Academic Writing
Literary Terminology
The Difference Between

What is the difference between abstract and summary?

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2011-05-22 04:21:31

An abstract is usually a summary provided for a specific purpose

in an academic context. For example, at most universities students

submitting disseratations have to provide an abstract, too. This

has to conform to specific, given criteria. Similarly, when

scholars and scientists send papers to learned an/or scientific

periodicals they are often required to provide an abstract, again

in conformity with specified criteria. An abstract should give an

outline of the hypothesis and the conclusion and should indicate

the scope of the dissertation or article.

The term summary on the other hand is much looser.

In addition to the ordinary learned periodicals there are also

'abstracting journals' that provide very brief abstracts of

articles in learned periodicals. Often the abstracts in these

journals must not exceed 250 words.

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