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Each section or piece of your paper has a specific purpose and is written to highlight the most relevant components of your research. This article will clarify some of the most frequently misunderstood aspects or elements of a manuscript, such as the Abstract and Introduction, Aim and Objectives, the Literature Review, and more. The provided information in this article will aid in your comprehension of these frequently misunderstood aspects of a research paper, as well as your ability to employ them professionally.

To produce an impressive manuscript, you must first understand why each area of the manuscript is written, as well as the goal of each section. Researchers, on the other hand, frequently struggle to distinguish between several components of a paper and are confused about whether they are interchangeable or serve different goals. They consider issues such as:

  • Is the aim of research different from its “objectives”?
  • Are the study’s “implications” and “recommendations” the same thing?
  • What exactly is the distinction between a “citation” and a “reference“?

Do you find yourself asking similar questions? Well, you’re about to get your answers! The contrasts between some of the most typically misunderstood sections and elements of a research report are listed in this article.

research report

How is the “Abstract” of your research paper different from the “Introduction?”

The abstract of a research paper is a condensed version of the paper. It includes the most important aspects of your study, such as the findings, methods, and conclusion. Its purpose is to assist readers, who are frequently busy scientists, in deciding whether or not to read the complete paper, and it can be particularly valuable in the case of paywalled articles. It also aids editors in deciding whether or not to submit papers for peer review.

Now let’s look at what the Introduction’s objective is. The introduction is the first section of your research paper and provides background information about your research issue, allowing the reader to understand why the study was conducted. It introduces the research topic, gives a brief overview of previously published literature, identifies gaps or problems that previous research has failed to address, and finally introduces the problem that you intend to solve, ideally via an explicit ‘aim’ statement at the end of the introduction—more on this in the next section!

The abstract is written to give readers a sneak peek into your research and pique their interest, so it should encapsulate the entire study in a few sentences; the Introduction, on the other hand, is written to provide specific context for the research question being investigated, especially for readers unfamiliar with the specific subfield of your work. One notable difference that you must keep in mind is that the abstract includes the methods and results of your research but the Introduction does not.

How is the “aim” of your research different from its “objectives”?

The goal of a study is to determine what you intend to achieve as a result of your research. It is a broad summary of your study’s main goals and outlines where you hope to get at the conclusion of your investigation. The purpose of your study incorporates what you want to learn or prove through it. Research objectives, on the other hand, specify the steps, or precise or direct actions, that you will take to reach your goal. Your study objectives define particular milestones or stages that you will reach in order to achieve your aims.


(1) To test reactive oxygen species generation in the XXX cell line following treatment with XXX plant extract.

(2) To determine the activity of antioxidant enzymes SOD and CAT in a rat model following treatment with XXX plant extract.

What is the difference between the “Introduction” and the “problem statement” of your research?

The first component of a research article is the introduction, which gives context for the topic. The goal of an introduction is to captivate readers and provide them with the necessary background information to comprehend the purpose of your research. The study background and research topic are included in the introduction. Your study objectives specify specific milestones or stages that you will encounter on your way to achieving your objectives. The aim is a broad goal that you wish to achieve, whilst the objectives are smaller, more precise steps that will aid you in your study. To put it another way, the goal of your research paper outlines what you want to achieve, whereas the objectives outline how you’ll get there by detailing specific actions or milestones. You may need to include an aim, objectives, or both depending on the type of paper you’re creating.

The following example can help you comprehend the two words better.

The researchers wanted to see if XXX plant extract had any antioxidative effects.

A problem statement, on the other hand, is an important component of a research proposal, which is created in order to obtain financing for your research. It’s a succinct description of a problem, a condition, or a situation that you’d like to investigate. It aids in the unambiguous identification of your project’s goal by showing the gap between an ideal state and reality, as well as why it is critical to close that gap. To persuade donors that your project is worthwhile, you must clearly define the problem that your research will address.

