned the paper with your eyes, what you do?
Well, you probably read the abstract to have a general idea on what the study is about. This is a crucial moment because you decide if the paper is useful or not for your purposes. Perfect, it makes complete sense right? Right. So, why do we forget that when we are writing our abstracts?
A post by Inc. discusses about how difficult it is to understand what people are trying to say in abstracts – not to mention the rest of the paper.
Apparently there are a couple of reasons why this can happen:
- The desire to use accepted terminology to gain acceptance among professional peers
- Fear that the use of colloquial terms might bring unwanted ambiguity or connotations
- Immersion within a field to the degree where the professional doesn’t realize the degree of jargon they’re using
- The desire to save time, as jargon can summarize larger concepts
- The desire to appear superior or more powerful
- Increased technology breaking down communication barriers
- Increased acceptance of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships
- Lack of funding or resources making pooling resources necessary
- Heightened social pressures to publish to prove professionalism or experience
- Heightened work and home pressures that limit the time available from each individual to devote to study
It is quite a lot to take into account every time you write and abstract. What if I tell you that there is an alternative to this deadlock?
If you thought about graphical abstracts, you are right! Making abstracts visual solve all topics listed above. It solves it all for one simple reason: graphical abstracts work with images and words together. They need to be simple, well structured and relevant.