Abstract or summary? What’s the difference?
|Length||150–200 words||Up to 1000 words|
|Text type||Journal article, conference submission||Thesis dissertation, policy or other business reports, conference submission|
|Style||Depends on the journal and conference||Depends on the discipline, university/business/conference requirements|
|Audience||Specialised or general?||Specialised or general?|
|When to write||
Adapted from Wallwork, A. English for Writing Research Papers. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-7922-3_12, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.
How do I know which type to choose?
Follow the relevant guidelines provided by the journal, the conference organisers, or in the case of your thesis, the Graduate Research Office.
Common complaints about abstracts from HDR examiners/peer reviewers:
The author has written more than 400 words in the abstract and yet has only described the context but not the results of his/her work and the implications.
The abstract doesn’t do justice to what the paper is about. It is too abstruse and dense. It is only understandable after the paper has been read. It should be understandable to a general economics-literate audience, not just to those few researchers within the author’s very specific field.
The authors have failed to state why the scientific community should be interested in their work nor what value is being added to what is already known.
The following video explains how to develop a discipline-relevant abstract.
Activity: Abstract analysis
This PDF contains different abstract samples for you to analyse in preparation for writing your own.
Summary template: Nature journal
This summary template comes from the website of high ranking science journal Nature.