Archive | October, 2013

SAAPHI Abstract Writing Guide

30 Oct



 The writer should think of an abstract as a “marketing document”, in that its primary purpose is to summarize work that has been proposed or completed and capture the reader’s interest. It is a short document, typically comprised of 100 – 500 words that should be written in a concise manner. The components of the abstract will vary according to discipline. Further, a poorly written abstract discourages readers from taking the time to read through the document in its entirety.

There are many types of abstracts, including those used in journal publications, conference abstracts, as well as a prospectus or research proposal. Abstracts in journal publications usually precede the entire text of a peer-reviewed journal. This type of abstract is often readily available and is listed in search databases such as PUBMED, Medline, Ovid, Medscape, etc. Another type of abstract is a conference abstract. This abstract is used to propose paper topics, poster presentations, panel sessions, or oral presentations at a professional conference.


Beginning the Writing Process

When responding to a Call for Abstracts or Call for Papers, the writer should initially consider the intended audience and the submission guidelines. The intended audience is likely a review committee that may have to review many submissions and, for this reason, you have to ensure that your abstract will be able to stand out. However, do not forget your secondary audience. The secondary audience consists of those who will attend or are considering attending the conference. You want to be sure that, upon approval, your abstract will be enticing enough for them to join your presentation.

Next, decide upon a Problem Statement that will clearly explain the importance of the proposed research topic. This statement, which may be reflected in the title, should form the basis of the overall abstract and inform the reader of the information in the larger work. The statement should specify what practical, scientific, or theoretical gap your research is fulfilling. In other words, the problem statement should define the scope of the project.

General Components of an Abstract

Always review the specific guidelines of a particular journal or professional organization as abstract components may vary by discipline. The most basic “structured” abstract will likely consist of the following components:


This section should begin with an opening statement that contains 1 – 2 sentences and clearly explains the overarching purpose of the study, project, or program as well as the specific aims.


Specific models and approaches should be addressed. In addition, the writer should provide an overview of the methods used to gather data, develop and execute a project, or operate a program. In the most simplistic terms, explain what you did and how you did it. Include details about how the data was collected and analyzed.


Concisely summarize your main findings or outcomes. An abstract may include specific data or discuss critical findings in a more general way. Be sure to clearly state what was discovered, learned, or created.


The conclusion should consist of a brief discussion that imparts the significance of the results and discusses what they mean? Describe the implications, including for the problem or topic that was initially identified in the Introduction? Inform the reader as to how the research adds to the body of knowledge on a topic.

Additional headings may include:

  • Background
  • Specific Aims
  • Design
  • Participants
  • Intervention (Method)
  • Interpretation

Again, be sure to check what are specified in the formal Call for Abstracts/Papers.

Additional Tips

 State the topic within the first sentence, no later than the second sentence of the abstract.

  • Limit the length of the title to no more than 12 words (or what is stated in the guidelines).
  • Avoid using the first person “I” or “we” when possible.
  • Write in the past tense.
  • Choose active verbs instead of passive ones (ex: “the study tested” instead of “In the study we tested”).
  • Avoid jargon, trade names, acronyms, abbreviations, & symbols in your abstract, because your explanation of these names will take up valuable room/words.
  • Check your spelling and grammar, and be sure to provide logical connections/transitions between information in the abstract.
  • Review and edit!
  • Identify and include at least 5 key words to accompany the abstract.


28 Oct

WASHINGTON, DC, October 24, 2013Representatives from each of the federal government’s 14 principal statistical agencies are hosting a symposium next month in Washington that will highlight the variety of federal statistics and the numerous statistical careers available in the public sector.

The Symposium of the U.S. Statistical Agencies, which is part of the celebration of the International Year of Statistics, will be held November 13 and 14 at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Conference Center.

Open to all without cost, the two-day symposium will allow attendees to learn about federal statistical agencies, the range of statistics each produces and how to pursue a career as a government statistician.

“The Symposium of the U.S. Statistical Agencies will give attendees the opportunity to learn—in one place—about the valuable statistics and statistical services available from many federal statistical agencies,” says Ronald L. Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, whose organization is supporting the event. “These statistics help all Americans understand current developments in our country and are indispensable to providing insightful information that helps our elected leaders plan for the future.

