All the research papers usually begin with an introduction, which contains a thesis statement. An introduction is used to give the background information about the topic and the work, as well as to state the problem to be examined. It often presents what the researcher attempts to prove/disprove in the work.
On the other hand, the abstract is like a short summary of an academic article or research paper, which discusses the purpose of the study and the outcome of the research. It usually summarizes the research topic, questions, participants, methods, outcome, data collected, analysis and conclusions. The article excerpt given hereunder discusses the difference between abstract and introduction.
Content: Abstract Vs Introduction
|Basis for Comparison||Abstract||Introduction|
|Meaning||An abstract refers to an outline or short summary of the research paper or the project.||The introduction refers to the preliminary piece of writing in a book or document, which contains its purpose and scope.|
|What is it?||Quick overview||First exposure to the subject|
|Function||It reports what the paper is all about, what the researcher did and the conclusion.||It shows a direction to understand what exists in the upcoming portion of the document or book.|
|Purpose||To provide a succinct summary of the research.||To convince the reader concerning the need for the research.|
|Contains||Purpose, problem, methods used, result and conclusion||Hook, background information, connect and thesis statement|
|Found in||Research Paper, Thesis and Dissertations||Wide range of texts.|
Definition of Abstract
An abstract can be described as a concise summary, often found in research work like thesis, dissertations, research articles, review, etc. which helps the reader to have an instant idea of the main purpose of the work. It is about a paragraph long of 150 to 250 words in general.
The information contained in the abstract should be sufficient enough to help the readers judge the nature and importance of the topic, the reasonableness of the strategy used in the investigation, nature of results and conclusions.
An abstract serves a number of purposes such as it allows the readers to get the gist of your paper, so as to decide whether to go through with the rest of the work. It is usually written after the writing of the paperwork is over and that too in the past tense.
An abstract rolls all the important information of the work into a single page, such as the context, general topic, central questions, problem under study, main idea, previous research findings, reasons, research methodology, findings, results, arguments, implications, conclusion and so on. To create an abstract one should pick the main statements from the above-mentioned sections, to draft an abstract.
Types of Abstract
- Descriptive Abstract: It briefly describes the abstract and the length is usually 100-200 words. It indicates the type of information contained in the paper, discusses the purpose of writing, objectives and methods used for research.
- Informative Abstract: As the name suggests, it is a detailed abstract which summarizes all the important points of the study. It includes results and conclusions, along with the purpose, objective, and methods used.
Definition of Introduction
Introduction means to present something to the readers, i.e. by giving a brief description or background information of the document. It is the first and foremost section which expresses the purpose, scope and goals, concerning the topic under study. As an introduction gives an overview of the topic, it develops an understanding of the main text.
An introduction is a gateway to the topic, as it is something which can create interest in the readers to read the document further. It is the crux of the document, which states what is to be discussed in the main body.
Elements of Introduction
An introduction has four basic elements namely: hook, background information, connect and thesis statement.
- Hook is the preliminary sentence of the introduction which is used to fasten the attention of the readers, and so it has to be interesting, attention-grabbing, and readable of course, so as to stimulate the readers to read the complete text.
- Background Information is the main part of the introduction, which presents the background of the research topic, including the problem under study, real-world situation, research questions, and a sneak peek of what the readers can expect from the main body.
- Connect, is a simple line which is used to link or say relate the background information with the research statement, by using words ideas or phrases, so as to ensure the flow and logic of writing the text.
- Thesis statement is the central point of the argument, which is usually a single sentence, whose points of evidence are to be talked about in the following text, i.e. the main body.
Key Differences Between Abstract and Introduction
The difference between abstract and introduction are discussed in the points:
- An abstract is a concise and accurate representation which gives an overview of the main points from the entire document. On the other hand, Introduction is the first section which makes the reader aware of the subject, by giving a brief description of the work, i.e. why the research is needed or important.
- While an abstract will give you an immediate overview of the paper, the introduction is the initial exposure to the subject under study.
- An abstract reports key points of the research, as well as it states why the work is important, what was the main purpose of research, what is the motivation behind choosing the subject, what you learned from the research, what you found out during the research and what you concluded, in a summarized way. As against, an introduction presents a direction to understand what exists in the upcoming portion of the document or book.
- As an abstract has its own introduction, main body and conclusion, it is a standalone document which summarizes the result of the findings and not just the list of topics discussed. As against, the introduction is not a standalone document or piece.
- The main purpose of an abstract is to provide a succinct summary of the research. Conversely, introduction aims at convincing the reader about the need for the research.
- An abstract contains the purpose, problem, methods used, result and conclusion. On the contrary, the introduction includes a hook, background information, connect and thesis statement.
- While abstract is found in a research paper, thesis and dissertations, the introduction is found in a wide range of texts.
An abstract gives a preview of the work, outlines the main points and helps the audience in decision making, i.e. whether they want to read the complete text or not. On the other hand, an introduction is the very first section of the work, which clarifies the purpose of writing.
Without an abstract and introduction, the readers might not be able to know what the work contains and what is the reason or motivation behind the research. So, these two are like thread which goes through the writing and creates an understanding in the reader about the topic under study. While writing these two, one should ensure that they accurately reflect what you cover in the document or book.