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Writing a case report in 10 steps

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  • Victoria Stokes , foundation year 2 doctor, trauma and orthopaedics, Basildon Hospital ,
  • Caroline Fertleman , paediatrics consultant, The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust
  • victoria.stokes1{at}nhs.net

Victoria Stokes and Caroline Fertleman explain how to turn an interesting case or unusual presentation into an educational report

It is common practice in medicine that when we come across an interesting case with an unusual presentation or a surprise twist, we must tell the rest of the medical world. This is how we continue our lifelong learning and aid faster diagnosis and treatment for patients.

It usually falls to the junior to write up the case, so here are a few simple tips to get you started.

First steps

Begin by sitting down with your medical team to discuss the interesting aspects of the case and the learning points to highlight. Ideally, a registrar or middle grade will mentor you and give you guidance. Another junior doctor or medical student may also be keen to be involved. Allocate jobs to split the workload, set a deadline and work timeframe, and discuss the order in which the authors will be listed. All listed authors should contribute substantially, with the person doing most of the work put first and the guarantor (usually the most senior team member) at the end.

Getting consent

Gain permission and written consent to write up the case from the patient or parents, if your patient is a child, and keep a copy because you will need it later for submission to journals.

Information gathering

Gather all the information from the medical notes and the hospital’s electronic systems, including copies of blood results and imaging, as medical notes often disappear when the patient is discharged and are notoriously difficult to find again. Remember to anonymise the data according to your local hospital policy.

Write up the case emphasising the interesting points of the presentation, investigations leading to diagnosis, and management of the disease/pathology. Get input on the case from all members of the team, highlighting their involvement. Also include the prognosis of the patient, if known, as the reader will want to know the outcome.

Coming up with a title

Discuss a title with your supervisor and other members of the team, as this provides the focus for your article. The title should be concise and interesting but should also enable people to find it in medical literature search engines. Also think about how you will present your case study—for example, a poster presentation or scientific paper—and consider potential journals or conferences, as you may need to write in a particular style or format.

Background research

Research the disease/pathology that is the focus of your article and write a background paragraph or two, highlighting the relevance of your case report in relation to this. If you are struggling, seek the opinion of a specialist who may know of relevant articles or texts. Another good resource is your hospital library, where staff are often more than happy to help with literature searches.

How your case is different

Move on to explore how the case presented differently to the admitting team. Alternatively, if your report is focused on management, explore the difficulties the team came across and alternative options for treatment.

Finish by explaining why your case report adds to the medical literature and highlight any learning points.

Writing an abstract

The abstract should be no longer than 100-200 words and should highlight all your key points concisely. This can be harder than writing the full article and needs special care as it will be used to judge whether your case is accepted for presentation or publication.

Discuss with your supervisor or team about options for presenting or publishing your case report. At the very least, you should present your article locally within a departmental or team meeting or at a hospital grand round. Well done!

Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ’s policy on declaration of interests and declare that we have no competing interests.

how to write a case study abstract

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Writing Guides  /  15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

abstract examples

Demystifying Abstract Writing

An abstract represents a concise, well-articulated summary of an academic piece or research. But writing an abstract goes beyond merely creating a summary. In this piece, we’ll delve into examples of abstracts to illuminate what they truly are, along with the necessary tone, style, and word counts.

You’ll also see how diverse abstract writing can be, tailored according to the subject area. For instance, an abstract for empirical research in the sciences contrasts greatly from that of a humanities article.

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Learn-by-example to improve your academic writing

The Importance of Abstracts: Why Do We Write Them?

Every abstract you encounter, including our abstract writing example, has a few core characteristics. The primary role of an abstract is to encapsulate the essential points of a research article, much like a book’s back cover. The back jacket often influences whether you buy the book or not.

Similarly, academic papers are often behind paywalls, and the abstract assists readers in deciding if they should purchase the article. If you’re a student or researcher, the abstract helps you gauge whether the article is worth your time.

Furthermore, abstracts promote ongoing research in your field by incorporating keywords that allow others to locate your work. Knowing how to write a good abstract contributes to your professionalism, especially crucial for graduate-level studies. This skill might be vital when submitting your research to peer-reviewed journals or soliciting grant funding.

Breaking Down an Abstract: What’s Inside?

The contents of an abstract heavily rely on the type of study, research design, and subject area. An abstract may contain a succinct background statement highlighting the research’s significance, a problem statement, the methodologies used, a synopsis of the results, and the conclusions drawn.

When it comes to writing an abstract for a research paper, striking a balance between consciousness and informative detail is essential. Our examples of abstracts will help you grasp this balance better.

Moreover, you’ll learn how to format abstracts variably, matching the requirements of your degree program or publication guidelines.

Key Elements to Include in Your Abstract

  • Brief Background: Introduce the importance of the research from your point of view.
  • Problem Statement: Define the issue your research addresses, commonly referred to as the thesis statement.
  • Methodology: Describe the research methods you employed.
  • Synopsis: This should include a summary of your results and conclusions.
  • Keywords: Implement terms that others will use to find your article.

Types of Abstracts

  • Descriptive Abstracts: These give an overview of the source material without delving into results and conclusions.
  • Informative Abstracts: These offer a more detailed look into your research, including the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Always write your abstract in the present tense.
  • Keep track of word counts to maintain brevity.
  • The original text should guide your abstract.
  • Always provide a good synopsis in your abstract.
  • If needed, use your abstract to draft a compelling query letter.
  • Consider providing a literature review abstract if your research involves an extensive review of existing literature.

Types of Abstract

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab resource, there are two different types of abstract: informational and descriptive.

Although informative and descriptive abstracts seem similar, they are different in a few key ways.

An informative abstract contains all the information related to the research, including the results and the conclusion.

A descriptive abstract is typically much shorter, and does not provide as much information. Rather, the descriptive abstract just tells the reader what the research or the article is about and not much more.

The descriptive abstract is more of a tagline or a teaser, whereas the informative abstract is more like a summary.

You will find both types of abstracts in the examples below.

Abstract Examples

Informative abstract example 1.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been correlated with leadership effectiveness in organizations. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study assesses the importance of emotional intelligence on academic performance at the high school level.

The Emotional Intelligence rating scale was used, as well as semi-structured interviews with teachers. Participant grades were collected. Emotional intelligence was found to correlate positively with academic success. Implications for pedagogical practice are discussed.

Explanation

This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social sciences research. Most informative abstracts proceed in a logical fashion to reflect the organization of the main paper: with sections on the background, methods, results, and conclusions.

Informative Abstract Example 2

Social learning takes place through observations of others within a community. In diverse urban landscapes and through digital media, social learning may be qualitatively different from the social learning that takes place within families and tightly-knit social circles.

This study examines the differences between social learning that takes place in the home versus social learning that takes place from watching celebrities and other role models online. Results show that social learning takes place with equal efficacy. These results show that social learning does not just take place within known social circles, and that observations of others can lead to multiple types of learning.

This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social science research. After the background statement, the author discusses the problem statement or research question, followed by the results and the conclusions.

Informative Abstract Example 3

Few studies have examined the connection between visual imagery and emotional reactions to news media consumption. This study addresses the gap in the literature via the use of content analysis. Content analysis methods were used to analyze five news media television sites over the course of six months.

Using the Yolanda Metrics method, the researchers ascertained ten main words that were used throughout each of the news media sites. Implications and suggestions for future research are included.

This abstract provides an informative synopsis of a quantitative study on content analysis. The author provides the background information, addresses the methods, and also outlines the conclusions of the research.

Informative Abstract Example 4

This study explores the relationship between nurse educator theoretical viewpoints and nursing outcomes. Using a qualitative descriptive study, the researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with nursing students and nurse educators. The results show that nurse educator theoretical viewpoints had a direct bearing on nurse self-concept. Nurse educators should be cognizant of their biases and theoretical viewpoints when instructing students.

This example showcases how to write an abstract for a qualitative study. Qualitative studies also have clearly defined research methods. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind the general principles of informative abstract writing. Always begin with the research question or problem statement, and proceed to offer a one-sentence description of study methods and results.

Informative Abstract Example 5

Aboriginal people have poorer health outcomes versus their counterparts from other ethnic groups. In this study, public health researchers conducted an epidemiological data analysis using results from the Transcultural Health Report. Using a chi-square test, the researchers found that there is a direct correlation between ethnicity and health status. Policymakers should consider introducing methods for reducing health disparities among minority groups.

This informative abstract details the methods used in the report. As with other informative abstracts, it is written in the past tense. The abstract provides the reader with a summary of the research that has already been conducted.

Informative Abstract Example 6

We examine the contradictions of decolonization as official state policy. Using themes related to decolonization from the literature, we discuss how oppressed people develop cogent policies that create new systems of power. Intersectionality is also discussed.

Through a historical analysis, it was found that decolonization and political identity construction take place not as reactionary pathways but as deliberate means of regaining access to power and privilege. The cultivation of new political and social identities promotes social cohesion in formerly colonized nation-states, paving the way for future means of identity construction.

This abstract is informative but because it does not involve a unique empirical research design, it is written in a different manner from other informative abstracts. The researchers use tone, style, and diction that parallels that which takes place within the body of the text. The main themes are elucidated.

Informative Abstract Example 7

The implementation of a nationwide mandatory vaccination program against influenza in the country of Maconda was designed to lower rates of preventable illnesses. This study was designed to measure the cost-effectiveness of the mandatory vaccination program.

This is a cohort study designed to assess the rates of new influenza cases among both children (age > 8 years) and adults (age > 18 years). Using the National Reference Data Report of Maconda, the researchers compiled new case data (n = 2034) from 2014 to 2018.

A total of 45 new cases were reported during the years of 2014 and 2015, and after that, the number of new cases dropped by 74%.

