I have three sources from which I derived this general format for my abstracts. The first source is the structured abstract format given in Kitchenham and Charters 2007, p. 42 (Kitchenham, B.A. and Charters, S. (2007) Guidelines for performing Systematic Literature Reviews in Software Engineering, Version 2.3, Keele University, EBSE Technical Report, EBSE-2007-01):
A structured summary or abstract allows readers to assess quickly the relevance, quality and generality of a systematic review.
- Context: The importance of the research questions addressed by the review.
- Objectives: The questions addressed by the systematic review.
- Methods: Data Sources, Study selection, Quality Assessment and Data extraction.
- Results: Main finding including any meta- analysis results and sensitivity analyses.
- Conclusions: Implications for practice and future research.
In addition, I’d like to ask certain research questions for my theoretical interest. Thus, as a second source, I borrow the questions I used for my paper in: Okoli, C., Schabram, K. (2009), “Protocol for a Systematic Literature Review of Research on the Wikipedia“:
- What are the research questions?
- What theoretical frameworks and reference theories have been used to investigate the question?
- What methodological approaches have been employed to answer research questions?
- What conclusions have been made? In particular, were the research questions answered, or are the results inconclusive? If you question the validity of their conclusions, state so.
A final source of items for an abstract come from the Style Requirements for Sprouts :
Abstract should be up to 250 words and cover all the following: rationale, objectives, key questions, methodology, data sources if any, key findings, key contribution to knowledge, key implications.