What is an abstract?
An abstract is a short summary of the contents of an article given in a database or in the text of an article itself. Abstracts are useful for two reasons:

  • They help you to understand quickly whether an article contains information on your research topic.
  • They often contain keywords that can be used to improve your searches.

Abstracts can be found in two places:

  1. The description of an article found in a library database often contains an abstract:

    Abstract in a library database

  2. An abstract appears at the beginning of many articles published in scholarly journals:

    Abstract at the beginning of an article