The significant decrease in new influenza cases can be attributed to the introduction of mandatory vaccination.

Interpretation

The mandatory vaccination program proves cost-effective given its efficacy in controlling the disease.

This method of writing an informative abstract divides the content into respective subject headers. This style makes the abstract easier for some readers to scan quickly.

Informative Abstract Example 8

Mindfulness-based meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have been shown to reduce burnout and improve employee engagement. Using a pretest/posttest design, the researchers randomly assigned nurses (n = 136) to the control and experimental groups. The Kabat-Zinn mindfulness-based stress reduction technique was used as the primary intervention for the experimental group.

Quantitative findings revealed significant improvements on self-report scales for depression and anxiety. Nurse leaders and administrators should consider implementing a mindfulness-based stress reduction program to reduce burnout and improve overall nurse performance.

This abstract contains all the necessary information you would need to make an assessment of whether the research was pertinent to your study. When you are writing an informative abstract, consider taking one sentence from each of the sections in your research (introduction/background, methods, results, and conclusion).

Descriptive Abstract Example 1

What inspires individuals to become members of a new religious movement, or a “cult”? This review of the literature offers some suggestions as to the psychological and sociological motivations for joining a new religious movement, offering suggestions for future research.

Unlike informative abstracts, descriptive abstracts simply alert the reader of the main gist of the article. Reading this abstract does not tell you exactly what the researchers found out about their subject, but it does let the reader know what the overall subject matter was and the methods used to conduct the research.

Descriptive Abstract Example 2

With few remaining survivors of the Holocaust, it becomes critical for historians to gather as much data that can contribute to an overall understanding of the ways trauma has been incorporated into identity. Interviews with five Holocaust survivors reveal new information about the role that art and music played in self-healing and community healing.

This descriptive abstract does not give too much information away, simply telling the reader that the researcher used interviews and a case study research design. Although it is a brief description of the study, the researchers succinctly summarize the contents and results.

Descriptive Abstract Example 3

Absurdist theater and literature have had a strong influence on playwrights in France and England. This analysis of absurdist theater addresses the primary symbols being used in absurdist literature and traces the evolution of those symbols as they parallel historical events.

As with most descriptive abstracts, this example is short. You can use descriptive abstracts to provide the reader with a summary of non-empirical research such as literary criticism.

Descriptive Abstract Example 4

The architecture of Oscar Niemeyer reflects socialist sensibilities in the urban planning of Brasilia. This research explores the philosophical underpinnings of Niemeyer’s design through an analysis of several of the main elements of the National Congress of Brazil. Implications and influences of Niemeyer’s work are also discussed.

Note how with the descriptive abstract, you are writing about the research in a more abstract and detached way than when you write an informative abstract.

Descriptive Abstract Example 5

Jacques Derrida has written extensively on the symbolism and the metonymy of September 11. In this research, we critique Derrida’s position, on the grounds that terrorism is better understood from within a neo-realist framework. Derrida’s analysis lacks coherence, is pompous and verbose, and is unnecessarily abstract when considering the need for a cogent counterterrorism strategy.

Like most descriptive abstracts, this encapsulates the main idea of the research but does not necessarily follow the same format as you might use in an informative abstract. Whereas an informative abstract follows the chronological format used in the paper you present, with introduction, methods, findings, and conclusion, a descriptive abstract only focuses on the main idea.

Descriptive Abstract Example 6

The Five Factor model of personality has been well established in the literature and is one of the most reliable and valid methods of assessing success. In this study, we use the Five Factor model to show when the qualities of neuroticism and introversion, which have been typically linked with low rates of success, are actually correlated with achievement in certain job sectors. Implications and suggestions for clinicians are discussed.

This descriptive abstract does not discuss the methodology used in the research, which is what differentiates it from an informative abstract. However, the description does include the basic elements contained in the report.

Descriptive Abstract Example 7

This is a case study of a medium-sized company, analyzing the competencies required for entering into the Indian retail market. Focusing on Mumbai and Bangalore, the expansion into these markets reveals potential challenges for European firms. A comparison case with a failed expansion into Wuhan, China is given, offering an explanation for how there are no global cross-cultural competencies that can be applied in all cases.

While this descriptive abstract shows the reader what the paper addresses, the methods and results are omitted. A descriptive abstract is shorter than an informative abstract.

Which Type of Abstract Should I Use?

Check with your professors or academic advisors, or with the editor of the peer-reviewed journal before determining which type of abstract is right for you.

If you have conducted original empirical research in the social sciences, you will most likely want to use an informative abstract.

However, when you are writing about the arts or humanities, a descriptive abstract might work best.

What Information Should I Include in An Abstract?

The information you include in the abstract will depend on the substantive content of your report.

Consider breaking down your abstract into five separate components, corresponding roughly with the structure of your original research.

You can write one or two sentences on each of these sections:

For Original Empirical Research

1. Background/Introductory Sentence

If you have conducted, or are going to conduct, an original research, then consider the following elements for your abstract:

What was your hypothesis?

What has the previous literature said about your subject?

What was the gap in the literature you are filling with your research?

What are the research questions?

What problem are you trying to solve?

What theoretical viewpoint or approach did you take?

What was your research design (qualitative, quantitative, multi-factorial, mixed-methods)?

What was the setting? Did you conduct a clinical analysis? Or did you conduct a systematic review of literature or a meta-analysis of data?

How many subjects were there?

How did you collect data?

How did you analyze the data?

What methodological weaknesses need to be mentioned?

III. Results

If this was a qualitative study, what were the major findings?

If this was a quantitative study, what were the major findings? Was there an alpha coefficient? What was the standard deviation?

Were the results statistically significant?

1. Discussion

Did the results prove or disprove the hypothesis ?

Were the results significant enough to inform future research?

How do your results link up with previous research? Does your research confirm or go beyond prior literature?

1. Conclusions/Recommendations

What do your results say about the research question or problem statement?

If you had to make a policy recommendation or offer suggestions to other scholars, what would you say?

Are there any concluding thoughts or overarching impressions?

Writing Abstracts for Literary Criticism and Humanities Research

Writing abstracts for research that is not empirical in nature does not involve the same steps as you might use when composing an abstract for the sciences or social sciences.

When writing an abstract for the arts and humanities, consider the following outline, writing one or two sentences for each section:

1. Background/Introduction

What other scholars have said before.

Why you agree or disagree.

Why this is important to study.

1. Your methods or approach

How did you conduct your research?

Did you analyze a specific text, case study, or work of art?

Are you comparing and contrasting?

What philosophical or theoretical model did you use?

III. Findings

What did you discover in the course of your research?

1. Discussion/Conclusion

How are your findings meaningful?

What new discoveries have you made?

How does your work contribute to the discourse?

General Tips for Writing Abstracts

The best way to improve your abstract writing skills is to read more abstracts. When you read other abstracts, you will understand more about what is expected, and what you should include or leave out from the abstract.

Reading abstracts helps you become more familiar with the tone and style, as well as the structure of abstracts.

Write your abstract after you have completed your research.

Many successful abstracts actually take the first sentence from each section of your research, such as the introduction/background, review of literature, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Although it is a good idea to write the results of your original research, avoid giving too much detail. Instead, focus on what really matters.

A good abstract is like an elevator pitch.

While there is no absolute rule for how long an abstract should be, a general rule of thumb is around 100-150 words. However, some descriptive abstracts may be shorter than that, and some informative abstracts could be longer.

How to Write a Synopsis

Writing a synopsis involves summarizing a work’s key elements, including the narrative arc, major plot points, character development, rising action, and plot twists. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a compelling synopsis.

  • Outline the Narrative Arc: Start by defining your story’s beginning, middle, and end. This includes the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Identify Major Plot Points: Major plot points are crucial events that propel your story forward. Identify these critical moments and explain how they contribute to the narrative arc.
  • Discuss Character Development: Characters are the backbone of your story. Describe your characters at the start of the story and demonstrate how they evolve by the end.
  • Illustrate Rising Action: The rising action is a series of events that lead to the climax of your story. Ensure to discuss these events and how they build suspense and momentum.
  • Include Plot Twists: If your story has unexpected turns or surprises, highlight these plot twists in your synopsis. However, ensure these twists aren’t revealed too abruptly.

Remember, a synopsis should provide a complete overview of your story. It’s different from a teaser or back cover blurb — your objective isn’t to create suspense, but to succinctly present the whole narrative.

How Long Should a Summary Be

The length of a summary varies based on the complexity and length of the original work. However, as a rule of thumb, a summary should ideally be no more than 10-15% of the original text’s word count. This ensures you cover the significant plot points, character development, narrative arc, rising action, and plot twists without going into excessive detail.

For instance, if you’re summarizing a 300-page novel, your summary may be about 30 pages. If you’re summarizing a short 5-page article, a half-page to one-page summary should suffice.

Remember, the goal of a summary is to condense the source material, maintaining the core ideas and crucial information while trimming unnecessary details. Always aim for brevity and clarity in your summaries.

Abstracts are even shorter versions of executive summaries. Although abstracts are brief and seem relatively easy, they can be challenging to write. If you are struggling to write your abstract, just consider the main ideas of your original research paper and pretend that you are summarizing that research for a friend.

If you would like more examples of strong abstracts in your field of research, or need help composing your abstract or conducting research, call a writing tutor.

“Abstracts,” (n.d.). The Writing Center. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/abstracts/

Koopman, P. (1997). How to write an abstract. https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html

University of Massachusetts, Amherst (n.d.). Writing an abstract.

“Writing Report Abstracts,” (n.d.). Purdue Online Writing Lab. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/

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Medical Case Report Abstract and Title Guidelines

how to write a case study abstract

What is a Medical Case Report Abstract Used For?

