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Difference Between Abstract and Summary

Abstract vs Summary

Abstract and Summary are two terms that are used differently in relation to a thesis or a research paper and an essay or a chapter. This is the difference between abstract and summary. An abstract is a short form of a research paper in a nutshell. On the other hand a summary is a short form of an essay or a chapter in a book or an act in a play. This is the main difference between abstract and summary.

You can write a summary of the 2nd scene of the 1st act of the play ‘Macbeth’ of Shakespeare. You should not use the word ‘abstract’ to mean summary. In other words it is wrong to say ‘write an abstract of the 2nd scene of the 1st act of the play Macbeth’. It is right to say ‘write a summary of the 2nd scene of the 1st act of the play Macbeth.’ This is the main difference between the two words abstract and summary.

An abstract on the other hand is requested to be submitted prior to the long research paper to be presented in a seminar or a conference. This is normally requested by the authorities of the seminar or the conference to publish the proceedings of the seminar well in advance in the form of a book.

At the same time the purpose of reading an abstract is to get a clear idea about the subject matter of the research paper and the angle in which the study is made in the paper. An abstract is said to reflect the mind of the author of the research paper. A summary on the other hand is said to reflect the events of the particular act of a play in a nutshell. This is the difference between an abstract and a summary.


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