Preparation, submission, and presentation of an abstract are important facets of the research process, which benefit the investigator/author in several ways. Writing an abstract consists primarily of answering the questions, "Why did you start?" "What did you do?" "What did you find?" and "What does it mean?" A few practical steps in preparing to write the abstract can facilitate the process. ... [Show full abstract] This article discusses those steps and offers suggestions for writing each of an abstract's components (title, author list, introduction, methods, results, and conclusions); considers the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating a table or figure into the abstract; offers several general writing tips; and provides annotated examples of well-prepared abstracts: one from an original study, one from a method/device evaluation, and one from a case report.