Medical and clinical case reports (or “clinical vignettes”) are integral in recording unusual and rare cases of diseases, disorders, and injuries. They provide not only the details of a given case, but also briefly include background and establish the wider significance of a case in the medical literature.

Before researchers will even have a chance to read your case report, they will likely be searching through abstract indexes (e.g., via search engines such as PubMed or ScienceDirect ) to locate information relevant to their own medical research. Therefore, both the title and brief abstract are crucial to providing critical details about your case report. The following guidelines and case report templates will help you compose a title and abstract for medical case reports submitted to case report journals.

Formatting to Fit Your Target Journal

The information in this guide is generally applicable to case reports intended for submission to most medical journals. However, each journal has its own guidelines for content and formatting provided in the journal’s “Instructions for authors”, “Author guidelines” or “Preparing your manuscript” section. Read various medical case reports to gain a sense of the different formatting styles used by specific journals.

Case Report Journals

Some medical journals publish a limited number of case reports. There are also numerous respected, peer-reviewed medical journals that specialize in case reports; many are open access journals. A few examples are  Journal of Medical Case Reports ,  Oxford Medical Case Reports ,  BJR Case Reports , and  International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.

Case Report Title

As the first element of a case report that readers will see, the title should be  informative ,  highly relevant  to the subject, and  concise . It should attract the attention of researchers and other readers of a journal while remaining authentic and convincing.

Useful Terms to Include in the Title

  • Case-related terms:  presentation, unusual case, rare case, challenges, complications, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment
  • Patient-related terms:  patient, adult, child, infant, adolescent, elderly, man/woman

Article-related terms such as  case study  and  case report  are generally considered redundant and may detract from the interest of your title, so use them sparingly (but check the author instructions of the target journal prior to submission).

Clinical Vignette Title Examples:

  • “An  unusual   presentation  of primary small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) in an  elderly woman”
  • “Challenges  in the management of mycotic splenic arteriovenous fistula in a cirrhotic  patient”
  • “CREST syndrome: a  rare cause  of chronic upper-gastrointestinal Hemorrhage in  adults”
  • “Primary tuberculous dacryocystitis: two  cases mimicking  tumors of the lacrimal sac ”

Case Report Abstract

The abstract must be concise, complete, and comprehensible to readers before they have read the article.

How to Organize an Abstract

1.  background (1-2 sentences).

First, explain why this case is being reported and its novelty or clinical relevance.

how to write a case study abstract

2.  Case presentation  (3-6 sentences)

Give a brief description of the patient’s medical and demographic details, their diagnosis, interventions or complications, and the outcomes. Level of detail should be determined by importance to the novelty and outcomes of the case.

how to write a case study abstract

3.  Discussion/Conclusion  (1-2 sentences)

Briefly summarize the clinical impact and/or implications of this case and provide suggestions for the clinical area. Emphasize aspects of the case that may have broader implications, suggest precautions that should be taken, or provide interesting topics for future research.

how to write a case study abstract

Medical Case Report Abstract Templates

Example #1: a case of injury.

We herein report a case of a [patient age and gender] with an unusual case of  [injury] . The  [injury]  consisted of features typical of  [common features of the injury/disease/disorder] , with additional  [additional features of case, if any] , signifying a  [diagnosis/complications] . Features of this case are discussed together with its implications, including  [implications of case] .  [Additional measures taken—treatment/surgery/etc.]  was undertaken due to  [reason for measures] .

Example #2: A Case of Disease/Disorder

[Disease/disorder]  is a rare condition characterized by  [symptoms] . Its presentation is usually  [sporadic/chronic/acute] . Usually seen in patients who are  [typical demographics of patient] ,  [disease]  presentation in  [this specific category of patient]  is rare. Symptoms at presentation depend on  [parts of body/patient’s environment] . Patients with  [disease/disorder]  may present with  [additional major symptoms] . We herein report a rare presentation of  [disease/disorder]  in a  [patient demographic—age/gender/race/etc.] . who suffered from  [corresponding symptoms or co-morbid diseases] .  [Diagnostics/tests]  revealed  [results of tests/complication] . The patient underwent  [surgery/treatment]  and was given  [drugs/intubation/etc.] . Recovery was  [description of recovery] . In spite of a wide range of therapeutic options for the management of  [disease/disorder]  described in the literature, the efficacy of those available therapies is  [unknown/not well established/open/etc.] .

Wordvice Resources

For more input on how to come up with the perfect title for your report, how to write abstracts for research papers in general, or how to impress the editor of your target journal with the perfect cover letter , head over to the Wordvice academic resources page. And ensure your chances of journal publication with our English editing services , which include Paper Editing and Manuscript Editing Services .

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Writing a Clinical Vignette (Case Report) Abstract

Case reports represent the oldest and most familiar form of medical communication. Far from a "second-class" publication, many original observations are first presented as case reports. Like scientific abstracts, the case report abstract is governed by rules that dictate its format and length. This article will outline the features of a well-written case report abstract and provide an example to emphasize the main features.

Scientific forums have specific rules regarding how the abstract should appear. For the ACP, the rules are available on the electronic abstracts portal. Organizers of scientific meetings set explicit limits on the length of abstracts.

The most difficult decision to make is whether your case report is worth submitting as an abstract. Of course, rarity of a condition almost always meets the criterion of worthiness, but few of us have the opportunity to describe something that is completely new. Another reason to report a case is the lesson that it teaches. With this in mind, consider presenting a case if it increases awareness of a condition, suggests the proper diagnostic strategy, or demonstrates a more cost-effective approach to management. Alternatively, a case can be presented because it represents an unusual presentation of a relatively common condition. Other twists include an unusual complication of a disease and its management. Again, it's important to think about the message or lesson that the case can deliver.

Before you begin writing the abstract, present a quick summary of your case to colleagues or mentors to determine if they agree that the case is worthy of presentation. It is important to contribute something unique, but not if it depends on some trivial variation from previously presented cases. For example, if it is known that a certain cancer widely metastasizes, it is not worthwhile to report each new site. Similarly, drug reactions often merit a case report, but not if it is simply a report of a drug in a class whose other members are known to cause the same reaction.

Once you have decided to submit a case report abstract, describe it in such a way as to make it interesting, yet conform to the accepted format. The following paragraphs provide suggestions on both style and format.

Title and Author Information: The title is a summary of the abstract itself and should convince the reader that the topic is important, relevant, and innovative. However, don't tell everything about the case in the title, otherwise the reader's interest might lag. Make the title short, descriptive, and interesting. Some organizations require a special format for the title, such as all uppercase letters. Be sure to check the instructions. Following the title, include the names of authors followed by their institutional affiliations. Deciding upon the authorship of a case report can be tricky. In the past, it was acceptable to include as authors those contributing to the management of the patient, but this is no longer true. Currently, it is expected that the authors contribute significantly to the intellectual content of the case report. It is assumed that the first author will present the work if the abstract is accepted. The first author may need to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to present the abstract, for example, be a member of the professional society sponsoring the research meeting. This information is always included with the abstract instructions.

Introduction: Most case report abstracts begin with a short introduction. This typically describes the context of the case and explains its relevance and importance. However, it is perfectly acceptable to begin directly with the description of the case.

Case Description: When reporting the case, follow the basic rules of medical communication; describe in sequence the history, physical examination, investigative studies, and the patient's progress and outcome. The trick is to be complete without obscuring the essence of the case with irrelevant details.

Discussion: The main purpose of the discussion is to review why decisions were made and extract the lesson from the case. Not uncommonly, reports from the literature, or their absence, are cited that either directly support or contradict the findings of the case. Be wary of boasting that your case is the "first" to describe a particular phenomenon, since even the most thorough searches often fail to reveal all instances of similar cases. Keep in mind that the best case report abstracts are those that make a small number of teaching points (even just one) in clear and succinct language.

When writing the abstract, avoid the use of medical jargon and excessive reliance on abbreviations. Limit abbreviations to no more than three, and favor commonly used abbreviations. Always spell out the abbreviations the first time they are mentioned unless they are commonly recognized (e.g., CBC).

It typically takes several days to write a good abstract, and the process should not be undertaken alone. Get help from a mentor who is not familiar with the case; such mentors can quickly point out areas that are unclear or demand more detail. Make revisions based upon the feedback. Finally, have others read your draft in order to check for technical errors, such as spelling and grammar mistakes. Reading the abstract out loud is another good way to catch awkward phrasing and word omissions. Finally, a Clinical Vignette Abstract Checklist  and an example of a clinical vignette abstract  are available to help you with the process of writing a successful abstract.

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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Importance of a Good Abstract

Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.

How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.

How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types of Abstracts

To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.

Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.

II.  Writing Style

Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.

Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.

Composing Your Abstract

Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].

Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

  • A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
  • Lengthy background or contextual information,
  • Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
  • Acronyms or abbreviations,
  • References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
  • Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
  • Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
  • Citations to other works, and
  • Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.

Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in hte Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Writing Tip

Never Cite Just the Abstract!

Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .

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  • What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case, other interesting articles.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

TipIf your research is more practical in nature and aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as you solve it, consider conducting action research instead.

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

Example of an outlying case studyIn the 1960s the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania was discovered to have extremely low rates of heart disease compared to the US average. It became an important case study for understanding previously neglected causes of heart disease.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Example of a representative case studyIn the 1920s, two sociologists used Muncie, Indiana as a case study of a typical American city that supposedly exemplified the changing culture of the US at the time.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

Example of a mixed methods case studyFor a case study of a wind farm development in a rural area, you could collect quantitative data on employment rates and business revenue, collect qualitative data on local people’s perceptions and experiences, and analyze local and national media coverage of the development.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

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how to write a case study abstract

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Ecological validity

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

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how to write a case study abstract

All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study

how to write a case study abstract

What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is. This research method is used to study a certain person, group, or situation. In this guide from our dissertation writing service , you will learn how to write a case study professionally, from researching to citing sources properly. Also, we will explore different types of case studies and show you examples — so that you won’t have any other questions left.

