Because of the brevity of an abstract (typically 100-250 words), evaluating abstracts is a difficult task. Abstract reviews are used to select presentations of the best-designed studies with the most important outcomes for nursing conferences. (Schmidt & Brown, 2009)
Criteria often used include:
- Topic appropriateness for conference
- Completeness of the project
- Overall quality—introduction, methods, results, discussion
- Significance to the discipline of nursing
- Presentation—clarity and completeness of the write-up.
Abstract review can also be used as a screening method to search for appropriate manuscripts to review. Database searches (see Finding the Evidence) can be done which request available abstracts. Persons looking for studies can critically evaluate these abstracts for their usefulness in their quest for evidence.
Key factors to look for are:
- Are the variables studied (independent variable or intervention; dependent variables or outcomes) involved in the practice that is being considered for change?
- Is the setting similar to the setting where the practice change will occur?
- Are the patients studied similar to those who will be involved in a practice change?
Continue to Step 3.5 - Critiquing an Integrated Review