You can use the word "abstract" to identify a type of art or to describe something that is difficult to explain. But when we talk about the abstract of an article, we mean a brief summary.

Since abstracts are so brief -- usually only a few sentences -- it is probably not a good idea to base your research on them. They can, however, can save you time by helping you identify good articles.

Periodical indexes usually include abstracts that are written by someone at the database company or by the author. However, it can be difficult to tell who wrote the abstract. For this reason, you shouldn't quote from abstracts in your papers. Use them wisely and your research will be easier.

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