“We invite anyone with an interest or a stake in statistics—including econometrics, demography, health, agriculture, energy and transportation—to attend the symposium,” continues Wasserstein.

The Symposium of the U.S. Statistical Agencies will be divided into five sessions targeted to different audiences and users of federal statistics and data products. Representatives of various federal statistical agencies will present during the five sessions. Each session is open to all attendees.

The date, time and a summary of each informational session follow:

November 13, 8:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Statistics for Economists

During this session, presenters will focus on how statistics can be applied to areas of interest to economists and finance professionals. There also will be talks focused on data visualization, understanding price indices, and more. Speakers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census Bureau, and National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics will make presentations.

November 13, 1:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: Statistics in Health

At this session, presenters from the National Cancer Institute, National Center for Health Statistics, Census Bureau, and Food and Drug Administration will discuss how statistical methodology can be used to better understand health-care related concerns, including health-insurance coverage, quality of cancer care, and combining information to enhance analyses related to health.

November 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. & 2 p.m.- 4 p.m.: Career Choices in Statistics

This two-part session, targeted to college statistics students, will explore various career paths, career-development skills, tips for landing a position with a federal statistical agency, and networking with professionals in government statistics. Representatives from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income, Census Bureau, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, and Federal Reserve Board will present.

November 14, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.: Statistics for Journalists

Journalism students and reporters from broadcast, print and online media outlets will find this session helpful to their understanding of lesser-known federal statistical agencies, official statistics produced by these agencies, and how they can access and use official statistics, studies and analyses in their reporting. Presenters will include representatives of the Economic Research Service, National Center for Education Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and National Center for Health Statistics.

November 14, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.: Statistics in the New Media Era

An array of expert speakers will discuss how statistical agencies are meeting the charge of implementing new media tools—social media, APIs, web and mobile apps, infographics and other data visualizations—that are covered in the President’s Digital Strategy. Presenters will be from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Energy Information Administration, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Free Registration

There is no charge to attend the Symposium of the U.S. Statistical Agencies. However, advance registration is required to ensure access to the BLS Conference Center.

To register, send an email to Wendy Martinez ( with “Symposium” in the subject line and your full name, a list of the session(s) you plan to attend, and any special needs, e.g., handicap access.

The BLS Conference Center is located near Union Station at the Postal Square Building, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C.

For more information, go to the Symposium of the U.S. Statistical Agencies website:

Event Contacts:

Wendy Martinez

Phone: 202.691.7400


Jeffrey A. Myers

American Statistical Association

P: 703.684.1221, Ext. 1865


HIGHLIGHTED STORIES: Let the Sunshine In! New Law Ends Secret Drug Industry Payments & Gifts to Doctors

17 Oct

The  Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA), will now allow patients to be able to see if their physician is unduly influenced by money or gifts from the drug and/or device industries.

The ew Law Ends Secret Drug Industry Payments & Gifts to Doctors and will provide transparency about potential conflicts of interest that could change how providers care for their patients and allow patients to hold them accountable.  


SAAPHI Scientific Symposium Webinar Postponed

15 Oct
To SAAPHI Members and Guests,
The Scientific Symposium Committee has postponed the upcoming Fall webinar on Wednesday, October 16th due to the government shutdown. We would like everyone to have an opportunity to participate. Stay tuned for the updates. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the committee at
Scientific Symposium Committee

HIGHTLIGHTED STORY: Government Shutdown Preventing Public Health Officials From Dealing With A Widespread Salmonella Outbreak

8 Oct



On Monday night, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged in California. The chicken has been linked to nearly 300 salmonella cases across 18 different states, a widespread outbreak that appears to have begun in March.

While State health officials in California are still able to work, and are encouraging residents to make sure they’re fully cooking their chicken in order to kill potential bacteria; the CDC, which typically monitors multi-state outbreaks of food poisoning, has been forced to scale back to a “skeletal crew” during the current shutdown. All but two of the CDC’s health officials who typically analyze foodborne pathogens have been furloughed.


Read more here: