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I see both "Related Work" instead of "Related Works" phrases in papers. Assuming either one of these could be used, can someone explain why that is so? If more than one reference is listed, it seems the heading should be "related works" (plural) or maybe the those that say "Related Work" are in error?

  • Some people are downvoting/closevoting this question, probably because you've asked the either/or question: "Which one should be used?" (If you've seen them both, there's a good chance both could be used, right?) I'm going to edit your question in a way that might make it more about English, and see if I can't stave off the negative feedback. Feel free to do a rollback on the question if you think the new form doesn't address your concerns. – J.R. Sep 16 '13 at 9:19
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You are right that both related works and related work are used in papers, and both are correct. Furthermore, according to Google n-grams, related work is roughly 4 times more common than related works, though it is difficult to know if these occurrences are within the context of papers such as you are interested in.

An explanation for why both are correct comes from the different meanings of work and works. Related works refers to publications themselves, while related work refers to the actual work behind the publications.

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