Difference between Preface and Abstract

difference between preface and abstract

This article discusses the difference between an introduction and an abstract. All research papers usually begin with a foreword containing a thesis statement. The introduction is used to provide background information on the topic and work, as well as to state the problem to be examined. It often presents what the researcher is trying to prove/prove in the work.

On the other hand, an abstract is like a short summary of an academic article or research paper, which discusses the aims of the research and the results of the research. It usually summarizes the research topic, questions, participants, methods, results, data collected, analysis and conclusions.

Definition of Preface

Preface means to present something to the reader, namely by providing a brief description or background information on the document. This is the first and most important part which states the purpose, scope and objectives, regarding the topic under study. As the introduction provides an overview of the topic, it develops an understanding of the main text.

The introduction is the gateway to the topic, as it is something that can keep the reader interested in reading the document further. This is the essence of the document, which states what will be covered in the main section.

Elements of Preface

The introduction has four basic elements namely: hook, background information, linking and thesis statement.

  • hook is an introductory sentence or introduction that is used to accelerate the reader’s attention, and therefore must be interesting, attention-grabbing, and of course readable, so that it can stimulate the reader to read the full text.
  • Background Information is the main part of the Preface that provides background on the research topic, including the problem under study, real-world situations, research questions, and a peek at what readers can expect from the main body.
  • Connect is a simple line used to connect or say connect background information to the research statement, using idea words or phrases, so as to ensure the flow and logic of the writing of the text.
  • thesis statement is the main point of the argument which is usually a single sentence whose proof points should be discussed in the following text, namely the main body.

Abstract Definition

An abstract can be described as a brief summary, often found in research works such as theses, dissertations, research articles, reviews, etc., which helps the reader to have an instant idea of ​​the main purpose of the work. This is about 150 to 250 word long paragraphs in general.

The information contained in the abstract should be sufficient to help the reader assess the nature and importance of the topic, the reasonableness of the strategies used in the investigation, the nature of the results and conclusions.

Abstracts serve a number of purposes such as allowing the reader to get to the heart of your paper, so they can decide whether to continue with the rest of the work. It is usually written after the writing of the document is complete and that too in the past tense.

An abstract rolls all the important information from the work into one page, such as context, general topic, central question, problem under study, main idea, findings of previous research, reasons, research methodology, findings, results, arguments, implications, conclusions and so on. To create an abstract, one has to select the main statement from the above-mentioned sections.

Abstract Type

  • Descriptive Abstract: It briefly describes the abstract and is usually 100-200 words in length. It indicates the type of information contained in the paper, discusses the purpose of the writing, aims and methods used for the research.
  • Informative Abstract: As the name suggests, this is a detailed abstract summarizing all the important points of this research. It includes the results and conclusions, along with the intent, purpose, and methods used.

Difference Between Preface and Abstract

The main differences between Foreword and Abstract are discussed in the following points:

  1. An abstract is a concise and accurate representation that provides an overview of the main points of the entire document. On the other hand, Preface is the first part that makes the reader aware of the subject, by providing a brief description of the work, i.e. why the research is necessary or important.
  2. While the abstract will give you a direct overview of the paper, the foreword is the initial exposure to the subject under study.
  3. An abstract reports the main points of the research, and also states why the work is important, what is the main purpose of the research, what was the motivation behind choosing the subject, what you learned from the research, what you found out during the research. research and what you conclude, in a nutshell. Instead, a preface provides direction for understanding what’s in the next section of a document or book.
  4. Since the abstract has its own introduction, main body and conclusion, it is a standalone document that summarizes the findings and not just a list of topics covered. On the other hand, the foreword is not a stand-alone document or work.
  5. The main purpose of the abstract is to provide a concise summary of the research. Instead, the preface aims to convince the reader of the need for research.
  6. Abstract contains objectives, problems, methods used, results and conclusions. Instead, the preface includes the hook, background information, linking and thesis statement.
  7. While abstracts are found in research papers, theses and dissertations, forewords are found in various texts.


An abstract provides a preview of the work, outlines the main points and helps the audience in making a decision, i.e. whether they want to read the full text or not. On the other hand, the introduction is the very first part of this work, which explains the purpose of the writing.

Without an abstract and a preface, readers may not be able to know what is contained in the work and what the reasons or motivations behind the research are. So, both are like threads that go through the writing and create understanding in the reader about the topic under study. When writing both, one must ensure that they accurately reflect what you are covering in the document or book.