Writing abstracts for the public
Medical writers synthesize complex information in a clear and logical way that is appropriate for a target audience, from individual patients to physician groups to pharmaceutical companies. With a lay audience in mind, prepare a summary that utilizes the techniques of good writing: grammar, punctuation, tone, and voice.
For this exercise, you are a medical writer in a company that provides summaries of developments in clinical trials research and medicine. Your group has been hired to provide content for the American Lung Association’s (ALA) website.
Task: Prepare a summary of this research paper for a patient-oriented clinical trials summary.
A summary provides an understanding of the study and a brief description of the study’s outcomes. Identify what is important to readers of the ALA website. How will this summary fit with other summaries of clinical data on the webpage? Does yours provide enough information? Is the information easy to understand for someone without a medical background? Are the study’s outcomes framed to answer potential questions that readers might have about the study or about joining similar studies?
The 150-200 word summary should be brief and clear. It should allow a lay reader browsing the website to understand:
General resources to get you started:
Skills used to perform this task:
Skills used in the medical writing field:
To view detailed lists of skills in job descriptions for communication careers, please see workforce data generated by Boston University’s BEST program.
A professional in the medical writing field may also perform these activities:
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Simulation author: Linet Mera, PhD
Simulation vetted by professionals in the Bay Area