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Is there a general difference in the structure of conference papers vs journal papers? Take the following examples:

(1) The following is the structure/outline of a published conference paper (source):

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(2) And a different conference paper (source):

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Notice they have the same general form (intro, background, method, results, conclusion).

(3) Now - the following is the structure of a published journal paper (source):

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(4) And finally, one more example of the structure of a published journal paper (source):

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I have 2 questions:

  • Question 1: should the 'related work' section come before or after the 'results' section?
  • Question 2: is there a general difference in the structure of conference papers vs journal papers?
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    You are on the right track: looking at published articles and conference papers will give you the answer. You will probably find that there is some consensus, but no "formal" prescribed structure. Of course, some conferences or journals have requirements that you need to fulfil to publish there. – Louic Nov 6 '20 at 11:25
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Expectations regarding paper structure differ significantly between fields. The following answers apply to computer science (which, based on your examples, might be relevant for you):

Question 1: should the 'related work' section come before or after the 'results' section?

The two valid and common options are "after introduction/background" and "before conclusion". The preferred option depends on the details on your paper. Some considerations are:

  • How much detail do you need for explaining the difference between your work and the RW? If you need specific details that are introduced in other sections, it makes sense to have the other sections first.
  • How long is the RW section? For a reader who reads the paper from beginning to end, a long RW section might get between the reader and your idea. If your background and RW are tightly coupled and not too long, it makes sense to have them as subsequent (sub)sections.

Question 2: is there a general difference in the structure of conference papers vs journal papers?

Journal papers on average have more sections because journals, unlike conferences, usually do not have a page limit, and journal papers are often extended versions of conference papers. Having more material requires more structure to still have each section as a readable chunk.

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