Types of Research Papers

Types of Research Papers

When it comes to academic writing on campus, research papers are a common assignment that students encounter. These papers provide an opportunity for students to explore a topic in-depth, analyze different perspectives, and present their findings and interpretations. However, research papers come in various forms, each with its own unique style and purpose.

One of the most common types of research papers is the argumentative essay. This type of paper works to convince the reader by providing debatable arguments supported by evidence. It explores a certain topic or issue, presents different viewpoints, and ultimately aims to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s position. The APA and MLA styles are typically used for argumentative papers.

Another type of research paper is the analytical paper, which examines a particular topic or issue thoroughly. The goal of an analytical paper is to analyze and interpret the information presented, rather than persuading or arguing a specific point. This type of paper may use the Chicago or AMA style, depending on the field of study. The researcher finds and traces the causes, effects, and interpretations associated with the topic, producing a comprehensive analysis.

A problem-solution paper is yet another type of research paper that focuses on identifying and analyzing a problem and providing possible solutions. This paper typically starts with a brief overview of the problem, presents the main causes and effects, and then suggests ways to address and overcome the issue. The Purdue OWL website is a valuable resource for writing problem-solution papers, offering manuals, FAQs, and examples in different styles.

In contrast, interpretative research papers focus on examining and interpreting existing research and opinions on a specific topic. These papers involve a thorough analysis of various sources and their interpretations. The writer presents different viewpoints and speculates on their effects and implications. Interpretative research papers often use the MLA style and require a deep understanding of the subject matter.

In this comprehensive guide, we will further examine each of these types of research papers. We will explore their characteristics, purposes, and distinguishing features. By the end, you will have a better understanding of what sets each type of research paper apart and how to effectively approach writing them.

The Basics of Research Papers

Research papers are an essential part of academic study, providing students with the opportunity to examine a specific topic in-depth and present their findings in a structured and logical manner. There are several types of research papers, including psychological, medical, and interpretive studies.

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Research papers follow a specific format and style, often conforming to guidelines set by professional associations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Medical Association (AMA). Authors must carefully follow these guidelines to ensure the acceptance of their papers by academic journals and to support the credibility of their research.

The methods section provides a detailed description of how the research was conducted, including the population surveyed or studied, the experimental design, and any instruments used for data collection. The results section presents the findings of the study, often through tables or graphs that summarize the data collected. The discussion section analyzes the results, interprets their meaning, and suggests possible causes or effects associated with the research.

For students getting started with research papers, Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers a comprehensive guide to writing and structuring academic papers. The guide provides step-by-step instructions on the different types of research papers, while also offering tips and examples to support students in their writing process.

Different Types of Research Papers

Research papers come in various types, each with its own objectives, style, and approach. By understanding the different types of research papers, writers can choose the most suitable one to effectively communicate their findings and ideas.

2. Argumentative Research Papers: In these papers, writers present a specific argument or claim and support it with evidence and logical reasoning. They strive to persuade readers by taking a stance on a controversial issue.

3. Definition Research Papers: These papers provide a thorough definition and explanation of a particular term, concept, or idea. They often explore the origins, history, and usage of the term in different contexts.

4. Problem-Solution Research Papers: This type of research paper identifies a specific problem and proposes a solution or set of solutions. Writers analyze the problem, evaluate possible solutions, and present their recommendations.

5. Comparative Research Papers: These papers compare and contrast two or more subjects, highlighting their similarities and differences. Writers analyze the subjects in a systematic and objective manner to provide a comprehensive comparison.

6. Experimental Research Papers: Also known as lab reports, these papers present the results of experiments conducted in various scientific disciplines. They follow a specific format and structure to ensure clarity and reproducibility of the experiments for further study.

7. Review Articles: These papers summarize and evaluate existing research on a specific topic. They provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and identify gaps for further research.

8. Medical Research Papers: Medical research papers focus on health and medical topics. They can include clinical studies, case reports, and systematic reviews of medical literature.

It’s important for writers to clearly identify which type of research paper they are producing. Understanding the requirements and objectives associated with each type can help writers communicate their ideas effectively and increase the chances of acceptance or publication.

For further support and resources on writing different types of research papers, writers can refer to the guidelines provided by recognized associations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Choosing the Right Research Paper Type

1. Argumentative Research Paper: This type of paper presents an argument or a claim and supports it with evidence and reasoning. The writer typically takes a position and tries to persuade the reader to agree with their point of view.

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2. Interpretive Research Paper: This type of paper examines and interprets a specific topic or concept, often using qualitative data analysis or subjective interpretation. It focuses on understanding the meaning or significance of the subject matter.

4. Survey Research Paper: This type of paper collects data from a large group of people using surveys or questionnaires. It aims to gather information about opinions, attitudes, or behaviors and often involves statistical analysis.

5. Problem-Solution Research Paper: This type of paper identifies a problem or an issue and proposes a solution or strategies to address it. It involves studying the problem, analyzing potential solutions, and presenting recommendations.

6. Compare and Contrast Research Paper: This type of paper examines the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It involves identifying the commonalities and disparities and analyzing their significance.

