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Difference Between a Case Study and a Research Paper

Thursday, Feb. 10th 2011

Academic writing requires students to write different research papers and case studies. Students are sometimes confused between a case study and a research paper. This article will help you in understanding the difference between a case study and a research paper.

Before understanding the difference between a case study and a research paper, you should understand their writing steps. In order to write a case study, you first explain the history of a particular case. For example if you are writing a case on a company, you will explain the history of that company. You will also describe its growth in the first paragraph of case. After writing it, you will mention those points which differentiate that company from its competitors.

After giving the introduction of a case study, you mention different problems. You also mention reasons of those problems. In the end you give suggestions and recommendations to solve the problems highlighted in that case. The steps in writing a research paper differ from a case study. A research paper consists of an introduction, literature review, results and findings. When writing a research paper, you require extensive reading for doing the literature review.

In the literature review of a research paper, you give a preview of other researches which have been conducted in the similar domain. You also give references of different authors and books. The difference between the steps of a research paper and case study is that, a case study does not include a literature review. Therefore in a case study you do not give a preview of other researches.

The most important difference between a research paper and a case study is that in a case study you focus your attention to a specific case while in a research paper; you talk about the whole population. Therefore a research paper involves generalization while a case study is much specific than a research paper. A case study focuses on a particular system or issue that can be only understood in its own context.

For example you may write a research paper on issues of gender discrimination in different manufacturing companies of the United States. This topic of a research paper is broad and requires research on different manufacturing companies in the United States. However In order to write a case study on it you need to specify a particular company in the manufacturing sector of the United States.

In order to better understand the difference between a case study and a research paper, you may read different case studies and research paper. The internet is a good source from where you can find case studies of different companies. In order to read research papers you may access digital libraries.

Therefore some important points mentioned in this article for understanding the difference between a case study and a research paper might help you in your academic writing.

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