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a subcategory of research design which investigates problems and offers solutions. Case studies can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea—their scope is quite vast.

What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?

While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go even further. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using different research methods. For example, case studies may be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient's health history if you study Medicine. Case studies are also used in Marketing, which are thorough, empirically supported analysis of a good or service's performance. Well-designed case studies can be valuable for prospective customers as they can identify and solve the potential customers pain point.

Case studies involve a lot of storytelling – they usually examine particular cases for a person or a group of people. This method of research is very helpful, as it is very practical and can give a lot of hands-on information. Most commonly, the length of the case study is about 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of an average research paper.

The structure of a case study is very similar to storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, which in your case is actually a problem you are trying to solve. You can use the system of 3 Acts to make it a compelling story. It should have an introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation occurs, falling action, and a solution.

Here is a rough formula for you to use in your case study:

Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.

Types of Case Studies

The purpose of a case study is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, future customers, or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but the type depends on the topic. The following are the most common domains where case studies are needed:

Types of Case Studies

  • Historical case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info offering different perspectives. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
  • Problem-oriented case studies are usually used for solving problems. These are often assigned as theoretical situations where you need to immerse yourself in the situation to examine it. Imagine you’re working for a startup and you’ve just noticed a significant flaw in your product’s design. Before taking it to the senior manager, you want to do a comprehensive study on the issue and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socio-economic discussions.
  • Cumulative case studies collect information and offer comparisons. In business, case studies are often used to tell people about the value of a product.
  • Critical case studies explore the causes and effects of a certain case.
  • Illustrative case studies describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.

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Case Study Format

The case study format is typically made up of eight parts:

  • Executive Summary. Explain what you will examine in the case study. Write an overview of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and sum up the results of your observation in a maximum of 2 sentences.
  • Background. Provide background information and the most relevant facts. Isolate the issues.
  • Case Evaluation. Isolate the sections of the study you want to focus on. In it, explain why something is working or is not working.
  • Proposed Solutions. Offer realistic ways to solve what isn’t working or how to improve its current condition. Explain why these solutions work by offering testable evidence.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the main points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions. 6. Recommendations. Talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
  • Implementation. Explain how to put the specific strategies into action.
  • References. Provide all the citations.

How to Write a Case Study

Let's discover how to write a case study.

How to Write a Case Study

Setting Up the Research

When writing a case study, remember that research should always come first. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions. You can also conduct an actual interview to thoroughly investigate the customer story that you'll need for your case study. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:

  • Define your objective. Explain the reason why you’re presenting your subject. Figure out where you will feature your case study; whether it is written, on video, shown as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, etc.
  • Determine who will be the right candidate for your case study. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Get in touch with your candidate to see if they approve of being part of your work. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
  • Identify which various consequences could result from the situation. Follow these guidelines on how to start a case study: surf the net to find some general information you might find useful.
  • Make a list of credible sources and examine them. Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always write down your ideas and make sure to brainstorm.
  • Focus on several key issues – why they exist, and how they impact your research subject. Think of several unique solutions. Draw from class discussions, readings, and personal experience. When writing a case study, focus on the best solution and explore it in depth. After having all your research in place, writing a case study will be easy. You may first want to check the rubric and criteria of your assignment for the correct case study structure.

Read Also: 'CREDIBLE SOURCES: WHAT ARE THEY?'

Although your instructor might be looking at slightly different criteria, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will want you to exhibit 8 different outcomes:

  • Correctly identify the concepts, theories, and practices in the discipline.
  • Identify the relevant theories and principles associated with the particular study.
  • Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making.
  • Recognize the global importance and contribution of your case.
  • Construct a coherent summary and explanation of the study.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills.
  • Explain the interrelationships between the environment and nature.
  • Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.

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Case Study Outline

Let's look at the structure of an outline based on the issue of the alcoholic addiction of 30 people.

Introduction

  • Statement of the issue: Alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character.
  • Presentation of the problem: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there.
  • Explanation of the terms: In the past, alcoholism was commonly referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is now the more severe stage of this addiction in the disorder spectrum.
  • Hypotheses: Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs.
  • Importance of your story: How the information you present can help people with their addictions.
  • Background of the story: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
  • Presentation of analysis and data: Describe the criteria for choosing 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the outcomes.
  • Strong argument 1: ex. X% of candidates dealing with anxiety and depression...
  • Strong argument 2: ex. X amount of people started drinking by their mid-teens.
  • Strong argument 3: ex. X% of respondents’ parents had issues with alcohol.
  • Concluding statement: I have researched if alcoholism is a disease and found out that…
  • Recommendations: Ways and actions for preventing alcohol use.

Writing a Case Study Draft

After you’ve done your case study research and written the outline, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you have to develop and write your case study by using: the data which you collected throughout the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were undertaken. Follow these rules for the draft:

How to Write a Case Study

  • Your draft should contain at least 4 sections: an introduction; a body where you should include background information, an explanation of why you decided to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings; a conclusion where you present data; and references.
  • In the introduction, you should set the pace very clearly. You can even raise a question or quote someone you interviewed in the research phase. It must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic. Include the aim of your case here as well. Think of it as a thesis statement. The aim must describe the purpose of your work—presenting the issues that you want to tackle. Include background information, such as photos or videos you used when doing the research.
  • Describe your unique research process, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic journals, etc. The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out. Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss the real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.
  • Include quotes and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will add a personal touch and better credibility to the case you present. Explain what results you find during your interviews in regards to the problem and how it developed. Also, write about solutions which have already been proposed by other people who have already written about this case.
  • At the end of your case study, you should offer possible solutions, but don’t worry about solving them yourself.

Use Data to Illustrate Key Points in Your Case Study

Even though your case study is a story, it should be based on evidence. Use as much data as possible to illustrate your point. Without the right data, your case study may appear weak and the readers may not be able to relate to your issue as much as they should. Let's see the examples from essay writing service :

‍ With data: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there. Without data: A lot of people suffer from alcoholism in the United States.

Try to include as many credible sources as possible. You may have terms or sources that could be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, you should include them in the appendix or Notes for the Instructor or Professor.

Finalizing the Draft: Checklist

After you finish drafting your case study, polish it up by answering these ‘ask yourself’ questions and think about how to end your case study:

  • Check that you follow the correct case study format, also in regards to text formatting.
  • Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
  • Micro-editing — check for grammar and spelling issues.
  • Macro-editing — does ‘the big picture’ come across to the reader? Is there enough raw data, such as real-life examples or personal experiences? Have you made your data collection process completely transparent? Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion, allowing for further research and practice?

Problems to avoid:

  • Overgeneralization – Do not go into further research that deviates from the main problem.
  • Failure to Document Limitations – Just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study, you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis.
  • Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications – Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings.

How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study

Let's see how to create an awesome title page.

Your title page depends on the prescribed citation format. The title page should include:

  • A title that attracts some attention and describes your study
  • The title should have the words “case study” in it
  • The title should range between 5-9 words in length
  • Your name and contact information
  • Your finished paper should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. With this type of assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.

Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:

There are some cases when you need to cite someone else's study in your own one – therefore, you need to master how to cite a case study. A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it like you cite a book, depending on what style you need.

Citation Example in MLA ‍ Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example in APA ‍ Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example in Chicago Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.

Case Study Examples

To give you an idea of a professional case study example, we gathered and linked some below.

Eastman Kodak Case Study

Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany

To conclude, a case study is one of the best methods of getting an overview of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It allows you to have an in-depth glance at the real-life problems that businesses, healthcare industry, criminal justice, etc. may face. This insight helps us look at such situations in a different light. This is because we see scenarios that we otherwise would not, without necessarily being there. If you need custom essays , try our research paper writing services .

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Crafting a case study is not easy. You might want to write one of high quality, but you don’t have the time or expertise. If you’re having trouble with your case study, help with essay request - we'll help. EssayPro writers have read and written countless case studies and are experts in endless disciplines. Request essay writing, editing, or proofreading assistance from our custom case study writing service , and all of your worries will be gone.

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How to write a successful conference abstract

  • February 20, 2024

Coming up with an abstract idea

Make sure your abstract aligns with the conference themes and topics.

Types of abstracts and presentations

The next step in writing your abstract submission is to choose your presentation format. There is a submission format to suit everyone – depending on the work you’d like to share, and how confident you feel presenting to an audience. Typically, abstracts can be submitted for:

  • Research-based oral presentations: Presentations on original research findings, case studies, completed projects and theoretical analyses.
  • Practice-based oral presentations: Presentations analysing issues and solutions to problems in clinical practice, community engagement, education, health promotion and policy.
  • Models of Care and Programs presentations: Present on real-world examples of innovative models of care, programs, or interventions to enhance health care delivery.
  • Multi-media presentations: Presentations delivered via multi-media, typically video, which showcase models of care, case studies, or other activities which improve health promotion, policy, advocacy, or delivery.
  • Poster presentations: Posters will be displayed within the exhibition and catering area. Poster presentations can be a great choice for early-stage or preliminary research, or for those who are not confident presenting an oral presentation.

Depending on the conference guidelines, oral presentations can often be presented as either a 10+ minute presentation, or five minute rapid-fire presentation with a Q&A component.

Recently, ASHM has introduced new types of presentations to make conference sessions even more accessible and interactive. These include:

  • Tabletop presentations: In small rotating groups, share how you implemented a solution or initiative in-community, and explore how this initiative can be improved upon or expanded further through discussion.
  • Case presentations: Present a clinical case report relevant to the conference theme which showcases innovation or practical advice.
  • Storytelling sessions: Come together with delegates from across the sector to give an informal short five minute talk on your work or program which relates to the conference theme.
  • Lessons learned: Share and reflect on your experiences through a standard oral presentation or rapid-fire presentation and Q&A session.