7. Experimental Research Paper: This type of paper presents the results of an experiment or study conducted by the writer. It includes information about the research design, methodology, findings, and implications.

8. Literature Review: This type of paper provides a comprehensive summary and evaluation of existing research and scholarly articles on a specific topic. It aims to show the current state of knowledge and identify gaps or areas for further research.

When choosing the right research paper type, consider your research question, the available resources, and your writing style. Think about what type of paper would best suit your goals and allow you to present your findings and arguments most effectively. It can also be helpful to consult resources or guidelines provided by your academic institution for additional guidance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Research Paper

  1. Define the objectives: Begin by clearly defining the objectives of your research paper. This will help you stay focused and organized throughout the writing process.
  2. Identify the topic: Choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. It should be specific enough to provide a clear direction for your research.
  3. Gather information: Conduct thorough research on your topic to gather relevant data and information. Use various sources such as books, scholarly articles, and online databases to collect reliable information.
  4. Organize your findings: Once you have gathered the necessary information, organize your findings in a logical manner. This will help you present your arguments and support your research effectively.
  5. Choose the research paper style: Depending on your subject and requirements, choose an appropriate research paper style. Some common styles include argumentative, interpretive, and report.
  6. Follow the citation style: Use a specific citation style, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, or AMA, to format your research paper. Refer to the appropriate style manual or consult online resources for guidelines.
  7. Present your arguments: Develop a clear and concise argument based on your research. Use supporting evidence and examples to strengthen your arguments and provide credibility to your findings.
  8. Analyze and interpret data: Analyze the data collected during your research and interpret its implications. Discuss any patterns or trends observed and offer possible explanations or solutions.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can effectively write a research paper that meets the requirements of your field. Remember to proofread and edit your paper before submitting it for review or publication.

For more information and resources on different types of research papers, you can refer to resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) or the American Medical Association (AMA) Manual of Style. These sources offer FAQs, examples, and guidelines to assist scholars and researchers in producing high-quality research papers.

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Academic Writing FAQs: Getting Started

1. What are the different types of research papers?

There are several different types of research papers, each with its own purpose and structure. Some of the most common types include argumentative, analytical, interpretive, and problem-solution papers. Each type requires a unique approach and set of skills.

2. How do I choose a topic for my research paper?

Choosing a topic for your research paper can be challenging. It’s important to select a topic that is not too broad or too narrow, and that is of interest to you. Consider your assignment requirements, the available resources, and your own interests when selecting a topic.

3. What are some steps I should take when conducting research?

4. How should I structure my research paper?

5. Which citation style should I use?

The citation style you should use will depend on your academic field and the specific guidelines of your assignment. The most commonly used citation styles in academic writing are APA (American Psychological Association) and AMA (American Medical Association). Consult the appropriate style manual, such as the Purdue OWL, for guidance on how to cite sources correctly.

6. How can I ensure that my research paper is well-supported?

To ensure that your research paper is well-supported, it’s important to use credible sources and provide evidence to back up your arguments. Avoid making unsupported statements or relying solely on personal opinions. Thoroughly research your topic and gather information from reputable sources.

Problem-Solution PaperArgumentative PaperInterpretive Paper
Identify a problem and propose a solutionPresent an argument and support it with evidenceExamine and interpret different perspectives or meanings
Analyze the causes and effects of a problemCompare and contrast different points of viewFindings may be debatable and open to interpretation
Offer a thorough explanation of the proposed solutionAddress counterarguments and refute opposing viewsConsider biases and perspectives of the authors


What are the different types of report research papers?

There are six main types of report research papers: analytical, argumentative, experimental, survey, observational, and case study.

What is an analytical research paper?

An analytical research paper is a type of report that aims to analyze and evaluate a specific topic or issue. It involves a thorough examination of existing literature and data to form conclusions and provide insights.

Is an argumentative research paper different from an analytical research paper?

Yes, an argumentative research paper differs from an analytical research paper. While an analytical research paper aims to analyze and evaluate a topic, an argumentative research paper takes a stance on a specific issue and supports it with evidence and logical reasoning.

What is a survey research paper?

A survey research paper involves collecting data from a group of individuals through questionnaires or interviews. It aims to gather information about opinions, thoughts, and experiences on a particular subject or topic.

What is a case study research paper?

A case study research paper focuses on a specific individual, group, or situation. It involves in-depth analysis and examination of a particular case to understand its unique characteristics, challenges, and outcomes.

What is a report research paper?

A report research paper is a type of academic paper that presents and analyzes information on a specific topic or issue. It provides a comprehensive report of the research conducted, including the methods used, data collected, and analysis performed. The purpose of a report research paper is to present factual information and findings to the reader.

What are the different types of report research papers?

There are several different types of report research papers, including analytical reports, experimental reports, survey reports, case study reports, and literature review reports. Analytical reports focus on analyzing data and providing insights, experimental reports involve conducting experiments and studying the results, survey reports present the findings of surveys conducted, case study reports analyze a specific case or situation, and literature review reports summarize and evaluate existing literature on a topic.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.