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Difference Between Abstract And Introduction In Dissertation Definition

Abstract vs Introduction

Abstract and Introduction are two terms used in researchmethodology and thesis writing between which certain differences exist. Most students tend to confuse these two as similar in nature. This, however, is a false identification. If you go through research papers, thesis, you will notice that there are two pages for the Introduction and Abstract. When going through the information provided, you will notice that an Abstract and Introduction are not actually the same and that they function for two different purposes. First let u s start off with an understanding of the two terms. Simply an Abstract is a short form of the thesis or research, which allows the reader to comprehend the crux of the research findings. However, the function of the Introduction is quite different. It provides the necessary backdrop for the reader to comprehend the research. This is the main difference between the two words. Through this article let us attempt to comprehend the difference, as well as the function of an Abstract and Introduction.

What is an Abstract?

First let us start off with the Abstract. An abstract, also referred as synopsis, is a short form of the final thesis. It contains the crux of the research findings. An abstract also refers to the short version of the research paper to be submitted to a conference or a seminar. Any university or an education institution that conducts a seminar asks for the Abstract of research papers to be read out by various scholars in various disciplines to be sent well in advance. This is to facilitate the publishing of the proceedings of the seminar well in advance. The purpose of writing an abstract is to let the reader know the subject matter of the research paper, in a nutshell. It contains a very brief explanation of what is found in the entire research paper.

What is an Introduction?

An introduction, on the other hand, is the first chapter of a thesis or a dissertation or a book for that matter. The purpose of an introduction is to introduce the reader to the topic of the book or the thesis. By reading or going through the introduction of a book, a reader gets an idea about the contents of the book or the content of the other chapters of the thesis. An introduction gives the significance and the scope of the subject of the thesis too. It throws light on various other aspects such as the need for research on the topic, the experts on the topic, the contribution of the predecessors on the topic and the like. Unlike an Introduction, an abstract just touches the subject matter of the research paper and presents it, in a nutshell. This is the difference between abstract and introduction. This gives the idea that an Introduction and Abstract are different from one another and focus on different things. Now let us summarize the difference between the two in the following manner.

What is the Difference Between an Abstract and Introduction?

  • An Abstract is a short form of the final thesis. It contains the crux of the research findings.
  • An introduction, on the other hand, is the first chapter of a thesis or a dissertation or a book for that matter.
  • An Introduction provides information about the contents of the book or the content of the other chapters of the thesis. It also gives the significance and the scope of the subject of the thesis.
  • An Abstract, however, presents the reader with the research findings in a summary, unlike in the case of an introduction which lays the foundation.


Image Courtesy:

1. Business Process Reengineering and Organizational Structure–A Case Study of Indian Commercial Banks By Socrates journal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “In Flanders Fields (1921) intro 1” by John McCrae and Ernest Clegg [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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Filed Under: EducationTagged With: abstract, Introduction, purpose of abstract, purpose of introduction, research paper, Synopsis, thesis writing

Abstract vs Introduction

The last time you wrote a paper for high school or college, you were told to make sure that the beginning of the paper gave the reader sufficient warning as to the contents therein. Depending on what level you were writing, you probably heard that warning referred to as either an introduction or an abstract. Today, when you are reading papers and books, you may still notice that every well-written paper gives the reader advanced notice about what to expect. Depending on the purpose of the work, this will either be an abstract or an introduction (in fact, you are reading an introduction right now!).

Definition of Abstract and Introduction
Abstract ‘“ is a short summary that is written at the beginning of a scholarly article or thesis that states the purpose of the paper and its main conclusion.
Introduction ‘“ is found at the beginning of any piece of writing that whet the reader’s appetite to read further and give a taste as to what will be in the rest of the pages. In a novel an introduction is naturally more creative than in an academic paper.

Where You Will Find Abstracts and Introductions
Abstract ‘“ if you are attending a conference, you will get abstracts of all the lectures being presented. A masters and PhD thesis will begin with an abstract, as will any scholarly article that you find in a journal from sociology to medicine.
Introduction ‘“ is literally the beginning of any body of writing. Non-fiction books have introductions, as do novels. Even newspaper and magazine articles start with an introduction to draw you in. High school and undergraduate research papers have introductions that act as an abstract, but are included in the body of the work.

Main Purposes of Abstracts and Introductions
Abstracts ‘“ are there in many ways to save the time of their readers. The people who read academic journals generally do a lot of specialized reading and therefore want to make the most of their time. Reading a one page abstract will tell them if it is worth their while to continue to read the rest of the sixty page paper.
Introductions ‘“ are meant to excite a general reader and entice him to read on. They may be anecdotal in nature or contain a captivating quote. They can also be factual, but should be presented in such a way that the reader will want to know what happens next. Often they will combine all three elements.

1.Both abstracts and introductions are found at the beginning of a piece of written work.
2.Abstracts and introductions want to prepare the reader for reading further.
3.Abstracts accomplish point 2 by stating the purpose of the paper, whereas introductions accomplish it by drawing the reader’s interest.
4.Abstracts are generally at the beginning of scholarly work, while you will find introductions at the beginning of any kind of written work. With this in mind, an abstract is a de facto introduction.

Manisha Kumar. "Difference Between an Abstract and an Introduction." October 27, 2009 < >.