Difference Between Abstract and Introduction

Main Difference – Abstract vs Introduction

Abstract and introduction are two sections that can be found at the beginning of a document. Although abstract and introduction share some similar features, there are some fundamental differences between the two. Abstracts are generally found in academic work such as research papers, thesis and introduction can be found in many texts. The main difference between abstract and introduction is that an abstract summarizes the whole text whereas an introduction merely introduces the text.Difference Between Abstract and Introduction - infographic

What is an Abstract

An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper, thesis, dissertation, etc. It is characteristically found at the beginning of a document and it acts as an introduction, summary as well as a review of the whole document. An abstract may contain information such as the background, purpose and focus, methods, results, conclusions and recommendations. In other words, it summarizes the whole paper.

Abstracts can be classified into two types based on the information they carry: descriptive abstracts and informative abstracts. Descriptive abstracts, also known as limited abstracts, provide only a description of the content of the abstract (purpose, method, and scope). Informative abstracts contain purpose, method, and scope, but it also contains the results, conclusions, and the recommendations.

Its ability to act as a standalone document is one of the key features of abstracts. Most of the research articles that can be found online are in the form of abstracts; the readers can decide whether the research is relevant and appropriate by reading the abstract. Abstracts are also the basis used by many organizations for selecting research.

Difference Between Abstract and Introduction

What is an Introduction

An introduction is a part of a book or paper that leads up to and explains what will be found in the main part. Basically, it introduces the main text. Introductions are always found at the beginning of a text.

An introduction may contain information of the background, the outline of key issues, thesis statement, aims of the paper, etc. Some authors also use the introduction to define terms and concepts and describe the order of the paper.

The introduction is a very common and an essential component in a text. Introductions can be found in essays, nonfiction, research articles, thesis, projects, etc. However, slight variations may be noted in the introductions of these different categories. For example, in the introduction of a philosophy book, you may find details such as history, basic concepts, prominent figures, etc. but the introduction of an essay may be entirely different; it may be attention grabbing and dramatic.

Main Difference - Abstract vs Introduction

Difference Between Abstract and Introduction


Abstracts summarize the whole text.

Introduction introduces the text.


Abstract may contain results, conclusions and recommendations.

Introduction does not contain results, conclusions and recommendations.

Ability to stand alone 

Abstract can stand alone as a separate entity.

Introduction may not make sense without the main text.

Where it’s found

Abstracts are mainly found in research papers, thesis, dissertations, etc.

Introduction can be found in a wide variety of texts.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.