Research Paper Types and Their Main Features

Writing a research paper is much more complicated and time taking than most students think. This is because a research paper requires deep understanding of the subject matter, ability to collect, analyze information and use it to provide reasonable arguments in the paper. Each research paper should consist of several parts, such as the introduction, the body and the conclusion, although, the rules and requirements may differ with regard to the task. If you have recently been given the assignment to write a research paper, then you should be ready to differentiate between the most popular styles and types of these essays as well as general rules of writing them. This is exactly what we will talk about in this article.

There are several types of research papers
There are several types of research papers

Popular Types of Research Papers

Just like there are different types of essays, there are several types of research papers, namely:

1. Argumentative

Judging by the name of this research paper, it is written to persuade readers in a certain point of view. This is not an easy task, is it? To make your work persuasive, you should make it informative. Your essay should be written with maximum attention and you have to use a variety of sources to prove that your point of view is correct. Start your paper with the presentation of the topic you would like to discuss or analyze and then offer your own arguments. Argumentative research papers usually concern controversial topics and people should be encouraged to join the discussion or agree with your point of view.

2. Analytical

As the name of this research paper suggests, this essay implies the analysis of a certain topic. That is why, these papers often start with a question that needs to be answered further. To answer the question, a writer should analyze different resources and draw corresponding conclusions. Analytical research papers are often written to provide the analysis of literary works. They don’t require a writer’s personal point of view. This is what differs them from other types of written tasks.

It is important to differentiate between the existing types of research papers
It is important to differentiate between the existing types of research papers

3. Interpretive

Interpretive research papers are usually written in social studies and humanities, because their main purpose is to interpret the topic of a paper correctly. Although, these works are similar to analytical papers, there is still a notable difference between them. The main task of a writer here is not to analyze the topic, but to interpret and present it to the reader in the most understanding and simple way. For example, you may be given a task to read a poem or a novel and interpret it to make it understandable to those readers, who have not read it yet. This task is very complicated and you need to get ready to it with special attention and patience.

4. Defining (or Definition)

Defining research papers are based on certain facts, which have to be analyzed and explained by means of using other sources. The better you analyze the topic, the easier it will be for you to present it to the readers. By the way, definition research papers are considered much simpler as compared to other types of tasks, because they don’t imply sharing a personal point of view of a writer. It is also up to the author of a paper to present the topic and make it understandable.

5. Cause and Effect

As you have, probably, understood, cause and effect research papers analyze and explain the connection between a fact or a certain event specified in the topic and the outcomes, which are also stated in the task. Sometimes, writers have to focus on the causes of the problem that is under discussion, although, the task may also imply the analysis of the consequences. If you are supposed to select a topic on your own, then experts recommend focusing on those of them, which can be covered well. These should be narrow topics, which are easy to understand, analyze and explain. Keep that in mind.

Students have to be aware of the main features of research papers to gain academic success
Students have to be aware of the main features of research papers to gain academic success

6. Contrast and Compare

Contrast and compare research papers imply two different approaches to the process of writing them. These approaches depend on the task. Thus, if you are supposed to compare similar features of objects, events, situations etc., you shouldn’t discuss their differences. This is not necessary at all here. Likewise, if you are given a task to contrast something, there is no sense to focus on similar features. To understand what is required from you, listen attentively to your teacher or professor and read the task several times prior to getting involved in the process of writing.

7. Report

Reports are, probably, among those projects people work on most often. They are mainly written to provide readers or listeners with certain information. These works usually have several subheadings, charts, diagrams etc. and may even require scientific approach. There is no place for emotions and unnecessary analysis here. The format of these research papers is always business-oriented and requires specification of the topic discussed.

Writing a research paper requires awareness of the subject matter and patience
Writing a research paper requires awareness of the subject matter and patience

Listed above are seven popular types of research papers students have to understand and be ready to write. Some of them are quite similar, but each research paper has a feature or several of them that make it stand out from the crowd. Understanding the differences between these research paper types is a key to your academic success.

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