Difference between term paper and case study

Difference between term paper and case study

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difference between abstract and introduction
Manuscript sections

Abstract vs. Introduction: Do You Know the Difference?


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Ross wants to publish his research. He sits to draft his manuscript. After completing the abstract, he proceeds to write the introduction. He finds himself a bit confused. Do the abstract and introduction mean the same? How is the content for both the sections different? This is a dilemma faced by several young researchers while drafting their first manuscript. An abstract is similar to a summary except that it is more concise and direct. The introduction section of your paper is more detailed. It states why you conducted your study, what you wanted to accomplish, and what is your hypothesis. Let us learn more about the difference between the abstract and introduction.

The Abstract

The details of a study, such as precise methods and measurements, are not necessary in the abstract. An abstract provides the reader with a clear description of your study and its results without the reader having to read the entire paper. The abstract is an important tool for researchers who must sift through hundreds of papers from their field of study.

The abstract  holds more significance  in articles without open access. Reading the abstract would give an idea of the articles, which would otherwise require monetary payment for access. In most cases, reviewers will read the abstract to decide whether to continue to review the paper, which is important for you.

Your abstract should begin with a background or objective to clearly state why the research was done, its importance to the field of study, and any previous roadblocks encountered. It should include a very concise version of your methods, results, and conclusions but no references. It must be concise while still providing enough information so that the reader need not read the full article. Most journals ask that the abstract be no more than 200–250 words long.

Format of an Abstract

There are two general formats—“structured” and “unstructured.” A structured abstract  helps the reader find pertinent information  very quickly. It is divided into sections clearly defined by headings as follows:

  • Background: Latest information on the topic; key phrases that pique interest (e.g., “…the role of this enzyme has never been clearly understood”).
  • Objective: Your goals; what the study examined and why.
  • Methods: Brief description of the study (e.g., retrospective study).
  • Results: Findings and observations.
  • Conclusions: Were these results expected? Whether more research is needed or not?

Authors get tempted to write too much  in an abstract but it is helpful to remember that there is usually a maximum word count. The main point is to relay the important aspects of the study without sharing too many details so that the readers do not have to go through the entire manuscript text for finding more information.

The unstructured abstract is often used in fields of study that do not fall under the category of science. This type of abstracts does not have different sections. It summarizes the manuscript’s objectives, methods, etc., in one paragraph.

Lastly, you must check the author guidelines of the target journal. It will describe the format required and the maximum word count of your abstract.

The Introduction

Your introduction is the first section of your research paper. It is not a repetition of the abstract. It does not provide data about methods, results, or conclusions. However, it  provides more in-depth information  on the background of the subject matter. It also explains your hypothesis, what you attempted to discover, or issues that you wanted to resolve. The introduction will also explain if and why your study is new in the subject field and why it is important.

It is often a good idea to wait until the rest of the paper is completed before drafting your introduction. This will help you to stay focused on the manuscript’s important points. The introduction, unlike the abstract, should contain citations to references. The information will help guide your readers through the rest of your document. The key points to remember while drafting the introduction:

  • Beginning: The importance of the study.
  • Tone/Tense: Formal, impersonal; present tense.
  • Content: Brief description of manuscript but without results and conclusions.
  • Length: Generally up to four paragraphs. May vary slightly with journal guidelines.

Once you are sure that possible doubts on the difference between the abstract and introduction are clear, review and submit your manuscript.

What struggles have you had in writing an abstract or introduction? Were you able to resolve them? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Home » Difference Between Case Study and Research

Difference Between Case Study and Research

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Case Study vs Research

Those involved in completing their thesis are often required to write both case studies as well as research papers. Many students cannot differentiate between a case study and research with the result that they suffer from poor grades from their teachers. There is a great difference in writing styles of the two, and also their content. This article will help one to appreciate the differences between a case study and a research paper.

Case Study

A case study is about a person, company, a product, or an event. If you are writing about a company, you need to make it interesting by writing a few paragraphs about the company and its history. It makes sense to talk about its growth along with the course it has taken that differentiates it from its competitors. After you have introduced the company from different angles, one comes down to the real problem that he wishes to address and the reasons for taking up the problems. It is at the end of the case study that a student must make his suggestions and recommendations for the problems that he has chosen for his case study.

Research Paper

Research paper is different from a case study in the sense that a student needs to acquaint himself with various views on the subject matter. This is necessary to develop one’s own views about the subject. Obviously all this requires much reading of the subject matter from as many sources that the student can lay his hands upon. In a research paper, a student needs to refer to other researches that have taken place on the subject. A research paper also requires you to cite other authors, which forms an important part of a research.

Difference between Case Study and Research

Thus the most important difference between a case study and research is that you are not concerned with earlier reviews on the subject and start straightway with an introduction of the company. On the other hand, you not only talk about earlier reviews, you also present your own views about a topic in the end of a research paper.

Another difference between a case study and research pertains to your focus. Entire focus remains on the company that is being presented as a case study. It would be proper to term a case study as a specific case while one can make generalizations in a research paper. If you are writing about gender inequality with respect to their salaries, you may have to do a lot of research in various industries but if you take up a particular company, it becomes a case study.

In brief:

Case Study vs Research

• A research is broader in spectrum than a case study

• Case study requires proper introduction about the company whereas there is no such requirement in a research paper

• Research requires citing other similar works and author’s views whereas you do not need it in a case study.


  1. So the early release etc etc etc that Obama admin granted at the end of his term, of several thousand incarcerated people will make for very relevant research and multiple case study on down the line?! I’m curious to know 5, 10, 15 years from now-
    IF ANY/ how many might reoffend and other pertinent imformation. The “relevance” is pretty basic.
    In my opinion.


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