The problem of extending quantum-mechanical formal scattering theory to a more general class of models that also includes quantum field theories is discussed, with the aim of clarifying certain aspects of the definition of scattering states. As the strong limit is not suitable for the definition of scattering states in quantum field theory, some other limiting procedure is needed. Two possibilities are considered, the abelian limit and adiabatic switching. Formulas for the scattering states based on both methods are discussed, and it is found that generally there are significant differences between the two approaches. As an illustration of the applications and the features of these formulas, S-matrix elements and energy corrections in two quantum field theoretical models are calculated using (generalized) old-fashioned perturbation theory. The two methods are found to give equivalent results.