There are many different types of research papers. Each has their own purpose, criteria for writing, and intended audience. From high school to graduate school a student will be required to write different types of papers throughout their education. Below is a list of most common types of research papers:
What are the different types of research papers?
Let us review different types of research papers you will probably encounter in your academic writing life.
Expository research paper
An expository research paper will usually have a thesis statement at the beginning of the paragraph that outlines a topic in a broad sense and then gives a more specific explanation. It includes a small summary of the information that has been found over time around an issue or around a specific theory. For example, let’s say you were writing about cloning from an expository essay standpoint. You would want to have an introductory paragraph for your paper introducing what cloning is. The thesis statement could be “Cloning is the process where a cell, tissue or organ is split into two or more parts to reproduce.” You would then provide a summary of information that surrounds the topic. The final paragraph may be supporting evidence for your argument.
A sharp, critical mind can produce interesting expository research papers on various topics.
Analytical Research Paper
An analytical research paper compares and contrasts two or more items. It is a comparison of ideas, issues, theories, research papers, etc. In this instance you would need to summarize the information first providing an outline for your reader and then compare and contrast the main points in separate paragraphs. Remember to provide examples along with other types of evidence that support your argument.
Example: Let’s say you were writing a paper about the difference in opinion between two writers, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. The thesis statement would be “George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have differing opinions on utopia.”
To learn how to write an analytical research paper, use this guide: how to write an analytical essay.
Field work research papers
Fieldwork research papers are usually done when the writer is observing an event or has been part of doing something that can be considered a part of scientific inquiry. The information gleaned from the field work will be analyzed, discussed, and reflected upon in this type of paper. In social sciences it may involve interviewing participants whereas in natural sciences it may mean gathering data related to observations carried out during experiments conducted by scientists. Another example would be if were following troops into war for research purposes.
Argumentative Research Paper
What is an argumentative research paper?
The argumentative research paper takes an opinion, belief, or theory and argues its legitimacy. The writer analyzes the topic in order to determine how much evidence there is that supports the claim being made for or against it. Writers may choose to argue with someone else by providing counterclaims with appropriate evidence.
Example: You are writing a research paper arguing against the death penalty as a form of punishment for murder. Your thesis statement might be “I am writing this essay to explain why I feel strongly about the fact that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent against crime.”
An argumentative research paper will have a clear thesis statement included at the beginning of the paragraphs. You are taking one side of an issue or argument that is contentious. It may be an idea that is new to most people, but you feel strongly about it and want to convince others why your theory makes sense. The main body of this type of research paper should include three proofs usually with examples to rationalize your point further.
Narrative Research Paper
What is narrative research paper? A narrative research papers uses personal experiences as examples but does not necessarily have a thesis statement unless the author wants to make the claim that personal experience is a valid form of knowledge and should be included as part of scientific inquiry. It is often used in the humanities and other social sciences to record information about events, people, places etc.
Example: This could be an autobiography or even just an account of something you did that day if you’re writing a paper for English class. Or it may be personal narrative such as family history or your life story up until now if you are doing research for social science purposes. Narrative papers usually have descriptions and dialogue included so they read more like fiction than fact giving them their name because they can mimic stories we all know from books and movies.
What is a definition paper? A definition paper seeks to explain, categorize, or name something. This type of research paper often uses examples and evidence to back up the claim made by the author. It may use comparisons and contrasts to clearly explain how an idea differs from other concepts. The structure for this type of research paper can be organized by either defining one term or concept (thesis statement) at the beginning which will then be discussed in paragraphs throughout the body of the essay; or it can start off with the explanation of an idea (thesis statement), followed by supporting definitions (paragraphs) that clarify what is meant by that concept; and finally end with an explanation on why that information is significant (conclusion paragraph).
Example: You have been asked to give a speech on the meaning of friendship. You may begin by discussing a definition of a friend and giving examples before moving into how friendships are formed, what happens when they end, and why it’s important to have friends in your life.
Compare and Contrast Paper
What is a compare and contrast research paper? A compare and contrast research paper is similar to the definition in that it is used when explaining concepts, however in this case, they are related to each other. You may choose two or more concepts which will be analyzed in-depth.
The thesis statement for your compare and contrast paper should include both of the terms being compared and contrasted such as: “I am writing an essay about why I feel _________ (one term) and _________ (other term) are significantly different from one another.”
Example: If you were asked to write a compare and contrast essay on friendship, you would begin by discussing what traits define a friend. Then you would move into examples of friendships using evidence from personal experience or from research. You do not have to reach a consensus on whether the traits you listed are good or bad, simply list them and explain why they matter when making a friend. Finally you would conclude with a summary of your findings and whether or not friendship is more of a one thing or another.
What is a comparison paper? A comparison paper uses examples from either side of an argument to find similarities and differences between two things. It does not compare specific points but general concepts that may be hard to see at first glance. The thesis statement can be included within each paragraph as the author moves into comparing one term to another throughout the body of the essay–using evidence from personal experience, scientific studies, etc.
Example: If you were asked to write a paper on how chocolate is related to dogs, your thesis statement could read something like this: “Dogs and chocolate share many of the same characteristics in their effect on people. However I will compare and contrast these similarities to prove that they are not the same because when dogs eat chocolate it can be deadly whereas with humans, occasional ingestion of small amounts of chocolate can be enjoyed.”
