Overview of Research Papers

Research papers are some of the most common academic undertakings for scholars.

This is for all academic levels and across different disciplines.

Therefore, as a student, you need a good understanding of what a research paper entails. This demands good clarity on what a researcher pertains, and what it does not pertain.

Generally, a research paper could be seen as:

“The completion and final product of an involved research process, critical thinking, evaluation of sources, organization, and composition”.

Based on this definition, a research paper is intended to further the field it focuses on as well as enhance the knowledge of the student in the particular field.

Students as such require to demonstrate various skills such as execution of the different steps for writing a research paper, including how to write a research paper outline, how to conduct research, etc.

Note that different types of research papers vary widely depending on factors like discipline and their nature.


Different Types of Research Papers

As noted above, research papers significantly vary; with types of research papers in social science likely to be different from research papers in biological and physical sciences.

In most cases, research papers are classified into two different categories. These categories are 1) argumentative research paper and 2) analytical research paper.

The two categories as well as others are as explained below.


Argumentative Research Papers

These types of research papers usually have an introduction where the topic is clearly introduced and the stance taken is unmistakably indicated.

This stance is commonly referred to as the thesis statement.

The argumentative research papers seek to persuade the audience towards adopting a particular viewpoint.

For this reason, the topic to be discussed should be controversial or debatable.

It is important to note that when writing an argumentative research paper, you should effectively discuss the two sides of the issue or argument.

Findings on the two sides should be presented, while clearly indicating the side you take and presenting arguments geared towards persuading the audience to adopt your viewpoint.

Although it should be present your view, it is vital to avoid unsubstantiated and emotional arguments.

Instead, you should support all the arguments being advanced with facts and data.


Analytical Research Papers

This also features as one of the common types of research papers.

The analytical research paper usually states the topic it intends to explore. This is commonly done using a research question, with the question initially assuming a neutral stance.

Accordingly, analytical research papers typically express elements of exploration and evaluation.

To express these elements, in the body and conclusion, the research paper goes ahead to:

1. Present multifaceted information on the research question and

2. State the conclusion arrived at after analyzing the information presented.


The analytical research paper seeks to provide a well-supported critical analysis of a topic without necessarily persuading the audience towards a particular viewpoint.

To do this, relevant data requires to be collected from other sources to help analyze the different viewpoints on the topic.

The findings and conclusions of these other sources are used to arrive at a personal conclusion.

When doing this, you have to remain entirely neutral.


Experimental Research Papers

Although experimental research papers are not as common as other types of research papers in social science, they are quite the standard in biological and physical sciences.

They could include engineering research papersmedical research papersnursing research papers, and psychology research papers.

These research papers seek to explain a particular outcome or phenomenon on the basis of certain actions.

Experiments usually use two sets of variables to arrive at particular conclusions.

The experiment process is supposed to generate data to support decisions arrived at, where such data has to be gathered within the confines of scientifically acceptable conditions.

These research papers could employ different research designs based on their nature and objectives, including:

1. True experimental research design

2. Pre-experimental research design

3. Quasi-experimental research design

Survey Research Papers

These types of research papers apply survey research in gathering relevant data.

They are some of the most common types of research paper in social sciences, with their popularity being founded on the effectiveness of surveys in data collection.

In studies, survey research is considered a research methodology that requires the researcher to administer surveys using research instruments such as questionnaires to respondents.

Human beings are the research subjects in this type of research.

Notably, the popularity of survey research papers in social sciences can demonstrated by their use in political science, sociology, law, economics, and business.

For instance, they are likely to feature among the common types of research designs in psychology.

Surveys usually act as data collection strategies using different questions supposed to provide answers to the research question or phenomenon under study.

These research papers statically analyze the data collected to arrive at meaningful conclusions.


Cause and Effect Papers

The cause and effect papers are considered among the first types of research papers assigned to college and high school students.

They are intended to establish a causal relationship between different variables.

In establishing this relationship, they focus on:

1. Discovering the causes of a phenomenon,

2. Discovering the effects of a phenomenon, and

3. Predicting further effects of the phenomenon.

Note that a cause and effect paper can focus primarily on the causes, effects, or both.

Such research papers are common in areas such as education and business where they are intended to find different results arising from specific situations or actions.


Definition Papers

Although they are often in the form of essays, definition papers can also be classified under the different types of research papers.

They are primarily structured around the objective of defining a concept, term, or idea.

In the process of coming up with this definition, it is recommended that you start with a basic dictionary definition and then go ahead to develop an extended one.

You should rely solely on facts and objective arguments while avoiding the author’s opinion and personal emotion.

The objective of this research paper type is to provide information and should therefore gather facts from numerous sources to help develop your definition.

These facts should however not be analyzed.


Compare and Contrast Papers

These represent some of the most basic types of research papers.

They are usually used in the analysis of the differences between two subjects, viewpoints, authors, or stories.

The paper should seek to compare the existing similarities and contrast presenting differences.

In so doing, you can focus solely on comparing the subjects, contrasting them, or both depending on the provided instructions.

The ideal approach is usually to adequately describe both the subjects, go ahead to compare and contrast them, and end up with supporting one the subjects.

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