Back to articles

Abstract vs Introduction: Academic Writing Guidelines

November 14, 2019

Abstract vs Introduction:

Students can’t be blamed for thinking that their schools, colleges, universities and professors are just out to confuse them. When it comes to writing a research paper, the requirements can be downright confusing between knowing what is the difference between an abstract and an introduction as there is actually a very fine line between the two.

Is an abstract the same as an introduction? Aren’t they both the same? Does a paper require both? If an abstract is too long, does it become an introduction? Your APA paper shows both abstract and introduction and has some major sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Paper. The introduction comes in here.
  • Paper Format
  • References and Citations.

Abstracts and Introductions: The Essence

If you were going to be attending a conference, you’d know the difference between abstract versus introduction and actually become very familiar with abstracts for instance. This is because everyone would receive an abstract on the lectures to be presented at the conference.

A book title such as ‘Introduction to Abstract Algebra’is a good resource for engineers and scientists and in the book’s introduction it enlightens readers about what they can find within the pages along with examples and special topics.

With abstract vs introduction scientific paper, with the abstract you will give an overall view of your scientific paper as well as include the necessity of the paper topic. For the introduction, you can provide an extended abstract and clearly state your approach and how you investigated your outcomes.

Introduction vs Abstract: APA Style Guildelines

Abstract vs introduction can become even more tricky when your professor says APA abstract vs introduction. As a psychology student, you need to become familiar with the APA format which is the official style of the American Psychological Association.

When a student sees APA style it means that a particular presentation and layout is required as well as the organization of references. This format also stipulates the use of an abstract.

With abstract vs introduction APA, if APA format is specified, it’s a specific writing style that is used to cite references. The APA format requires that you clearly let your readers know what they can expect from your report. In the introduction, you’ll explain the significance of the study in the paper.

Subtle Difference Between An Abstract And Introduction

The abstract and introduction are very similar. This is frustrating for a number of researchers drafting their first manuscript. What is the difference between abstract and introduction then? The primary purpose of an abstract is to give a quick appraisal of the paper, and the abstract introduction is seen as an independent document and is complete in itself.

To confuse things further, there are different kinds of abstracts too. There are 2 main types of abstract – descriptive and informative abstract. The type you use will depend on the discipline area with descriptive abstracts mostly being used for the likes of social science papers.

Informative abstracts are used for engineering or psychology for instance and also have key parts – background, the aim of research, the method used, results and conclusion. Feel free to get assistance from our paper writers, if you got stuck.

A Condensed Form Of A Longer Piece Of Writing

Whichever abstract you use, they are always short – between 50-200 words. It’s found at the top of the report, providing a quick overview of what the report is about – a condensed form of a longer piece of writing.

  • When it comes to comparing the abstract and introduction, you’ll find that the introduction is also the first section of your research paper.
  • The introduction is a bit more in-depth, providing information on the background of the subject and also explaining the hypothesis. Many a student completes the paper first and then drafts the introduction. They want to make sure that it is focused on the important points.
  • Another difference between introduction and abstract is that your introduction will have citations to references but for the abstract, this isn’t necessary.
  • If you’re doing a laboratory course, with an abstract vs introduction lab report, the introduction will explain the objective of the lab. Sometimes the introduction will have background information, summarize how the experiment was performed and list the conclusions of the investigation.
  • The Abstract on the other hand, is a miniature version of the lab report and presents the scope of the report. It is completely stand-alone and self-contained.

Every student knows that a paper has an introduction so as to present the main idea of the work. However, some academic works will also require an abstract.

Abstract And Introduction: Example

Title: Koss Corporation Case Study


This paper will present an ethical case that involves a small company, Koss Corporation. The ethical issue will be discussed, as will the dilemma faced by the company and any legal issues present in the case. In addition, several questions will be asked about the case and the answers to those questions will be provided in a linear fashion.

Keywords: ethical case, case study, Koss Corporation


Koss Corporation has been in business since 1958, operating out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Koss, 2015). The company’s primary focus is the design and manufacture of headphones, creating high quality goods that last for decades. As the years go by, the designs have become smaller and more efficient, but no less powerful. In the early 1990s, the company branched out to the design and manufacture of audio and video electronics, operating under the name Koss Audio and Video Electronics (Koss, 2015). The company is now owned by founder John Koss’ son, Michael Koss (Koss, 2015). In spite of the reputation for high quality in its products, the company has not always had such a reputation for high quality in its employees, as recent events have shown. An investigation of the most recent ethical issue faced by the company serves to shed additional light on the matter.

Not knowing the subtle differences between them can cost a student important marks. Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to research papers and marks. Every student must know the subtle difference between an abstract and an introduction or else lose some very important marks for their ignorance.

Take a break from writing.

Top academic experts are here for you.

do my paper