Think carefully about which type of presentation best suits the work you want to present. For example, a case study video on how you delivered a program in-community might be best suited to a multi-media presentation. Meanwhile, findings from academic research may work best as a research-based oral presentation.

The types of presentations and abstracts accepted vary by conference and are being updated all the time – make sure to check the ‘Abstract Submission’ page of each conference before starting your submission.

What is an abstract and what does it include?

An abstract is typically a short, stand-alone document which concisely summarises the work you wish to present. When submitting an abstract for an ASHM conference, you can download an abstract template for your type of presentation outlining everything you need to include.

Depending on the type of presentation you are hoping to give, the abstract requirements, guidelines, and template may vary. Below are some general tips – make sure to read and abide by the appropriate guidelines and use the most recent template when submitting your abstract.

Always consult the abstract guidelines for the conference you are submitting to! Make sure to follow any formatting instructions and word limits.

Research-based abstracts: What to include

For research-based abstracts, you will need to include:

  • Abstract title
  • Authors: The principal author must appear first, and any authors presenting the paper underlined. Include affiliations/organisation for each author.
  • Background: Any relevant contextual information, the research problem or rationale, and why this research is important.
  • Methods: The methods taken to undertake research.
  • Results: A summary of the most significant results of the research related to the conference themes.
  • Conclusion: Discuss further any of the outcomes of the research, how it adds to the existing body of knowledge, and any implications for future research and practice.
  • Disclosure of Interest Statement: Declare any potential conflicts of interest and/or relevant funding sources or organisational funding in this section. If you have no interests to declare, you can write ‘Nothing to disclose’.

While data should be included in your results section, tables, figures and references should not be included in the abstract.

Practice-based abstracts: What to include

For practice-based abstracts, you will need to include:

  • Background/Purpose: Outline any relevant background information, including the need for this practice/project.
  • Approach: A brief description of your practice design and approach including any methodologies used, the population researched/impacted, the type of data collected and how it was analysed.
  • Outcomes/Impact: A summary of the most significant results related to the conference themes.
  • Innovation and Significance: Describe how your practice has contributed to the sector’s body of knowledge, any novelty or innovations it has made, and any implications for future advancements in this area.

Spend most of your attention and word limit on your outcomes and impact.

Important tips for writing an abstract submission

1. Create a catchy title!

Stand out from other submissions by coming up with a catchy and memorable abstract title. Choose something that would make you want to engage with your presentation. Is there a surprising statistic, or standout quote that would grab people’s attention?

2. Assume that the audience has no previous knowledge on your topic

While it can be easy to rely on acronyms and sector-specific terminology, not everyone who reads your abstract or attends your presentation may know these terms. Assume the reader has no previous knowledge and improve the readability of your abstract by avoiding acronyms where possible (and expanding when included), explaining topic-specific terminology, and only including information related to your presentation.

Who knows – maybe your presentation will be the gateway for an audience member to pursue a new area!

Use the right language in your submission

When submitting an abstract and writing a presentation for an ASHM conference, it is encouraged that you use person-centred language. Putting the person first in your presentation is vital for combating stigma and respecting the dignity of all people.

To make sure your abstract and presentation is using person-centred language, we recommend consulting these helpful language guides:

  • Trans Care BC and ACON’s Trans-Affirming language guide – for language related to people who are transgender
  • NADA’s Language Matters guide – for language related to alcohol and other drugs and people who use them
  • INPUD & ANPUD’s Words Matter! Language statement & reference guide – for language related to alcohol and other drugs and people who use them
  • Reconciliation Australia language guide – for language related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and reconciliation

Submitting your abstract online

Once you’ve written your abstract using the template and made sure it follows the guidelines, it’s time to submit. The video below gives a general overview of how to submit your abstract online – depending on the conference this process may differ.

Further questions?

If you have any questions about abstract requirements or submissions, contact ASHM’s Conference and Events team using the enquiry form at the bottom of our Conference and Event Management page.

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​​Tel: (+61) 02 8204 0700 Fax: (+61) 02 8204 0782

how to write a case study abstract

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  • J Palliat Med

Writing Abstracts and Developing Posters for National Meetings

Gordon j. wood.

1 Department of Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

R. Sean Morrison

2 Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, and the James J. Peters VA, Bronx, New York.

Presenting posters at national meetings can help fellows and junior faculty members develop a national reputation. They often lead to interesting and fruitful networking and collaboration opportunities. They also help with promotion in academic medicine and can reveal new job opportunities. Practically, presenting posters can help justify funding to attend a meeting. Finally, this process can be invaluable in assisting with manuscript preparation. This article provides suggestions and words of wisdom for palliative care fellows and junior faculty members wanting to present a poster at a national meeting describing a case study or original research. It outlines how to pick a topic, decide on collaborators, and choose a meeting for the submission. It also describes how to write the abstract using examples that present a general format as well as writing tips for each section. It then describes how to prepare the poster and do the presentation. Sample poster formats are provided as are talking points to help the reader productively interact with those that visit the poster. Finally, tips are given regarding what to do after the meeting. The article seeks to not only describe the basic steps of this entire process, but also to highlight the hidden curriculum behind the successful abstracts and posters. These tricks of the trade can help the submission stand out and will make sure the reader gets the most out of the hard work that goes into a poster presentation at a national meeting.

Introduction

A track record of successful presentations at national meetings is important for the junior academic palliative medicine clinician. Unfortunately, palliative care fellows report minimal training in how to even start the process by writing the abstract. 1 What follows is a practical, step-by-step guide aimed at the palliative care fellow or junior palliative care faculty member who is hoping to present original research or a case study at a national meeting. We will discuss the rationale for presenting at national meetings, development of the abstract, creation and conduct of the presentation, as well as what to do after the meeting. We will draw on the literature where available 2 – 7 and on our experience where data are lacking. We will focus on the development of posters rather than oral presentations or workshops as these are typically the first and more common experiences for junior faculty and fellows. Finally, in addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of the process, we will also focus on the “hidden curriculum” behind the successful submissions and poster presentations (see Table 1 ).

The Hidden Curriculum: Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Submission

Why Present at National Meetings?

Given that it takes a fair amount of work to put together an abstract and presentation, it is fair to ask what is to be gained from the effort. The standard answer is that presentations at national meetings aid in the dissemination of your findings and help further the field. Although this is certainly true, there are also several practical and personal reasons that should hold at least equal importance to fellows or junior faculty members (see Table 2 ). Perhaps most importantly, presenting at a national meeting helps develop your national reputation. People will begin to know your name and associate it with the topic you are presenting. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to network and collaborate, which can then lead to other projects. Many of us have begun life-long collaborative relationships after connecting with someone at a national meeting. Even if you don't make a personal connection at the meeting, if people begin to associate your name with a topic, they will often reach out to you when they need an expert to sit on a committee, write a paper, or collaborate on a project.

Personal Reasons To Present Abstracts/Posters

Development of a national reputation is important not only in garnering interesting opportunities, but it is also key to career advancement. For fellows, presenting at national meetings can forge connections with future employers and lead to that all-important “first job.” For junior faculty, demonstration of a national reputation is often the main criterion for promotion and presentations at national meetings help establish this reputation. 8 Junior faculty may also make connections that lead to potential job opportunities of which they might not otherwise have been aware.

There are three additional practical reasons to present at a national meeting. First, having something accepted for presentation is often the only way your department will reimburse your trip to the meeting. Second, going through the work of abstract submission and presentation helps tremendously in manuscript preparation. It provides a deadline and forces you to organize your thoughts, analyze your data, and place them in an understandable format. This makes the eventual job of writing the manuscript much less daunting. Third, presenting also allows you to get immediate feedback, which can then make the manuscript stronger before it is submitted. Such feedback often gives the presenter additional ideas for analyses, alternate explanations for findings, and ideas regarding future directions.

Although these personal and practical reasons for presenting are derived from our own experiences, they are concordant with the survey results of 219 presenters at the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting. 9 This survey also highlighted how posters and oral presentations can meet these needs differently. For example, for these presenters, posters were preferred for getting feedback and criticism and for networking and collaborating. Oral presentations, on the other hand, were preferred for developing a national reputation and sharing important findings most effectively. For all of these reasons, many academic centers have developed highly effective programs for trainees and junior faculty to help encourage submissions 10 , 11 so it is wise to seek out such programs if they exist in your home institution.

Getting Started

Realizing the importance of presenting at national meetings may be the easy part. Actually getting started and putting together a submission is where most fall short. The critical first step is to pick something that interests you. For original research, hopefully your level of interest was a consideration at the beginning of the project, although how anxious you are to work on the submission may be a good barometer for your true investment in the project.

For case studies, make sure the topic, and ideally the case, fuel a passion. Unlike original research, in which mentors and advisors are usually established at study conception, case studies often require you to seek appropriate collaborators when contemplating submission. It is the rare submission that comes from a single author. In choosing collaborators, look for a senior mentor with experience submitting posters and an investment in both you and the topic. There is nothing more disheartening for the junior clinician than having to harass a mentor whose heart is not in the project.

Another critical step is to choose the right meeting for the submission. Although many submissions may be to palliative care meetings (e.g., American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine), there is great benefit to both the field and your career in presenting at other specialty meetings. Presentations at well-recognized nonpalliative care meetings further legitimize the field, increase your national visibility, and lead to interesting and fruitful collaborations. Additionally, these types of presentations may be looked on with more favor by people reviewing your CV who are not intimately familiar with the world of palliative care. Table 1 presents some questions you should discuss with your mentor and ask yourself when choosing a meeting. Some of these questions may have conflicting answers, and you should be thoughtful in weighing what is most important.

