Clarifying the Abstract Versus Exec Summary

posted Jun 3, 2012, 3:10 PM by Mike Morris   [ updated Feb 21, 2019, 9:28 PM by Ved Vakharia ]

I want to emphasize the difference between the abstract and executive summary for you as you start to fine tune your final report edit.

Abstract should be short and succinct.  You should strive for the 200 word max because of what it is designed to do which is just give the crucial information and the relevant numbers. If you are making your abstract too long then you are not utilizing the full benefits of the exec. summary.  The exec. summary should be a 2-3 page standalone document (which is just embedded into your report) that has one or two good annotated CAD photos and gives a good thorough summary of your report.  The abstract should only be words, no pictures, and with the maximum of 200 words it should only include those things that are important enough to fit inside the 200 word limit.  This is not a hard cap but a guideline so that your content is summarized in a way that reflects the brevity that the abstract should entail.  

I hope this clarifies some issues for you.  These two items are very critical in creating a report that fits the needs for all different types of people taking a look at the report, and should guide readers and engage and encourage them to read more of your report because of what they read in the abstract and then the executive summary. 

 ~Mike Morris