Abstracts are called 'summaries' by some journals, though strictly speaking the terms are not exactly the same.

■ A summary restates the main findings and conclusions of a paper and is written for people who have already read the whole thing. (See section 2.12 Summary Writing)

■ An abstract is a shortened version of the paper written for people who may never read the full version. Since abstracts are often reprinted in abstracting journals separated from the original paper, they need to be self-explanatory.

An abstract normally appears at the top of the page in front of the actual paper it outlines. The purpose is to inform readers as concisely as possible what is in the article so that they can decide whether to read it in detail.

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