Writing a problem statement comes much later in the research process, after you’ve decided on the area in which you want to conduct your study (or the gap you want to fill with your research) and are looking for financing. The Introduction, on the other hand, is prepared after you’ve finished your study and are ready to submit your findings for publication.

In summary, the Introduction contains background information, includes a literature review*, describes the objective of your study, and outlines the research question, while the issue statement summarizes the specific problem that your research will address.

What is the difference between a “background of a study” and a “literature review”?

The study background and literature review discuss existing knowledge in a research topic and aid in identifying gaps that must be filled. There are, nevertheless, considerable differences between them. The study backdrop is the first component of the Introduction section, and it introduces the research issue and places it in perspective. The literature review*, which gives a critical study of the literature on your research issue, usually follows.

The purpose of the background of a study is to emphasize the importance of your research, whereas the purpose of the literature review is to assess the advancement of knowledge in your research area. While the study background is brief and to-the-point, the literature review is in-depth, however it should only cover the material that is required to provide context and motivation for your research topic. Both of these eventually lead readers to research gaps that have yet to be filled. The background describes the topic of your research in broad terms, whereas the literature review analyzes existing knowledge in the field and aids in identifying the specific research gaps that your study will solve.

Is your “research question” and “research problem” the same thing?

A research problem is a wide issue that you want to investigate more using your research. It identifies a problem, an uncertainty, or a source of concern, either in theory or in reality, that necessitates further inquiry. In the real world, there is an oddity, a constraint, or a troublesome question that needs to be addressed. You can break down your research challenge into smaller queries that will assist you in answering it. Let’s have a look at what a research question is. A research question is a specific concern about which you will do study.

It is based on your study design and is generated from your research challenge. You receive your research topic when you narrow down your research problem to a single notion that points to a realistic strategy to examine or address your research challenge. The first step toward truly solving your research challenge is to define your research question. Then, depending on your research question, you can create the goal of your study and determine the research objectives.


Can you explain the distinction between “research methodologies” and “research methodology”?

The phrases “research methodologies” and “research methodology” are not interchangeable. Let us examine the distinctions between them. The term “research methodology” refers to a collection of guidelines that help researchers decide which methodologies to utilize when conducting studies. Research methods, on the other hand, are the real techniques and procedures employed in research. They are based on the methodology chosen for research, which includes not only the procedures but also the logic or reasoning behind their application. The research methodology may include the utilization of qualitative or quantitative data, depending on the nature of your study. You would next choose several study methods such as observation, surveys, interviews, laboratory tests, and so on.

What is the difference between “Results” and “Discussion”?

The most significant component of your research work—your study findings—are covered in the Results and Discussion sections. The findings of your study as a result of the methods you used are presented in the Results section. A brief written explanation of the study findings should be included, as well as data given in tables, figures, diagrams, or other non-textual elements. The Discussion section, on the other hand, provides a thorough summary and interpretation of your findings. All comments, explanations, and interpretations about your results should be posted in the Discussion section. For example, if you see a persistent trend or even a fluctuation in your data, you can note it in the Results, but speculation or assumptions about the cause of these observed events should go in the Discussion. The Results part delivers the study findings but does not interpret them, whereas the Discussion section interprets but does not re-state them. The nature of your findings or the standards of your chosen journal will also determine whether the Results and Discussion sections should be two separate sections. Both elements could be clubbed under one section—Results and Discussion—or the Results could stand alone as one section followed by the Discussion, where you talk about the implications of your findings in addition to sharing your final comments.

Do “figure captions,” “labels,” and “legends” mean the same thing?

Tables, figures, and other non-textual materials that show the research findings are included in the Results section of a manuscript. To identify and provide details about such illustrations, captions, labels, and legends are employed. These names refer to different elements with different functions that cannot be used interchangeably. Captions are the titles or heads of figures, tables, or drawings that inform the reader about the contents of a certain table or figure. Legends, on the other hand, are concise summaries of figures or tables that typically include instructions on how to interpret the data presented in the accompanying pictures. Legends are descriptive and provide additional information about the facts shown in tables or figures to aid comprehension. Labels are part of the figure or illustration and are used to name the components of a diagram. They are used to identify each element of the illustration. All three of these elements are required for a figure, table, or illustration to be complete and comprehensible, independent of the main text of the manuscript.

