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 Admin February 18, 2019   Research Paper

Types of Research Paper Every Student must be Aware of

Did you think that there’s only one type of research paper? Are you slowly getting into your panic mode? Stop! You can actually have a good time writing research papers if you get a good idea about the different types. Having a good idea of the different types and familiarising yourself with the writing process can help you draft a great paper.

What exactly is a research paper?

A research paper is a text that includes information after conducting original research. Here, you need to find out relevant information on the issue you are discussing. The facts and information need to be critically analysed and evaluated.  A writer needs to go through previous studies conducted on the topic and analyse them to write the paper.  The basic things that you need to keep in mind while writing a research paper are as follows:

  • Researching
  • Critical thinking
  • Analysing
  • Evaluating the sources and information
  • Organising information
  • Drafting the research paper

You cannot do all of these without knowing the type of research paper your professor has asked for.

There are various types of research papers which need to be written using different structures, style, language, tone, etc. Also, the objective of each type is different from one another.

Now, let’s know about the different types of research papers:

#1: Analytical research paper

To write this type of research paper, you have to collect information from various sources. This paper will include different viewpoints on the selected topic. All these points are critically analysed with a neutral stand on the topic. As the writer, you need to analyse the methodology, findings, and conclusions of different research works. You have to end the paper with a summary of the findings by giving suggestions for further study on the topic. In this type of research paper, an unbiased critical analysis with sufficient supporting information is provided, without trying to convince the readers to accept any specific viewpoint.

Topic idea- A research paper written on ‘what is the truth about desire as per Freud’ can be a good example of an analytical research paper.

#2: Argumentative research paper

In this type of research paper, you will develop an argument related to the topic and try to establish it in the paper. You need to create a thesis statement that includes your argument or claim. To support your claim, you must find suitable evidence and facts from primary sources. In this paper, you need to show both sides of the argument. What you need to do is establish your point of view logically and not just present a biased viewpoint. The primary goal of an argumentative research paper is to persuade the readers to agree with the author’s viewpoint.

Topic idea- A good topic for writing an argumentative research paper would be ‘the correct age for drinking’.

#3: What is a research paper?

A research paper describes the given topic or subject matter. It does not contain any personal opinion or emotion of the writer. In this paper, facts and information from different sources are included. However, the data is not analysed and is kept as it was found in other’s research papers. This type of research paper is usually a very informative text. So, you should aim to give detailed information without presenting your own viewpoint or critically analysing the data.

Topic idea- A topic for writing a definition essay would be ‘death penalty’.

#4: Cause and effect research paper

In this type of research paper, one analyses the ‘reasons for’ and the ‘outcome of’ any particular situation.  The primary goal is to find the origin of an event, situation, thing, action, etc. and the results or effect that can be attributed to it. You can either try to examine the cause or the effect of something or both. The method used in this type of research paper can be applied in the fields of education and business. Some of the questions you will try to answer in this type of essay are:

  • Why did ‘this’ happen?
  • What was the consequence?
  • What are the changes that can take place?

Topic idea- An appropriate topic for a cause and effect research paper would be ‘the causes and effects of racism and discrimination’.

#5: Compare and contrast research paper

This type of research paper is used to do a comparison of two works, things, persons, etc. Usually, this is used to compare two authors or works from the same genre. This type of paper can be written on different subjects. For example, while writing a research paper on Philosophy, you can compare two different philosophical frameworks. While writing a paper on Social sciences, you can compare two theoretical points of view.

As a student of management, you can compare two different leadership styles. Whatever topic you choose, you must clearly describe both the ‘comparison’ and the ‘contrasting’ sections. With the help of this type of research paper, students get the opportunity to discuss two subjects at the same time.

Topic idea- You can write a compare and contrast research paper on ‘American Revolution vs. French Revolution’.  

#6: Interpretive research paper

This type of research paper is usually assigned to the students of humanities, literature, and social science.  You need to use the knowledge acquired through a course of study to do a case study. You begin with some data or information and attempt to develop a theory about the subject at hand. In this paper, you also need to use supporting data and evidence to back up the theory or thesis you have developed from an established theoretical framework.

Topic idea- A good topic ideas for an interpretive research paper would be, “What purpose does the references to Hitler in ‘To Aunt Rose’ by Ginsberg play?”

#7: Research reports

The writer will sum up what he/she has learned through the research they have conducted on a topic. In this type, you have to summarise a case study situation. The main objective of research reports is to highlight the major facts about a specific topic. It must not contain any personal opinion and the researcher must not write using an informational tone.

The report will consist of the following: a short summary of the situation or subject at hand, recognition of the primary concerns or issues, a segmentation of the main issue’s elements, and some suggestions concerning how to deal with the issues. You should aim at writing concisely and clearly so that it becomes really easy for your readers to understand. You can also use tables and graphs to provide supporting evidence.

Topic idea- A topic for writing a research report would be ‘The nature of dreams.’

These are the major types of research papers, which you might get from your professor to write.  Now that you know about these, you can easily identify from the instructions which type of research paper you need to write. As you also know the major purpose of each type, you can easily compose a research paper of any type.


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