Once you have chosen your meeting, go to the meeting's website and review all of the instructions. Check requirements regarding what material can be presented. For example, many meetings will allow you to present data that were already presented at a regional meeting but not data that were previously presented at another national meeting. Most meetings also do not allow you to present data that are already published, although it is generally acceptable to submit your abstract at the same time you submit your paper for publication. If the paper is published before the meeting, make sure to inform the committee—most often you will still be able to present but will be asked to note the publication in your presentation. Regarding the submission, most conferences have very specific instructions and the rules are strict. The applications are generally online with preset fields and word limits. It is helpful to examine review criteria and deadlines for submission, paying particular attention to time zones. Finally, it can be invaluable to read published abstracts from the last meeting and to talk with prior presenters to get a sense of the types of abstracts that are accepted.

The next step is to start writing. The key to success is to leave enough time as there are often unavoidable and unplanned technical issues with the online submission that you will confront. Additionally, you will want to leave time to get input from all of the authors and from people who have not been primarily involved in the project—to make sure that a “naïve” audience understands the message of the abstract. Finally, remember that an abstract/poster does not have to represent all of the data for a study and can just present an interesting piece of the story.

Most submissions require several rewrites. These can become frustrating, but it is important to realize that there is a very specific language for these types of submissions that your mentor should know and that you will learn over time. The most common issue is the need to shorten the abstract to fit the word limit. Strategies to ensure brevity include using the active voice, employing generic rather than trade names for drugs and devices, and avoiding jargon and local lingo. Use no more than two or three abbreviations and always define the abbreviations on first use. Do a spelling/grammar check and also have someone proofread the document before submitting. References are generally not included on abstracts. Most importantly, be concise, write lean, and avoid empty phrases such as “studies show.” A review of 45 abstracts submitted to a national surgical meeting found that concise abstracts were more likely to be accepted, 12 and this small study certainly reflects our experiences as submitters and reviewers.

The Abstract for an Original Research Study

The styles of abstracts for original studies vary. Guidelines exist for manuscript abstracts reporting various types of original research (CONSORT, 13 – 15 IDCRD, 16 PRISMA, 17 QUOROM, and STROBE 18 ) and review of these guidelines can be helpful to provide a format. There are also guidelines that exist for evaluating conference abstracts that may be informative, such as the CORE-14 guidelines for observational studies. 19 In general, a structured abstract style is favored. 20 – 21 In this paper, we will present general styles for each type of abstract that will need to be adapted to the type of study and the rules of the conference. Table 3 outlines the general format for an abstract for original research. Each section contains tips for how to write the section, rather than example text from a study. Therefore, you may find it most helpful to review the figures alongside examples of previously accepted abstracts.

Abstract for an Original Research Study

In any abstract, it is particularly important to focus on the title as it is often the only item people will look at while scanning the meeting program or wandering through the poster session. It should be no more than 10–12 words 2 and should describe what was investigated and how, instead of what was found. It should be engaging, but be cautious with too much use of humor as this can become tiresome and distracting. Below the title, list authors and their affiliations. The remaining sections of the abstract are discussed in the figure.

The Abstract for a Case Study

The abstract for a case study contains many of the same elements as the abstract for original research with a few important differences. Most importantly, you need to use the abstract to highlight the importance of the issue the case raises and convince the reader that both the case and the issue are interesting, novel, and relevant. A general format is provided in Table 4 .

Abstract for a Case Study

Preparing Posters

Once the abstract is prepared, submitted, and, hopefully, accepted, your next job is to prepare the presentation. Whereas a few select abstracts are typically selected for oral presentation (usually 8–10 minutes followed by a short question-and-answer period), the majority of submitted abstracts will be assigned to poster sessions. (Readers interested in advice for oral presentations are referred to reference 22 ). Posters are large (generally approximately 3 × 6 ft) visual representations of your work. Most posters are now one-piece glossy prints from graphics departments or commercial stores, although increasingly academic departments have access to printing facilities that may be less expensive than commercial stores. Additionally, many meetings now partner with on-site printing services, which are convenient and reasonably priced. Generally, the material is prepared on a PowerPoint (or equivalent) slide and this is given to the production facility. The easiest way to prepare your first poster is to ask your institution if it has a preferred or required template. If such a template does not exist, ask for a trusted colleague's slide from an accepted poster. This gives you the format and institutional logos, and you simply need to modify the content. In preparing your poster for printing, review the meeting instructions and try to make your poster as close to the maximum dimensions as possible. Try to complete the poster early to allow for production delays. Consider shipping your poster to the conference or carry it in a protective case and check with the airline regarding luggage requirements. On-site printing eliminates travel hassles but does not allow much time for any problems that may arise.

What goes on the poster?

Both the content and the visual appeal of the poster are important. In fact, one study found that visual appeal was more important than content for knowledge transfer. 23 Although the poster expands the content of your abstract, resist the urge to include too much information. It is helpful to remember the rule of 10s: the average person scans your poster for 10 seconds from 10 feet away. When someone stops, you should be able to introduce your poster in 10 seconds and they should be able to assimilate all of the information and discuss it with you in 10 minutes. 3 Figures 1 and ​ and2 2 show the layouts of posters for a case and for an original study. The general rule is to keep each section as short and simple as possible, which allows for a font large enough (nothing smaller than 24 point 4 ) for easy reading of the title from 10 feet away and the text from 3–5 feet away. Leave blank space and use colors judiciously. Easily read and interpretable figures and simple tables are more visually appealing than text, and they are typically more effective in getting one's message across. It is helpful to get feedback on one's poster before finalizing and printing—ideally from people not familiar with the work to get a true objective view.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is fig-1.jpg

Poster for original research.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is fig-2.jpg

Poster for case study.

Although it may seem simple enough to prepare a good poster, many fall short. One author reviewed 142 posters at a national meeting and found that 33% were cluttered or sloppy, 22% had fonts that were too small to be easily read, and 38% had research objectives that could not be located in a 1-minute review. 5 Another study of an evaluation tool for case report posters found that the areas most needing improvement were statements of learning objectives, linkages of conclusions to learning objectives, and appropriate amount of words. 24

The Poster Presentation

Posters are presented at “Poster Sessions,” which are designated periods during the meeting when presenters stand by their posters while conference attendees circulate through the room. Refreshments are often served during these sessions and the atmosphere is generally more relaxed and less stressful than during oral presentations. Additionally, the one-on-one contact allows greater opportunity for discussion, feedback, and networking. Awards are often presented to the best posters and ribbons may designate these posters during the session.

The first step to a successful poster presentation is to simply show up. Surveys of conference attendees clearly indicate that it is necessary for the presenter to be with his/her poster for effective communication of the results. 23 This is also your time to grow your reputation, network, and get feedback, so do not miss the opportunity to reap the rewards of your hard work. In preparation, read any specific conference instructions and bring business cards and handouts of the poster or related materials. While standing at your poster, make eye contact with people who approach but allow them to finish reading before beginning a discussion. 4 As noted above, you should be prepared to introduce your poster in 10 seconds then answer questions and discuss as needed. Practicing your introduction and answers to common questions with colleagues before the meeting can be invaluable. Before your presentation, your mentor should also contact important people in the field related to your topic and ask them to come by your poster. You should have a list of these people and know who they are and when they are coming. Standard questions you may ask are included in Table 1 . You should also have prepared questions targeted specifically for each of the people your mentor has contacted. You should then suggest these people as reviewers when you submit your manuscript.

After the Presentation

After the presentation, key steps remain to get the most out of the process. First, ask for feedback so you can make adjustments for the next presentation. Also, think about what parts of the poster you can use for other reasons. It is often helpful to export a graph or figure to use in future presentations. The key is to “double-dip” and use everything to its fullest extent. In addition, to make the maximal use of the networking opportunities you should follow up with anyone who asked for more information or inquired about collaborations. In the excitement of the meeting anything seems possible, but it is easy to lose that momentum when you get home. In one study, only 29% of presenters replied to requests for additional information, and they generally took over 30 days to respond. 25

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is critical to write up your work for publication. Although posters are important, publications are the true currency of academia. Unfortunately, the percentage of abstracts that are eventually published is low. 26 When asked why they had yet to publish, respondents in one study 27 cited: lacked time (46%), study still in progress (31%), responsibility for publication belonged to someone else (20%), difficulty with co-authors (17%), and low priority (13%). Factors that have been shown to increase the likelihood of abstract publication include: oral presentation (as opposed to a poster), statistical analysis, number of authors, and university affiliation. 28 – 31 Time to publication is generally about 20 months. 29

Conclusions

Writing abstracts and developing posters for national meetings benefit the field in general and the junior clinician in particular. This process develops critical skills and generates innumerable opportunities. We have presented a stepwise approach based on the literature and our personal experiences. We have also highlighted the hidden curriculum that separates the successful submissions from the rest of the pack. Hopefully, these tools will help palliative care fellows and junior faculty more easily navigate the process and benefit the most from the work they put into their projects.

Acknowledgments

Dr. Morrison is supported by a Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient Oriented Research from the National Institute on Aging (K24 AG022345). A portion of this work was funded by the National Palliative Care Research Center.

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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Q: Why does an abstract have to be done for a case study?

Asked on 30 Oct, 2020

Whether any document requires an abstract has more to do with the audience and the length of the document than with the type of the document. The purpose of the abstract is to save readers’ time and to help them decide whether they should take a look at the full document, and a case study is no exception. An abstract, by giving the most essential information about the document in about 250 words, helps readers to assess whether it is relevant to their needs. A crucial difference between an abstract and a summary is that the target readers for the abstract are the same as those for the full document, whereas a summary is for the convenience of those who may find the full document surplus to their requirements.

