Different Types of Research Papers

Understanding Of Different Types Of Research Papers

Published by on 2021-04-06 11:00:38

When a student gets an assignment to complete a research paper for the first time, the most widespread reaction is confusion. "What is research paper?" – that’s what young people might think next.

Luckily, the good news is here to appear. Understanding the features of various assignments will come in handy when you get one from your teacher. Here below, you will find the list and the description of all types of scientific research papers for students they might ask you to prepare, such as:

  • Analytical
  • Persuasive
  • Cause and Effect
  • Interpretation
  • Definition
  • Experiment

Now, it’s time to focus. Let’s take a detailed look at those types of academic paper assignments.

What Are the Two Main Types of Research Papers?

Two types of research papers more often prepared by students are analytical and argumentative. So, let’s start our description with them. Check short explanations, memorize key facts, and be ready for real assignments as a result.


  1. Pose a question
  2. Collect the data by other researchers on it
  3. Make a conclusion based on that data

Here we go. Among other types of scientific papers, an analytical one has a special place. It’s just the most common. What’s it about?

Well, the possibility to complete this assignment successfully is simpler than it might sound. First of all, you figure out a particular question that’ll be your cornerstone throughout the entire process. After you defined and posed the main question, all that is required is to gather information from scientific sources by researchers and then complete an analysis of their points of view on the topic.  

The thing is, in this task, your goal is to study the conclusion and explorations made by the others and finally conclude something on your own based on their thoughts. In analytical assignments, staying unbiased is critical. There is no way for a student to demonstrate their attitude towards someone else’s opinion or the subject, no matter if it is negative or positive.

Argumentative (Persuasive) 

  1. Choose a controversial issue 
  2. State your viewpoint and that of potential rivals 
  3. Provide and analyze arguments by both sides
  4. Persuade the reader your position is right 

Persuasive or argumentative writing has a lot in common with the essay of the same kind. So, if you wrote a persuasive essay, there won’t be a problem for you to craft this type of paper as well.

Argumentative research has two focal points: those are connected to the same issue and represent two opposite sides of the coin. In other words, the topical question has controversy at its root, and the researcher’s (your) mission is to convince the reader his viewpoint is right and more suitable.

The feature is that the proofs you choose should be based on citations and findings by other researchers. And you should present the opposing side as well, of course. Facts, logic, and statistics are your best friends when completing this assignment. Emotions and empathy are not allowed in the contents as they are not scientific.

Other Types of Research Papers Explained

Now, when you know what are the two main types of research papers well enough, it is time to switch to more specialized assignments you might get from your prof. It’s always better to be ready for everything, isn’t it?

Besides, just like 2 types of research papers described above, those you’ll find below seem more difficult than they actually are. It only takes you one finalized assignment to understand the principle. 


  1. Analyze knowledge you got recently
  2. Come up with a thesis based on it
  3. Support your interpretation with proofs

This task supposes a student to use new information he’s got after passing through some case studies. The described type of research papers is about using the available theoretical grounding along with suitable backup information to prove the statement and summary you’ve got are right. Most frequently, interpretive tasks are called to strengthen your understanding of a particularly crucial topic or concept.


  1. Choose a subject or phenomenon as a topic 
  2. Define it in details
  3. Use facts, objective data, and arguments, but not emotions

The definitive assignment serves to bring info, to provide a detailed definition of some phenomenon or subject. The following task is about describing unbiased proofs, arguments, and facts while avoiding mentioning any personal opinion or emotion an author might have. Contents here provide facts taken from multiple sources without analyzing them in either way.


  1. Set up a thesis
  2. Create a list of topical questions
  3. Ask the focus group members to answer them 
  4. Analyze statistics 
  5. Make a conclusion

A survey is one of the best ways for students to get statistical data for their research. This kind of academic assignment requires some socialization: a survey supposes you to find respondents and ask them to answer the required questions. Then, this freshly gained data becomes the fundament of your statistical proofs and conclusions presented in your work. The info can either confirm or deny your hypothesis, both outcomes are fine.

Compare and Contrast

  1. Determine two viewpoints
  2. Provide detailed analysis
  3. Support one of the positions

The compare and contrast task is again pretty similar to an essay of the same kind, but it is much more extended. Here, you provide a detailed analysis of two different points of view, stories, subjects, or authors. It is crucial to show both “rivals” in detail, compare their theses, and then stand the ground for one of those.

Cause and Effect

  1. Choose a phenomenon
  2. Find causes
  3. Explain and evaluate the effects

If you are a high school or college student, this one is probably your first research paper assignment. Cause and effect is a type of research papers that focuses on two “W'' questions:

  • “Why?” – to explain a cause
  • “What?” – to define an effect

These tasks are frequent and especially effective in education and business. They let a researcher track and evaluate possible outcomes after some action was taken. As a result, a student’s knowledge and critical thinking receive a significant boost.  


  1. Explain goals
  2. Describe experiments
  3. Provide substantial data
  4. Reveal outcomes

Most probably, you understood the point of this task right after you read the paragraph’s heading. It focuses on a detailed description of some experiments (chemical, physical, biological, etc.) to explain the results of a research paper through the process and backup info.

To Conclude

There were the main types of research papers for students. From now on, you won’t feel confused after getting this kind of task from a professor. Keep in mind the features of each type, make sure you’ve got enough information, and then research paper writing will be as easy as breathing.