How do you distinguish between “implications,” “limitations,” and “recommendations for future research”?

The Conclusion section, which summarizes your findings and summarizes the substance of your research, should include research implications, limitations, and recommendations. Let us look at how these three terms differ from one another.

The conclusions you’ve reached as a result of your research study are known as implications. They identify ways in which your research findings could be valuable in the future, such as for more research and policymaking. You can illustrate how your study can be utilized in real-world policy and practices through your implications.

Limitations, on the other hand, are meant to assist the reader in comprehending the context in which the findings should be interpreted and used. They describe the flaws in your research, which could be due to a variety of factors such as a lack of essential resources, an inefficient research design or approach, or a lack of advanced instruments and apparatus. Disclosure of your research’s limitations will help to provide the impression that your approach is realistic and that you have a thorough understanding of your research topic, as well as ensure that the breadth of the findings’ applicability is obvious.

Recommendations are proposals for a specific course of action for future research based on your findings. You can suggest recommendations for future research based on the problems or gaps that your study did not address once you’ve described the limits of your study. Other parts of your research topic that would be fascinating to work on and would constitute pioneering research topics can also be suggested.

What is the distinction between “citations,” “references,” and a “bibliography”?

You may have used previously published work to expand on an idea or perform further research on a topic while completing . Citations and references are both used to give credit to the writers whose work you may have cited.

When you take specific ideas from the work of other scholars, either in the form of quotes or paraphrased words, you make a citation. The source of the information is identified alongside the statement in the main body of the text, which includes citations. References and Bibliography both refer to a list of all the books, papers, documents, films, interviews, and other sources that you may have utilized to obtain the essential information for your work, which is normally found at the conclusion of the text. Each reference must be reflected by a citation in the main body of the article, and each source cited in the article must be included in the reference list. In contrast, a bibliography is a collection of all sources used to gather information or to research a topic, and all items in a bibliography need not necessarily be cited in the main text.

How do you distinguish between “footnotes” and “endnotes”?

We are aware that authors occasionally indicate the source of their material alongside the statements in which it is given (this is called a citation). They could also want to comment on or explain a sentence they’ve written. Adding such information in the middle of the document, on the other hand, may cause the flow of the writing to be disrupted. As a result, authors employ footnotes and endnotes to convey such crucial yet extra information. When such remarks or explanatory notes are put at the bottom of a page, they are referred to as footnotes. The sentence or word where explanation is needed is marked with a symbol or a superscripted number, and the relevant footnote, marked with the same symbol or number, can be found at the bottom of the page.

Endnotes, like footnotes, are used to add supplemental information to the main text and are identified by a superscripted number. The only variation is when the explanation is placed in the article—with endnotes, the relevant material is given at the end. With a fast scan at the bottom of the page, footnotes can help you quickly identify the source of information. Endnotes, on the other hand, help to declutter the page and keep the reader’s attention during the reading process.

In the end, each component of the paper serves a specific purpose and emphasizes a different facet of your research. As a result, knowing what each section’s objective is before you start writing your work will help you avoid mistakes. I hope this post has clarified the differences between these aspects for you.

Are there any additional terms that are frequently misunderstood when it comes to manuscript writing? Please submit any more terms you think should be included in this list in the comments area below. We’ll make sure to get back to you with the information you require.

You can also use our website to get some extremely intriguing and valuable articles that will assist you in writing each portion of your manuscript well.

Some publication rules clearly state that the literature review should be written as a separate portion of the paper rather than being included in the Introduction. Before writing this section, it’s a good idea to double-check the journal’s guidelines.

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