Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Presenting a scientific paper, including the pitfalls.
  1. L S Lashford
  1. Academic Unit of Paediatric Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Withington, Manchester.


    The tone of the presentation is set with the writing of the abstract. Wanting a trip to Vienna is not a good enough reason for framing an abstract unless the data are really interesting. If you don't find them so, you can bet your life that nobody else will. Have you presented the work before? Increasingly, the forms inviting abstracts stipulate that they should contain novel data. This protects the audience from boredom and your reputation from the aspersion that you never have anything new to say. It has been my practice to communicate similar data at a second meeting provided it contains some new results and that it is targeted at a totally unrelated specialist group. Hopefully, no one will have heard the information before. However, it is not acceptable to simply rehash the same abstract but should reflect the special interests of the second group. If one genuinely wants the abstract accepted for oral presentation it must contain a clear hypothesis, a brief description of methods, an exposition of results, and a conclusion. That well worn phrase 'results will be presented' simply raises the suspicion that the author is hoping that the data will be ready by the time that the conference begins. Sometimes, in the rush to meet deadlines for abstract submission, the needs of coauthors are overlooked. This is a sensitive area and can easily temporarily wreck what appeared to be a harmonious collaboration. Do make sure that all coauthors have seen the abstract before submission and are happy with the content--it is good research practice and important to the smooth running of the research group.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.