An abstract is a summary. In academic articles, the abstract is a one-paragraph synopsis of the content of the article that follows it. The abstract, therefore, is not an introduction. While it does appear first, it is meant to stand apart from the article as a whole and to enable researchers to quickly decide whether the article discusses an applicable problem, subject, and/or methodology. An abstract is not terribly detailed, and it doesn’t usually divulge an article’s ultimate claims. Rather, it provides a brief glimpse of the topics covered, the research methods used, and the general findings discovered. The abstract is useful for helping you decide, relatively quickly, whether or not the article overlaps with your research question(s). This short paragraph is sometimes followed by a list of author-supplied keywords that, if used as search terms, could reasonably be expected to pull up the article in question. An abstract also pretty clearly identifies a piece of writing as an academic research article instead of something that is less formal, such as an informative piece. In other words, if you aren’t sure whether what you have found is in fact an academic research article, ask yourself, “Does it have an abstract?” If the answer is, “No,” it may not be an academic research article, in which case it would be unsuitable for our purposes.