Difference between Abstract and Introduction (With Table)

Abstract vs Introduction

Abstract and Introduction are written pieces in a paper to tell the reader in advance about what to expect from the paper.

An abstract is a thumbnail sketch, a quick overview. An introduction is the first exposure to the subject. Neither of these two normally involves detailed explanations. They are for quick reference.

The purpose of an Abstract is for a reader to understand the purpose of the paper without having to read all of it. An abstract is like a summary of all the important points of the research paper.

The function of an introduction is to present a pathway to understanding what exists in the rest of the book or other document. The introduction is for the reader to understand the context of the paper or book. It provides background information and reasoning about the topic of the paper.

The difference between an Abstract and Introduction is that the Abstract is only a brief overview of the whole study whereas, the Introduction directs the reader to the framework of the paper.


 

Comparison Table Between Abstract and Introduction (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAbstractIntroduction
Word countAn Abstract does not exceed more than 250 words.An introduction reaches 500 words at the most.
Language usedAn abstract is written in a layman’s language. The technical terminology is avoided so that the write up is readable to non-specialists also. The information is given as briefly as possible.The introduction is more technically inclined and includes terminology related to the field of the paper.
Purpose of writingThe purpose of the abstract is to give a summary of the paper without having to read the whole of it.The purpose of the introduction is to answer the question – “why was the research paper written”. It familiarizes the reader with the background of the subject or topic of research.
Presence of ConclusionAn abstract will contain a conclusion or a closing statement.An introduction will never have a concluding statement because it is supposed to introduce the reader to the paper.
Inclusion of ReferencesAn abstract does not constitute of reference citations.An introduction includes reference citations.

 

What is Abstract?

An abstract can be defined as a brief summarization, mostly procured in research papers, articles, reviews, etc. that aids the reader to gain an idea of the prime objective of the topic area. The word count ranges from 150 to 250 generally. The abstract has information that suffices to help the reader take note of the purpose, nature, and, significance of the topic. It depicts the reason behind the use of a particular methodology used during research. It has a result and conclusion too.

The abstract is generally penned after the research paper is written. It is written in the past tense. The main purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with a gist of the research paper and help the reader to decide whether it is good enough to read the rest of the paper.

An abstract is useful for a reader when the research paper doesn’t have open access for all. The abstract gives the reader a summary of the actual paper without having to conduct a monetary payment for access. For open access papers, an abstract proves to be a decision- making tool for the reader as it helps the reader decide whether he/she would like to read the entire paper.

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The abstract should state:

  1. The problem
  2. The importance of the problem being solved
  3. Scientific Methods used to arrive at the conclusion
  4. Results
Abstract
 

What is Introduction?

An introduction is like a welcoming note for the readers. It gives a concise description or contextual information of the paper. It is the first and opening section which describes the intent, nature, purpose, and goals of the topic area of study.

An introduction provides an outline of the topic and helps create an understanding of the core text.

Some points to keep in mind while writing an introduction are:

  1. All research documents generally start with the introduction, which constitutes a thesis statement.
  2.  An introduction is needed to provide the contextual knowledge of the topic area and also to inform the reader about the problem statement.
  3. It represents what the writer wants to prove or disprove.
  4. An introduction is a pathway to the main topic, it fosters and develops the interest of the reader in reading the paper further.
  5. It is the root of the paper that describes what is going to be deliberated in the core body.
Introduction

Main Differences Between Abstract and Introduction

  • An abstract provides an outline of the main points from the entire research paper whereas, the introduction provides a brief description of the topic area, it’s reasoning, and goals to build the reader’s interest in the subject.
  • The main difference between an Abstract and Introduction is that the Abstract is only a brief overview of the whole study whereas, the Introduction directs the reader to the framework of the paper.
  • An abstract contains the main points of the study, the importance of the study, the purpose of the research, the methodology used, etc. whereas, the introduction acts as a gateway for the reader to comprehend what the rest of the research paper contains.
  • An abstract contains its introduction, body, and conclusion and is thus a stand-alone written piece whereas, an introduction is only the beginning of a stand-alone document.
  • The word count of abstract ranges from 150 to 250 words and doesn’t contain any references. An introduction has 500 words and contains references.

 

Conclusion

An abstract and an introduction are both extremely important elements of a research document or research paper. An abstract provides an outline or summary of the entire document while the introduction provides a gateway for the reader to understand the context of the research paper by giving background information about the area of study.

An abstract helps the reader decide whether the document should be read or not and the introduction helps the reader understand the purpose behind the document.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Abstract and Introduction

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Abstract and Introduction. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference between Abstract and Introduction

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