Adopting a Structured Abstract Design to More Effectively Catch Reader Attention:
An Application of the Pitching Research® Framework
Robert W. Faff1
1UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Australia.
Abstract: Research Question: Creating a simple and effective structured abstract design for CMR. Motivation: The key purpose of abstracts is to communicate to readers the main messages. Abstracts need to catch reader (attention), just like fishermen trying to “hook big fish”. But, readers are impatient/time poor – they aren’t easy fish to catch – they are very easy to lose! Readers need the “right” bait and while a simple structured abstract design can serve this purpose – like any bait, it needs to be fresh and “tasty”, not stale and bland. What’s new? While structured abstracts are generally not new, for stakeholders of CMR this approach is new. So what? A structured abstract should engage readers and lead to more journal activity – more reads, cites, submissions. Idea: Leveraging the recent actions and experience of two other (“early-adopter”) journals heading down this path, we outline CMR’s adoption of a structured abstract design based on Faff’s (2015, 2019) Pitching Research framework – to catch reader attention. Data: Essentially the “data” relevant to this paper are qualitative – the relevant literature showing the key applications of the pitching research framework and, more specifically, recent applications of structured abstracts. Method/Tools: The tools are non-quantitative in nature, essentially based on a relaxed narrative style that derives learnings from and draws comparisons with the recent experience of other similar journals. We also use a technique of qualitative extension, in which we show other journal-linked applications of the Pitching Research framework. Findings: Similar to “early-adopter” journals, the CMR word limit is 300-350 words, and the same basic abstract structure is used: Research Question; Motivation; Idea; Data; Tools; Findings and Contribution. Two examples are given – one each, from the two early-adopter journals. Other journal-related applications of the framework are discussed: pre-registrations; replications and “Shark Tanks”. Contribution: Adopting a simple, focused, structured abstract design, allows CMR to meet the basic aim of communicating relevant new knowledge to its readership base. More generally, we argue that this structured abstract design increases awareness of the broader pitching research framework, helping all stakeholders to build on this initial “awakening”, to describe and ultimately design their own scholarly research.