Types of Research Papers
There are different kinds of research papers that need a special approach. No matter if you are assigned to write a research paper of a particular type or need to pick it on your own, you need to know what accents you should make and how to present information. The tone of the entire paper should correspond with the chosen type of research paper. But before proceeding to the types of research papers, let’s consider what actually is a research paper and what is not.
What is a research paper?
A research paper is a written work which involves the processes of researching, critical thinking, source evaluation, composition, and organization. Research is based on already known results, so students need not only to carefully read them, but also be able to analyze them.
What is not a research paper?
With this list of ideas you will probably have a better understanding of what a research paper is:
- It is not merely a depository of quotations. Quotations take place only to document or clarify findings.
- It is not a rewriting of someone’s thoughts or ideas. A research paper is not a description or summary of the facts from textbooks or the Internet.
- It is not a defense of your opinion. The aim of every research paper is to reveal the truth. Avoid fighting the opposite opinion (unless you need to write a persuasive paper.)
- It is not a simple presentation of one’s point of view. Research papers demand facts, information, and data which support a certain opinion or idea.
- It is not emotional persuasion. Vocabulary that is used in research papers should be neutral and free of emotional language and superlatives.
At the college level, students are expected to make a deep analysis of existing information about the topic and draw personal conclusions and solutions for a particular problem. Analysis is about dividing the idea into several parts and organizing them into appropriate logical “boxes.”
What are the two main types of research papers?
1. Analytical Research Paper
Describe multiple points of view → Analyze all points → Draw a conclusion
This paper is about posing a question, and the thinking involved in answering this question. Usually this paper starts with the description of the question and finds an element to analyze throughout the work.
For this paper you need to collect relevant data from other researchers and make a personal conclusion about the topic.
For an analytical paper, it is important to keep neutrality. An analytical research paper should not show your negative or positive position on the matter. If you want to define something as better or disagree with some aspects of your topic, switch to a persuasive research paper (but consult your tutor on whether it is acceptable).
2. Persuasive/Argumentative Research Paper
Describe the problem from two view points → Propose pros and cons → Give preference to one
This research paper is aimed to get the reader to the side of your point of view. Unlike an analytical research paper, this kind is more emotional, but still should be supported with logical facts and statistical data. Usually a researcher describes the object or event from two opposite viewpoints, analyzing pros and cons. It is expected that the researcher will give preference to a certain opinion: for or against, better or worse, etc.
Along with these two types, there are other kinds of research paper types, such as: cause and effect, experimental, survey, problem-solution, and report types.
Cause and Effect Research Paper
Describe situation → Present causes/effects → Draw a conclusion
This paper is usually assigned to freshmen both in high school and college. It’s aimed to teach students to write research papers. This usually includes a thorough study of a researched topic, organization of the writing process, learning how to apply certain styles to text, and citations and references.
Simply, a cause and effect paper answers two main questions: “Why?” and “What?” which reflect effects and causes. It is not applicable to mix several causes and effects, as it may lose the main focus.
In further studies like business and education, cause and effect research papers will help with tracing a relationship of probable results from particular actions.
Experimental Research Paper
Conduct the experiment → Share useful experience → Provide data and sum up
Describe a particular experimental case in detail. It is commonly written for biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. Experiments are aimed to explain some causation or predict a phenomenon with certain actions. In this paper you need to describe your experiment with supporting data and an analysis of the experiment.
Survey Research Paper
Conduct a survey → Analyze findings → Draw conclusions
This research is frequently used in sociology, psychology, marketing, public health, business, and advertising. It demands the conduction of a survey that includes asking questions to respondents. Survey research collects certain information about opinions, knowledge, and social facts through interaction with respondents to analyze their behavior in certain conditions.
Problem-Solution Research Paper
Describe the problem → Propose a solution → Defend it
Problem-solution research papers are written both by students and scholars. It is aimed to solve certain problems that have some challenges with proposed methods. The researcher should analyze the existing information about the problem, identify possible solutions, and prove its effectiveness with evidence (examples, details, statistical data, and everything on why this solution is the best.)
Outline the work done on particular topic –> Sum up findings
This type of research paper may seem the easiest. The researcher needs to look through information about a particular object or event and describe data and the most valuable characteristics. The main aim of this research paper is to inform readers on the main facts about a particular topic based on research of existing information.
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