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The State of Abstracts in Educational Research - Curran (2016) - AERA Open

Resource Type
  • Curran, F. Chris (UMBC School of Public Policy)
  • UMBC School of Public Policy
Publication Date
  • Abstract

    Replication materials for AERA Open Publication:
    Curran, F. C. (2016). The State of Abstracts in Educational Research. AERA Open, 2(3), 2332858416650168.


    There is a well-documented divide between education research and practice. In 2004, Mosteller, Nave, and Miech argued for a focus on the research abstract, particularly structured abstracts, to improve the translation of research into practice. Since their call, no study has systematically examined the quality of abstracts in education research or the degree to which structured abstracts are utilized.

    This study addresses two questions. First, what are the characteristics of the research abstracts required by journals in the field of education research? Second, to what extent do research abstracts in the field of education research contain the basic components of a research study?

    Original data are drawn from the top 150 education research journals. Data include the instructions to authors regarding abstracts for each journal (n = 150) and a random sample of abstracts (n = 189).

    Journal instructions and abstracts were coded. Codes included whether they were structured and whether they included components of a research study, such as the data or findings.

    A nontrivial proportion of abstracts fail to include important components of a research study. More than one in three lacked information regarding the background, and a similar proportion lacked information on conclusions. Over one quarter omitted information regarding the data, and a similar proportion lacked information on methodology. Only 7% of the top 150 journals explicitly require a structured abstract.

    The quality of abstracts in educational research could be improved. Suggestions for improving abstracts, such as shifting toward structured abstracts, are offered.

Temporal Coverage
  • 2014-01-01 / 2014-12-31
    Time Period: Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2014--Wed Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2014
Geographic Coverage
  • International

Update Metadata: 2018-12-15 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2018-12-15

Curran, F. Chris; UMBC School of Public Policy (2018): The State of Abstracts in Educational Research - Curran (2016) - AERA Open. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.