With this in mind, a case study may well do without an abstract because the title and the fact that it is a case study gives those readers all that they need to know. However, a case study needs an abstract because that will tell readers the rationale for choosing the particular case, how the case study was approached, the method(s) used, and the outcome—details that will tell potential readers whether they should consult the full case study.

For more insights into abstracts, you may find the following resources helpful:

  • A 10-step guide to make your research paper abstract more effective
  • Graphical and video abstracts

And if you are about to submit a case study, you may find the following resources useful:

  • 10 Things you must consider before submitting your manuscript
  • The importance of manuscript submission readiness checks

Hope that helps. All the best for your submission!

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Importance of Writing an Abstract for a Case Study

Table of Contents

Writing a captivating and informative abstract for a case study is an art form that requires skill, experience, and attention to detail. For many, the challenge of penning this important document can be daunting. But with proper guidance from experienced hands, it becomes much more manageable. This article explains all you need to know about writing an abstract for a case study .

What Is the Importance of Writing an Abstract for a Case Study

Writing an abstract for a case study is an important step in the research process. It introduces the topic and provides readers with an overview of the research findings or implications . An effective abstract should be concise, well-structured, and accurate. It should include details to help readers can determine if they want to read further into the research results.  A good abstract will provide a comprehensive summary of the case study. This includes the main objectives of the project, key questions asked, methodology used, and significant conclusions reached. It may include clear descriptions of any data collected and analyzed, how it was interpreted, and its relevance to the case study. In addition, the abstract should succinctly describe the implications of the research findings for both practitioners and researchers in the field. 

How to Write an Abstract for a Case Study

An abstract for a case study helps readers quickly assess the content of the study and its relevance and significance . This section of the article provides some tips on how to write an effective abstract for a case study. 

Summarize the Main Objective

First, an abstract must present the main objective or purpose of the case study clearly. It should be concise yet comprehensive enough to summarize the most pertinent information contained in your case study. In addition, be sure to include any key research findings or results that were generated by the case study. Doing so allows readers to get a better sense of what was discovered through the course of the investigation. 

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Emphasize the Importance of the Topic

When writing an abstract for a case study, it is also critical to emphasize why the particular topic is worth exploring. This may involve highlighting any unique perspectives or techniques used during the process. Furthermore, if possible, include any recommendations or implications arising from the conclusions of the study. Doing so will give readers an opportunity to consider practical solutions to whatever challenges are being addressed. 

Use Formal Language

The language used in an abstract should be formal yet straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid using overly complicated jargon and opt for more common words instead. It is also beneficial to break up longer sentences with shorter ones to ensure clarity and readability. The goal here is to communicate complex ideas in simple terms without sacrificing accuracy or meaning. 

Keep It Brief

Finally, when creating an abstract for a case study, keep the length relatively brief while still conveying all the necessary details. Generally speaking, aim for somewhere between 150-300 words depending on the scope of the study. Make sure that all elements discussed above are included within this range. Eliminate any unnecessary information that might distract or confuse readers.

Wrapping Up

All in all, writing an abstract for a case study is an essential part of the research process. It provides readers with an immediate snapshot of the work’s purpose and main points. In the same vein, it enables authors to reflect upon their writing style and craft good summaries that capture the essence of their work.

Importance of Writing an Abstract for a Case Study

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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What Is a Case Study?

What is the structure of a case study? This may be your first question when writing a case paper. A case study is one of the subcategories of research papers aimed to offer specific solutions to the problems of the studied sample. This research method can be used to study a group situation of a single person. You may have different goals for conducting case studies. Unlike other research papers, the primary stress factor of case studies is drawing the readers’ attention to details by applying various research methods.

Well-designed and well-conducted case studies may be invaluable tools for identifying existing problems and offering practical solutions. If you are interested in  how to get familiar with the structure of a case study,  you are welcome to continue reading. Even if you are demotivated to start writing, imagine yourself during the process or find a peaceful place to start writing. Following these and other useful  tips  will help lessen the whole process’s burden.

What Is the Structure of Case Studies

The  structure of a case study is similar to storytelling; both have a main character or protagonist, and the story is wholly about the latter. The  format of case study writing may vary depending on the purpose and context; however, here are the main elements used for writing such a paper. 

  • ✅ Title Page. The title should include information about the authors, contributors, and institutions. 
  • Abstract. This part of the essay is essential since it summarizes your study’s main points, findings, and conclusions. Generally, the abstract touches upon the paper without mentioning details. 
  • ✅ Introduction. This part provides some general information about the subject of the study. However, you are recommended to keep the confidentiality of the participants; otherwise, your essay will be considered unethical. Include the details about why you have chosen to study that specific person or institution, mentioning how the findings may benefit them. You may also integrate information on the objectives of the case study. 
  • ✅ Literature review. This part is optional for case study structure;  however, if your particular study requires to include previously done case studies or other studies related to your case, you are highly recommended to do so. The relatable literature review will provide context and strengthen your paper. 
  • ✅ Methodology. It is not a secret; as a case study writer, you need to know what methodology to employ to achieve the desired outcome. Your methodology section should include detailed information about your case study’s method, tools, or other scientific instruments. 
  • ✅ Results. After conducting the study, you present your findings without integrating personal judgments and conclusions. Data, quotes, statistics, and any other evidence collected during the study should be included without leaving out any. 
  • ✅ Discussion. In this part of the case studies structure , you are to make relatable conclusions based on the evidence you have at your disposal, making logical interpretations of your data. Your discussion should focus on significance and implications. 
  • ✅ Conclusion. In your conclusion, suggest further research areas, mentioning how they may contribute to the area studied. 
  • ✅ References. You should mention all the sources you have used in your study following various citation styles such as Chicago, APA, MLA, etc. You must check the latter with your institution before deciding which one to imply. 
  • ✅ Appendices. Additional materials supporting your study, including raw data, interview scripts, questionnaires, etc., should be presented and attached to your study. 

In brief, this  case study writing format  may provide the general framework; however, you are highly encouraged to check all the requirements related to the format with the institution you are applying to. Overall,  case study structure  is not that complicated but you need to consult with a professional if you do not have much experience in writing such papers. 

How to Make Case Study Format Much Better

Here are some tips to make  the structure of a case study much more reader-friendly and engaging. 

  • ✅ Outstanding title. Choose a title that thoroughly reflects the purpose of your study and is engaging. A well-written title may attract readers and encourage them to pick up your study and read. 
  • ✅ Accurate abstract. A concise abstract summarizing your study’s main points is essential to make a good impression on the reader. Thus, try to use only a few scientific and confusing words; instead, concentrate on making it accurate and to-the-topic. 
  • ✅ Include visuals. If you want to make your case study stand out, visuals and graphs help digest the presented information faster. They may contribute to the understanding and facilitate the reading process. 
  • ✅ Include data and evidence. Never make claims that are not relatable and may not be supported by solid evidence. Otherwise, your essay will lose its credibility and accountability. 
  • ✅ The language. Pay sufficient attention to your language; it should be easy to follow and understand. Never make a reader feel puzzled because of complicated sentences. Make your sentences short and sweet for your readers. 
  • ✅ Proofreading and editing. No matter how many case studies you have written, it is crucial to revise the whole paper to ensure it is free of mistakes and follows a consistent case study format.

Applying these tips in your case study will help to make it much better and more impactful to achieve your objective.  Checking our services , you will learn more about how to write such papers. 

What are The Possible Difficulties When Writing Case Study Format

Now that you know  the format of a case study, it is high time to start writing. If you are a beginner in an academic field, you may encounter the  following issues. 

  • ✅ Lack of information. Sometimes, when writing a case study, a writer needs to integrate many sources; however, it may be tricky and time-consuming since you are supposed to read many research papers. Another possible challenge is not knowing how to integrate them into your study effectively. 
  • ✅ Time-consuming. Collecting data for case studies is quite a long process, requiring much effort to make questionnaires, surveys, etc., and then interpret them. 
  • ✅ Methodology. What methodology should you employ when conducting your case study? Another bothering question for novice researchers. You must choose the methodology correctly for the structure of the case study  to achieve your goal. Thus, applying for professional help from the very beginning is essential. 
  • Structure and formatting. The case study paper should follow the required formatting. Each research paper has its rules, which you need to follow accurately. 

If you need professional help with your case study paper, we are here to offer  our services . Applying to our case study service, you will enjoy the following benefits: save your time, learn only from professionals, and avoid confusing situations. No one can deny that applying for professional help, especially when you are under snow and do not manage to do your other tasks, is an excellent option. Our top-tier experts at Writing Metier guarantee the high quality of your paper. You will also learn the structure of a good case study and avoid a rabbit hole for future papers.

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  • Published: 12 February 2024

Plasma proteomic profiles predict future dementia in healthy adults

  • Yu Guo 1   na1 ,
  • Jia You   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7079-8041 1 , 2   na1 ,
  • Yi Zhang 1   na1 ,
  • Wei-Shi Liu 1 ,
  • Yu-Yuan Huang 1 ,
  • Ya-Ru Zhang 1 ,
  • Wei Zhang 2 ,
  • Qiang Dong   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3874-0130 1 ,
  • Jian-Feng Feng   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5987-2258 2 , 3 ,
  • Wei Cheng   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1118-1743 1 , 2 , 3 &
  • Jin-Tai Yu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-2532-383X 1  

Nature Aging volume  4 ,  pages 247–260 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Neurodegeneration
  • Predictive markers

The advent of proteomics offers an unprecedented opportunity to predict dementia onset. We examined this in data from 52,645 adults without dementia in the UK Biobank, with 1,417 incident cases and a follow-up time of 14.1 years. Of 1,463 plasma proteins, GFAP, NEFL, GDF15 and LTBP2 consistently associated most with incident all-cause dementia (ACD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD), and ranked high in protein importance ordering. Combining GFAP (or GDF15) with demographics produced desirable predictions for ACD (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.891) and AD (AUC = 0.872) (or VaD (AUC = 0.912)). This was also true when predicting over 10-year ACD, AD and VaD. Individuals with higher GFAP levels were 2.32 times more likely to develop dementia. Notably, GFAP and LTBP2 were highly specific for dementia prediction. GFAP and NEFL began to change at least 10 years before dementia diagnosis. Our findings strongly highlight GFAP as an optimal biomarker for dementia prediction, even more than 10 years before the diagnosis, with implications for screening people at high risk for dementia and for early intervention.

