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Different Types of Research Papers

Different Types of Research Papers

During school years students face a lot of written assignments. So, they have to be ready to do it quite often and not to be surprised when they are asked to complete a research paper.

A research paper is a genre of journalism, which involves a summary of the conducted research and its results. Research papers are composed by students of different years of study, and graduate students, and teachers, and later they are used for the appraisal of scientific papers. The process of composing this type of paper is supervised by the teacher who also usually notifies the student of the possibility of its publication.

In contrast to entertaining articles, the research paper has the following features:

  1. It is written within the framework of the scientific style.
  2. It does not contain slang, colloquialisms, dialects, diminutive and another vocabulary, inappropriate to the scientific style.
  3. All the arguments should have a scientific platform.
  4. Facts are selected accurately.
  5. Use of theoretical information from authoritative sources.
  6. Contains a cliche of scientific style. It has a clear structure.

To write a good paper, it is necessary to comply with the standards for constructing a general plan of scientific publication and the requirements of research paper style. The main features of the scientific style: consistency, uniqueness, objectivity.

There are 7 main research paper types: persuasive or argumentative, analytical, definition, compare and contrast, cause and effect, reports and an interpretive essay. Each of them has their objectives. You will find a detailed description of each type below.

There are also several kinds of writing styles that can be used for composing research papers:

  1. Conversational style is the easiest and most relaxed one. As a rule, it contains jokes that its author adds to make the writing more common and understandable for different categories of readers. The vocabulary of conversational style is rich in slang (including professional). Also such papers are characterized by expression and freestyle structure.
  2. Scientific style is the style of specialized resources and author monographs. Its main idea is nothing personal, all the material only concerns the conducted research – highly specialized terminology, structured presentation of information.
  3. Official is the only style in which clerical expressions look organically. This type of writing usually never contains emotionally colored words and expressions. It is characterized by a dry statement of facts. This style can be combined with other styles when designing a research paper.


Main Types of Research Papers

There are seven major types of papers. Each of them has different characteristics and aims.

Analytical research paper

It is a published research paper, which is an analysis of factors that allow finding a solution to a scientific problem. In this paper, the author presents the initial data, analyzes the interdependence of facts, the relationship of consistency. In one word, you pose a question and think of finding the answer to it. A distinctive feature of such a publication is the use of research methods generally accepted in science, careful study of the topic.

It is essential to be neutral when writing the text and keep away from expressing your personal attitude.

Argumentative research paper

In this type of text a student should concentrate on arguments presented in the papers that are linked to the subject of the research. Students are advised to use reliable scientific sources to support their opinion. Two points of view – positive and negative – on a subject of the research should be presented here.

Generally, the research paper may seem rather simple. However, much depends on the task put by the teacher. A student is usually provided with an instruction or list of steps a student has to follow when writing this paper.

Definition research paper

In this text a student does not need to present their point of view. Instead, they present bare facts and proofs from reliable sources. This kind of text is one of the most informative. Basically, you can say that definition only shows the opinion and findings of another researcher because it contains scientific information without presentation of personal attitude.

Compare and contrast research paper

Normally, in this type of paper a student makes comparison and analyses of two objects, phenomena, facts, people, styles, etc. Students are usually assigned with this task in such subjects as literature, social science, philosophy. Etc.

Cause and effect research paper

This written assignment is something that fresh students begin with. Its aim is to help students learn to write different kinds of papers correctly.

In this text its author usually describes the results of an action or phenomenon. Such progression should be made clear to the audience. To make it more clear, in this text a student should ask and answer two questions – What and Why.

Using cause and effect method it is not only possible to define the expected results, but also predict several different results that could occur under certain conditions.


This is probably the easiest of all types of research papers. A report describes the field of study of a certain situation. This text would include a summary of a phenomenon, situation, event, definition of main problems, and recommendations for solving them.

An interpretive essay

Doing this assignment, a student has to show their knowledge obtained from a case study of a particular situation. For designing an interpretive essay one should apply theoretical knowledge and use proofs from reliable scientific sources.

Classification on the target of the paper

Each paper is written for a specific purpose; from this point of view they are divided into the following types:

  1. general research papers are written to study trends and patterns in the development of science or a certain field of knowledge;
  2. practical-oriented papers are aimed at analyzing situations in certain areas (scientific, social or cultural), such a situation is assessed, determining its causes, development prospects and ways to solve the problem;
  3. polemical papers are written for the purpose of discussing a specific problem stated by another author (a feature of this type is the presence of an opponent).

After writing a research paper, student may want to know whether they are published anywhere and who reads them. The readership is quite wide: teachers, students, graduate students, people who deal with science and those from whom the profession requires a scientific platform.

Most often research papers are published in:

  1. scientific, methodical and theoretical journals;
  2. scientific journals issued by the university;
  3. popular science newspapers;
  4. collections of conference materials (student, intercollegiate, university, etc.).

We hope the information provided above will help you define the type of task you are given, see its characteristic features and develop a strategy for writing.

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