I am working on a paper about a web data extractor (an application, I developed based on a unique approach). In the introduction I had a short review on the history of such applications (from hard-code to graphical user interface) and said my application belong to this latest group. However, I didn't say much about the approach I adopted in the application. I left it to be discussed in the motivation section.

In motivation section I counted the features of existing approaches and described the features of the approach I followed.

Now I think maybe I should merge these two sections into one section, as I read the introduction I can't get what is the difference of my application with existing. Should such information be put in the introduction?

In general, what is the scope of 'Introduction' and 'Motivation' sections?


2 Answers 2


Introduction: WHAT

The introduction of a scientific publication is where you explain the background of your research. What are you building on? What does the reader need to know to properly understand your presented work? What is your hypothesis (if this sort of thing is relevant to your field)?

Motivation: WHY

The motivation section explains the importance behind your research. Why should the reader care? Why is your research the most groundbreaking piece of scientific knowledge since sliced bread (or CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing)?

Some people do combine the introduction and the motivation, it really depends on the research and the researcher. There is generally a fair amount of overlap between introducing related work, and then saying that your work goes above and beyond this previous research. Remember that these are just two of the big questions you need to answer with your paper. Others include:

Methods: HOW


Discussion: SO?


They are whatever you want them to be. Neither of them are required by any journal that I know of. These kinds of sections are just conventional. You want to tell a story leading your readers from where you started to what you learned. That's basically it. The sections like Introduction, Motivation, Literature Review, Prior Work, Methodology, Approach, Results, Discussion, Future Work, and Conclusions are sign posts to help your readers know what you're about to tell them about. Readers can use them to skip around if they are skimming your article.

If you want to combine your Introduction and Motivation into one introductory section, that's up to you. Just tell a good, coherent story that leads your reader through your material.

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