11 Difference between Abstract and Introduction (With Table)

What is the main difference between abstract and introduction? Abstract is a summary of the entire study and generates readers’ interest into your paper. Introduction is the first section of the paper that covers background information and set of context for your research.

Write academic research paper can be intimidating due to the number of boxes to check for its completion. A good abstract and introduction will save you from hassles during revision stages to increase the likelihood of your paper being accepted.

Understanding the difference between introduction and abstract in research paper is vital. This post explains all the hidden differences and similarities between abstract and introduction. Take the time to read through the entire article.

Difference between Abstract and Introduction with Table

Basic Terms Abstract Introduction
Placement Usually appears at the beginning of the paper Follows the abstract, appearing just before the body
Length Typically concise, around 150-250 words Relatively longer, often spanning 1-2 pages
Purpose Summarizes the entire paper briefly Provides context and background for the research
Content Contains a condensed overview of the key points Presents the rationale, objectives, and hypotheses
Citations Generally does not include citations May include citations to relevant literature
Tense Typically written in the past tense Primarily in the present tense
Specificity Avoids detailed methodology or results May hint at the methodology and key findings
Structure Often divided into sections (e.g., purpose, methods, results, conclusion) Typically structured linearly
Readership Designed for a broader audience Intended for a specialized academic audience
Engagement Doesn’t engage readers emotionally or conceptually May engage readers with a hook or interesting context
Order of Writing Written after the completion of the paper Usually written after the main body is drafted

What Is Abstract?

An abstract is a concise and structured summary that provides an overview of the essential elements and findings of a research paper, thesis, article, or any scholarly document.

It serves as a standalone piece of writing that allows readers to quickly grasp the main objectives, methods, results, and conclusions of the study without having to read the entire document.

Typically, abstracts are placed at the beginning of the paper, immediately following the title and author information.

A well-written abstract should contain key information such as the research’s purpose or objectives, the methodology employed, the main results or findings, and the implications or significance of the study.

It is usually brief, ranging from 150 to 250 words, and is written in a clear, concise, and precise manner. Abstracts are invaluable for researchers, scholars, and academics as they help in deciding whether to delve deeper into the full paper, making them an essential part of academic communication and literature retrieval.

What Is Introduction?

An introduction in the context of academic or research writing is the initial section of a document, paper, thesis, or essay that serves several important functions. It typically spans one to several pages and plays a pivotal role in setting the stage for the reader.

Context Establishment: The introduction introduces the topic or subject matter of the research, providing essential background information. It often outlines the broader context in which the study is situated, including relevant historical, theoretical, or practical considerations.

Problem Statement: It articulates the research problem, question, or gap in the existing literature that the study aims to address. This helps the reader understand why the research is relevant and significant.

Objectives and Hypotheses: The introduction states the research objectives or goals and may include any hypotheses that will be tested during the study. This helps the reader anticipate the study’s direction.

Rationale: It explains why the research is necessary, highlighting its potential contributions to the field and its real-world implications.

Scope and Organization: The introduction outlines the scope and structure of the paper, providing a roadmap for what the reader can expect in the subsequent sections.

Main Difference between Abstract and Introduction

  1. An abstract offers a concise summary of the entire document’s main points, while the introduction provides initial insight into the subject’s importance.
  2. The abstract provides an immediate overview, whereas the introduction is the first exposure to the subject.
  3. An abstract summarizes key research points, its significance, purpose, motivation, findings, and conclusions. In contrast, an introduction guides readers on what to expect in the upcoming text.
  4. The abstract stands alone with its introduction, body, and conclusion, summarizing findings comprehensively. The introduction is not a standalone piece.
  5. The abstract’s primary purpose is succinctly summarizing research, while the introduction aims to convince readers of the research’s necessity.
  6. An abstract includes the research’s purpose, problem, methods, results, and conclusion, while the introduction features a hook, background, connection, and thesis statement.
  7. Abstracts appear in research papers, theses, and dissertations, whereas introductions are common in various types of texts.

Similarities between Abstract and Introduction

  1. Both appear at the beginning of a document.
  2. They provide an overview of the research’s subject.
  3. Both convey the paper’s purpose and scope.
  4. They help readers understand the document’s content.
  5. Both are integral parts of academic and research writing.


The abstract and introduction serve distinct yet complementary roles in academic and research writing. The abstract succinctly summarizes the entire document, offering a condensed version of its key points and findings, while the introduction sets the stage by providing context, background information, and the rationale behind the research.

While the abstract stands alone as a summary, the introduction engages readers and guides them into the subject matter. Together, they form the initial impressions and roadmap for the reader, facilitating comprehension and decision-making regarding further exploration of the document.

Understanding the differences between these two sections is crucial for effective communication in scholarly writing, ensuring that both the broader context and the specific content of the research are appropriately conveyed to the audience.

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