What is an evaluation research paper? An evaluation research paper simply examines objective information about a topic without coming to any conclusion. It may consider the pros and cons or different aspects of something rather than one main idea which makes it especially used for topics where there’s no clear right answer.
Example: You could write an evaluation paper where you take into account both sides of the debate on whether to legalize marijuana by first giving evidence for why it should be legalized followed by examples of why it should remain illegal.
Cause and Effect Paper
A cause and effect paper is a common assignment that requires students to research and then explain how two or more factors influence each other. To create a strong cause and effect paper, it’s important to choose clear examples of the factors being studied. For example, instead of simply stating, “Higher gas prices have lowered consumer spending,” provide examples from statistics about how this relationship has been observed in the past.
Regularly citing sources throughout a cause and effect essay is critical for providing evidence that your claims are professionally grounded. Students often feel overwhelmed when writing a cause and effect essay but with proper practise, they can be start writing great research papers.
An interpretative paper is a critical analysis of an author, text, event, or issue. This type of research paper allows you to discuss and draw conclusions about something that has been studied. If the subject is complex enough, then it also may be acceptable to write a literature review on such topics instead. Writing an interpretative paper requires you to explore various opinions about a matter, and draw your own conclusion from them.
The interpretative paper should contain an introduction where the following points should be covered: thesis statement, a brief history of interpretations, a critical analysis or review of previous scholarship on the topic including at least three scholarly sources. In addition to these items, there must also be a series of body paragraphs that discuss interpretation in different ways depending on what you have decided to write about.
Experimental Research Paper
An experimental research paper is designed to test or validate a hypothesis. This type of research makes certain assumptions that are tested via experiments. The experimental research paper then interprets the results through discussion, making conclusions based on these results. When writing an experimental research paper, it is important to state the hypothesis being tested then explain why that particular hypothesis was chosen. This will help the reader better understand what assumptions are being tested and allow them to form their own conclusion based on your argument.
An experimental research paper can be constructed in one of three ways:
- The first method is to develop a hypothesis, then use a control group and an experimental group. After administering a treatment to the experimental group, collect data regarding the dependent variable. Then compare the results of both groups, making conclusions from these comparisons.
- Another way to write an experimental research paper is to develop a question about something that has been done or observed in research or practice, then design an experiment to test this question. In this method, it is important for you to state what was found previously and mention whether or not this finding was significant enough to either continue studying the phenomenon or abandon further efforts in that area. You can also discuss how your findings differ from previous studies and why they do so before stating your conclusion.
- The third method for writing an experimental research paper is to state a hypothesis and simply discuss the results without using any data. This can be difficult because you will need to critically analyze how your findings substantiate or contradict the initial hypothesis and explain why there may be something missing from your study that would alter its results. You also need to explain whether or not people should take action based on these findings and if so, what type of action they should take.
Descriptive Research Paper
A descriptive research paper describes characteristics, behaviors, or phenomena without attempting to find a cause or truth behind them. In this type of research, it is important to ensure objectivity by avoiding bias in reporting and interpretation of data as well as ensuring that the results are not influenced by personal values. In a descriptive research paper, it is important to define concepts or terms that have been used before presenting information. This will help your reader better understand the context of these terms and help them determine if there exists any misinterpretations in how they are being used. It is also important for you to state value judgements in the third person rather than using first-person opinion because doing so can influence how others interpret your results.
There are three main ways of writing a descriptive research paper:
- The first method is to describe an event or phenomenon with no explanation of why it occurred; this is known as an uncontrolled observation.
- A second way of writing a descriptive research paper is to describe an event or phenomenon with no explanation of why it occurred. However, this time you add a hypothesis that you will discuss at the end of your report; this is known as a controlled observation.
- The third method for writing a descriptive research paper is to make conclusions about cause and effect, but only state the relationship; this method does not provide evidence of how one thing led to another and can often be misleading unless alternative possibilities are discussed by the author.
Survey Research Paper
A survey is used in a descriptive research paper when investigating the experiences or opinions of people on a topic by asking them questions. This type of research helps gather information from many sources quickly and easily without requiring much effort on behalf of your participants. However, it is important to consider that the results you receive could be unreliable if there are issues with how the questions were asked or if people did not understand what was being asked.
When writing a survey research paper, it is important for you to choose your sample carefully and represent them in a non-biased way while interpreting their data in an objective manner. It is also important to draw conclusions based on solid evidence by using statistics rather than opinion, but remember to state any limitations of your study beforehand so readers do not misinterpret your findings. The following are three main ways of writing a survey research paper:
- You can write up a questionnaire before conducting informal interviews with relevant people in order to gain information about the topic. This method of writing a survey research paper can help you decide if there is sufficient support for your hypothesis and what questions the participants would like answered.
- You can write up a questionnaire after conducting formal interviews with relevant people in order to gain information about the topic. This method of writing a survey research paper will help you gain feedback on how well your hypothesis was supported by results and if more detail should be included.
- Another method for writing a survey research paper is to conduct primary data collection yourself via observation, interviewing, or experimenting in order to find concrete evidence that will answer specific questions about the subject.
These are the most common types of research papers. If you need research paper help, feel free to post your question here and hire a professional who has vast experience writing different types of research papers.