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Data availability

The data used in the present study are available from UK Biobank with restrictions applied. Data were used under license and are thus not publicly available. Access to the UK Biobank data can be requested through a standard protocol ( https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/register-apply/ ). Data used in this study are available in the UK Biobank under application number 19542. All data supporting the findings described in this manuscript are available in the article and in the supplementary materials and from the corresponding author upon request. Source data are provided with this paper.

Code availability

All software used in this study is publicly available. The code used in this study can be accessed at https://github.com/jasonHKU0907/DementiaProteomicPrediction .

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Acknowledgements

We thank all the participants and researchers from the UK Biobank. W.C. was funded by National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no. 2023YFC3605400). J.T.-Y. was funded by grants from the Science and Technology Innovation 2030 Major Projects (grant no. 2022ZD0211600), National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 82071201, 92249305), Research Start-up Fund of Huashan Hospital (grant no. 2022QD002) and Excellence 2025 Talent Cultivation Program at Fudan University (grant no. 3030277001). J.F.-F. was funded by National Key R&D Program of China (grant nos. 2018YFC1312904, 2019YFA0709502), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (grant no. 2018SHZDZX01) and the 111 Project (no. B18015). J.Y. was funded by Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program (grant no. 23PJD006). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis; decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. Further, we would like to thank the support from the ZHANGJIANG LAB, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute, and the State Key Laboratory of Neurobiology and Frontiers Center for Brain Science of Ministry of Education, Fudan University.

Author information

These authors contributed equally: Yu Guo, Jia You, Yi Zhang.

Authors and Affiliations

Department of Neurology and National Center for Neurological Disorders, Huashan Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Yu Guo, Jia You, Yi Zhang, Wei-Shi Liu, Yu-Yuan Huang, Ya-Ru Zhang, Qiang Dong, Wei Cheng & Jin-Tai Yu

Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Jia You, Wei Zhang, Jian-Feng Feng & Wei Cheng

Key Laboratory of Computational Neuroscience and Brain-inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China

Jian-Feng Feng & Wei Cheng

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Contributions

J.-T.Y. undertook conceptualization and design of the study, interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript. Y.G., J.Y. and Y.Z. collected, analyzed and interpreted the data, and drafted and revised the manuscript. J.-F.F., W.C. and J.-T.Y. were responsible for funding, administrative, technical or material support. All authors carried out revision of the manuscript. All authors had full access to all the study data and accepted responsibility for submitting it for publication.

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Correspondence to Jian-Feng Feng , Wei Cheng or Jin-Tai Yu .

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Nature Aging thanks Keenan Walker and Alexa Pichet Binette for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Extended data

Extended data fig. 1 flowchart for participants’ enrollment..

From the UK Biobank cohort, we excluded individuals with dementia at baseline or with self-reported dementia and those who did not undergo plasma proteomic assay. The remaining participants were classified based on their first reported years of ACD or AD or VaD after baseline. Abbreviations: ACD, all-cause dementia; AD, Alzheimer’s disease; VaD, vascular dementia.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information.

Supplementary Figs. 1–6.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary tables 1–13., source data, source data fig. 1.

Data used to plot Fig. 1.

Source Data Fig. 2

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Source Data Fig. 3

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Source Data Fig. 4

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Source Data Fig. 5

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Guo, Y., You, J., Zhang, Y. et al. Plasma proteomic profiles predict future dementia in healthy adults. Nat Aging 4 , 247–260 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43587-023-00565-0

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    The abstract title should emphasize the clinical condition and main teaching point. Format Case Report abstracts must be submitted in the following structured format: Introduction or Background Clinical Case (including diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and follow-up)

  4. Writing a case report in 10 steps

    Background research Research the disease/pathology that is the focus of your article and write a background paragraph or two, highlighting the relevance of your case report in relation to this. If you are struggling, seek the opinion of a specialist who may know of relevant articles or texts.

  5. PDF Case Study Abstract Template

    (Maximum 500 words) Background and Situation Analysis: Briefly describe the background of the problem you addressed with your intervention, including the organization conducting the initiative and key internal and external factors influencing this initiative.

  6. 15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

    Methodology: Describe the research methods you employed. Synopsis: This should include a summary of your results and conclusions. Keywords: Implement terms that others will use to find your article. Types of Abstracts Descriptive Abstracts: These give an overview of the source material without delving into results and conclusions.

  7. Medical Case Report Abstract and Title Guidelines

    Case Report Abstract The abstract must be concise, complete, and comprehensible to readers before they have read the article. How to Organize an Abstract 1. Background (1-2 sentences) First, explain why this case is being reported and its novelty or clinical relevance. 2.

  8. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

    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 read the full paper;

  9. How to Write an Abstract

    Step 1: Introduction Step 2: Methods Step 3: Results Step 4: Discussion Keywords Tips for writing an abstract Other interesting articles 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

  10. Guidelines To Writing A Clinical Case Report

    STRUCTURE OF A CASE REPORT[1,2] Different journals have slightly different formats for case reports. It is always a good idea to read some of the target jiurnals case reports to get a general idea of the sequence and format. In general, all case reports include the following components: an abstract, an introduction, a case, and a discussion.

  11. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Case study reporting is as important as empirical material collection and interpretation. The quality of a case study does not only depend on the empirical material collection and analysis but also on its reporting (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998). A sound report structure, along with "story-like" writing is crucial to case study reporting.

  12. The need to write an effective abstract: A case study

    The need to write an effective abstract: A case study Popular This article is in Title, Abstract & keywords Video & Graphical Abstracts Kakoli Majumder Mar 14, 2016 Reading time 4 mins Case: An author submitted his manuscript to a journal, but was extremely disappointed when he received a rejection from the journal a few days later.

  13. Writing a Clinical Vignette (Case Report) Abstract

    Introduction: Most case report abstracts begin with a short introduction. This typically describes the context of the case and explains its relevance and importance. However, it is perfectly acceptable to begin directly with the description of the case.

  14. 3. The Abstract

    An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem (s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief s...

  15. What Is a Case Study?

    Revised on November 20, 2023. A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research. A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods, but quantitative methods are ...

  16. PDF CSM Abstract Guidelines for Case Study/Case Series Reports

    Considerations before you start writing your abstract: First and foremost review and follow the guidelines set by CSM, failure to do so will result in a rejected abstract. Pay close attention to word limits and formatting instructions (CSM has a 3,125 character limit for the text of your abstract submission.

  17. PDF Abstract Writing and Submission Guideline: Case Report Category

    Use the following guidelines to write an abstract in the category of "case report" (i.e. the presentation of a specific client from your clinical practice.) A good abstract provides a well-organized, detailed, and transparent summary of your work.

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

    How to write an abstract Here are the basic steps to follow when writing an abstract: 1.

  19. How to Write a Case Study: from Outline to Examples

    Essay Writing All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study Written by Daniel Pn. February 15, 2023 11 min read Share the article Table of Contents What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is.

  20. How to write a successful conference abstract

    The first - and possibly hardest - part of the process is choosing which project, case study, or research to turn into an abstract submission. This is where the conference guidelines come in! It is vital to carefully read the abstract guidelines for the conference you are submitting to. ... When submitting an abstract and writing a ...

  21. Writing Abstracts and Developing Posters for National Meetings

    The Abstract for a Case Study. The abstract for a case study contains many of the same elements as the abstract for original research with a few important differences. Most importantly, you need to use the abstract to highlight the importance of the issue the case raises and convince the reader that both the case and the issue are interesting ...

  22. Q: Why does an abstract have to be done for a case study?

    Whether any document requires an abstract has more to do with the audience and the length of the document than with the type of the document. The purpose of the abstract is to save readers' time and to help them decide whether they should take a look at the full document, and a case study is no exception. An abstract, by giving the most essential information about the document in about 250 ...

  23. Importance of Writing an Abstract for a Case Study

    First, an abstract must present the main objective or purpose of the case study clearly. It should be concise yet comprehensive enough to summarize the most pertinent information contained in your case study. In addition, be sure to include any key research findings or results that were generated by the case study.

  24. (PDF) Case Study: How to Write an Abstract for Empirical Research

    or some of the results obtained. e idea of adding one of these steps is reinforced by the fact that. results suggest including four steps in each abstract. T. Move Summary of the paper 100.00% (45 ...

  25. Structure of a Case Study

    The structure of a case study is similar to storytelling; both have a main character or protagonist, and the story is wholly about the latter. The format of case study writing may vary depending on the purpose and context; however, here are the main elements used for writing such a paper. Title Page. The title should include information about ...

  26. Differentiated Instruction in an Online ESL Writing ...

    Design/methodology/approach Adopting an exploratory case study approach, the study collected data from multiple sources: interview with six students and two teachers; questionnaire survey (N = 74 ...

  27. Plasma proteomic profiles predict future dementia in healthy adults

    Participants' characteristics. This study included 52,645 adults without dementia at baseline, with a median age of 58 years, of whom 53.9% were female and 93.7% were of white ancestry (Table 1