Abstracts in Medical Science Journals: An Analysis of Subheadings in Structured Abstracts

의학 저널에서 사용되는 구조적 초록의 소표제들에 관한 분석

  • Received : 2016.02.26
  • Accepted : 2016.03.22
  • Published : 2016.03.31


This study aimed to investigate the current uses of subheadings that appear in medical science journal abstracts and to discuss its potential implications for medical science from the perspectives of library and information science. To conduct this study, the following nine sub-fields in medical science were selected: cancer, ethics, genetics, infectious disease, neurology, pediatrics, immunology, psychiatry, and cardiology. Random sample data were drawn based on the years 2010 to 2015 from the PubMed database. This study investigated the extent of the uses of subheadings, variants of subheadings, and common formation of subheadings with the help of a frequency analysis. The specific findings of this study are summarized as the following: 1) more traditional abstracts are used across almost all sub-fields of medical science; 2) on average, 4.1 subheadings were used in the sample dataset; and 3) the most frequently used set of subheadings is OBJECTIVES, METHODS, RESULTS, and CONCLUSIONS. This subheading set appears to be the de facto standard across all medical science journals. The analysis of subheadings in structured abstracts and the issues raised in this study can be beneficial for journal editors and other academics in medical science as well as library and information science.


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