Can somebody explain to me what is the difference between contribution and motivation in any research paper?

1 Answer 1


Motivation: why is this an important problem? Why should anybody care about this?

For example:

X affects tens of thousands of consumers in the United States each year, and costs companies billions of dollars.


If we can solve X, we are one step closer to solving the biggest open problem in the field, Z.

Contribution: what is the new thing (result, approach, technique, whatever) that this paper describes, that advances the state of this field?

For example:

This paper describes a way to do X using Y, which is up to 200 times faster than the current state of the art.

  • Can we then say motivation describes the problem statement?
    – Mike
    Oct 23, 2015 at 0:01
  • 2
    @user2999915 A problem statement could just be "Here is a problem X." That's not really motivation, unless you say "We really want to know how to do X because [insert motivation here]..."
    – ff524
    Oct 23, 2015 at 0:03
  • @Mike Problem statement = "This is the problem we want to solve". Problem motivation = "The problem is relevant, because many people need to do X", contribution = "We solve these aspects of the problem".
    – allo
    May 26, 2021 at 16:15

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