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The English term abstract means a concise summary or table of contents , an outline without interpretation and evaluation of a scientific work , which outlines the central contents of the actual publication in terms of subject matter, methodology and results. The DIN 1426 into the German language the term Abstract on; the term abbreviated version is also common . In English, the term summary is sometimes used synonymously .

general characteristics

  • Objectivity: It should refrain from any personal evaluation.
  • Brief: It should be as short as possible.
  • Comprehensibility: It has a clear, comprehensible language and structure.
  • Completeness: All essential facts should be included.
  • Accuracy: It should accurately reflect the content and opinion of the original work.


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) definition is:

"An abstract is defined as an abbreviated accurate representation of the contents of a document."

"An abstract is defined as an abbreviated, precise representation of the content of a document."


Abstracts can be used in many ways - for example to determine relevance: It should be possible to identify quickly and precisely whether the document is relevant to the question and whether the reader still has to read the original document. It also serves to obtain information: The abstract should provide the essential information without having to read the original document. Abstracts are also useful for research reports and the like: Some of them can be made available to the public if this is not possible with the original document.

Usually scientific articles have to contain an abstract, typically 100 to 150 words, without pictures and literature citations and in one paragraph. At conferences , it is usually required to submit an abstract so that the scientific organization team can decide which of the desired presentations will be admitted. These abstracts are usually a little longer and can often contain images and citations on up to one A4 page.

Content editing

  • The initial situation, intentions, goals, thematic delimitation, (hypo-) theses of the document must be briefly named.
  • The same applies to the results and conclusions, whereby assumptions and facts must be clearly separated.
  • The reference to other works should be cited bibliographically if they are an important part (does not apply to abstracts of scientific articles).
  • The investigation methods and techniques as well as perspectives are to be named, but only as it is necessary for understanding.


The abstract should always be at the beginning of the original document. The bibliographical information on the document should follow immediately after the abstract. The length should depend on the content and not on the length of the document.

Border forms of the abstract

The "replacing" report is intended to save reading the original document and represents a compression of the original document.

The "critical" report is an explicit statement and can be used, for example, for information services that address certain groups of people.

See also


  • DIN, German Institute for Standardization: Presentation technology for dissertations and scientific work, DIN standard. 2nd Edition. Beuth, Berlin / Vienna / Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-410-14816-7 .
  • Wolfgang G. Stock , Mechtild Stock: Knowledge representation. Evaluate and provide information. Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58439-4 .
  • Birgit Huemer, Markus Rheindorf, Helmut Gruber: Abstract, exposé and funding application: Writing instructions for students and young researchers. (= Uni-Taschenbücher . UTB Volume 3762). Böhlau / UTB, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar / Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8252-3762-2 .
  • John M. Swales, Christine B. Feak: Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts. (= Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes ). University of Michigan Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-472-03335-5 .
  • Ana D. Cleveland, Donald B. Cleveland: Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting. 4th edition. Libraries Unlimited, 2013, ISBN 978-1-59884-976-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. DIN 1426 (version from October 1988). Retrieved April 5, 2020 .
  2. Wolfgang Lück and Michael Henke , Technique of Scientific Work , Munich : Oldenbourg Wissensch.Vlg , 2014. ISBN 978-3-48685006-2
  3. ^ Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly, The Elements of Technical Writing , pg. 117. New York : Macmillan Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0020130856
  4. Wolfgang G. Stock and Mechtild Stock: Knowledge representation: Evaluate and provide information . Ed .: Walter de Gruyter. 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58439-4 , pp. 382 .
  5. Abstract for scientific work | Counselor. April 13, 2020, accessed on May 20, 2020 (German).
  6. ^ University of Hohenheim: Abstract: Humboldt reloaded. Retrieved May 20, 2020 .