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Difference Between Research Paper and Essay

Whether you are a student of a high school or a middle school or toiling away the college, one of the fundamental facet of academics is paper writing. Essays and other kinds of the creative writing are most common attributes of the English studies. Other than this, you also need to know about writing the informative writings like term or research papers. But knowing the difference amid the different kinds of the writing ways, you will be able to know the compelling prose of draft which is accepted for all forms of assignments.

Research Paper and Essay

Definition of Essay

One of the highly common kinds of writing is writing essays. Initiating the later elementary level of school years and then in the middle school, you are most likely get exposed to the small essays, which are the basic starting point of making the long length essay writing as you move to the higher classes. While these essays are usually short pieces of the writing (not more than 1000 words), they let teachers to judge the students on various writing, analysis and reading skills, also the art of exposition and persuasion.

Essays can take any of the shape like they can be told like a story or can be narrative; need to have an investigation or exposition, descriptive where students need to describe, creative, and lastly, persuasive, where students are expected to give argument on a particular topic or any position.

Overall, essay writing usually lets for much creativity as compared to formal writings like in case of the research paper.

Types of Essays

Essays have now become an important part of the formal education systems and the structure of essay makes the fundamentals of the sufficient writing skills in students. During the initial years of schooling, the students are let to know the structure of 5-paragraph essays which involve the introduction of the topic including the thesis objective, followed by the body of 3 paragraphs along with the main thesis and conclusion. The exhibition of the thoughts of writer in the essay is usually judged on the basis of logics, coherence, and factualness of the written material.

There are different kinds of the essays;

  • Academic Essays
  • Descriptive Essays
  • Narrative Essays
  • Comparison Essays
  • Philosophical Essays


Research Paper Definition

A research paper is defined as the piece of plagiarism free writing of research. Here the word ‘research’ refers to the repetitive search done in different directions for proving the central objective statement or question. Usually there are two forms of the research papers, quantitative papers and qualitative papers

The word “research paper” incur the conjure anxiety among the highly intellectual students. But, this may not be always true. Actually, it is helpful to take research paper as the inflated form of essays. Basically, the structure of both writings is almost same, however you may need the thesis question here (which isn’t included in most kinds of the essay writing), deep research as well as proves for supporting the ideas. You may also need to add few credible sources in the paper, which are listed in form of references. And most important, if you select the subject in which you have an interest in doing research, working on the informative paper makes your experience more rewarding.

Students are encouraged and also need some support for their findings using the facts taken from the reputable references. Typical research papers range 5 to 15 pages in length.

The work of students will get organize in a framework after compilation of all the proper info taken from the various sources. The instructors usually assign these tasks to the students for teaching them how to create balance in the writing skills, and encouraging the structural discipline as well as known formatting.

Moreover, as per the famous research guides for the students, the research papers usually gather the genuine info on the given topic and after then they gather data during the stage of investigation, a student has to sum up giving the concise and clear analysis or disposition. Before writing a paper it is recommended to look for free research paper examples as it may definitely help you to know the actual idea.

The research papers use different major kinds of the citation formats like APA, Chicago, and MLA. The paper is provided with the consistent focus, clear research, and gives a deep understanding of the subject or topic while distinguishing the opinions and facts, and is reliable when it comes to findings and conclusion. Most of the times a research paper is also termed as the research project or term paper too.

For sure, most of the research papers have the thesis statements in accordance with the given topic. And, sometimes the students may need to write down any of the two kinds of the research papers given below;

  • Argumentative Research Paper
  • Analytical Research Paper

research paper types

A research paper comprises of the speculative variable as well as constants which are geared to prove the basic statement of research paper of the main constant. A research paper is focused on the single scholar statement and few times may be just a summary of this statement. This paper circulates around the central statement and is referred as the procedure of giving the methodological proof of the given statement. Both qualitative and quantitative papers have this methodology, presented in different forms as per the requirements of the particular topic.

Differences Between Essay and Research Paper

  • The main difference amid research paper and essay is that paper is usually longer in length, while essays include 4 to 5 paragraphs. Research paper is considered as the multi-page writing. Moreover, the research papers generally give argument tor analysis of a point, while essays give answers to the questions.
  • Research papers depend on the knowledge of other people for proving the point while essays majorly depend on the experiences and thoughts of writer.
  • The purpose of writing research paper is to carry out and write a report including the unique and detailed form of the research done by the author on some particular topic. While the goal of writing essays is to analyze critically already published work done on some particular topic. One can also describe his thoughts about some topic while writing essays.
  • Research paper shows the genuine research done by the writer on some topic. This is called as the primary literature. Essays include the content of already published articles and don’t have any genuine research. This is called as the secondary literature.
  • The writer of research paper makes the research question, gathers the raw data and then conduct the genuine research. In essays, writer selects a particular topic and then makes a summary of already done literature while discussing his own point of views.
  • The content of research paper is written on the basis of analysis and conduction of research done. On the other hand, content of essays includes an overview along with the basic understanding of a topic.
  • In research paper, each step of research is written, including hypothesis, literature review, methodology and conclusions. Essays describe the overall studies and point of views on a topic.
  • Word count of research paper ranges between 3000 to 12, 000. While the word count of essays ranges between 3000 to 5000.

A Comparison Between Research Paper and Essay

Difference Between Research Paper and Essay


While you are passing through your academic life, the writing skills mater a lot. Whether you are writing an essay or a research paper, keep in mind the objective of your writing, styling of writing, way of doing it in a perfect form. To know the basic differences between both kinds of writings, is an important step to take in an academic world.

One has to know the difference between these kinds of writing not only when turning to a research paper writing service, like but also when working on the assignment on their own. This will help to meet all the academic requirements and get the best possible results.

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1 comment

Gotthard July 15, 2021 - 2:30 am

When incorporating references into your intro, you do not necessarily need to describe every single study in complete detail, particularly if different studies use similar methodologies. Certainly you want to summarize briefly key articles, though, and point out differences in methods or findings of relevant studies when necessary. Don t make one mistake typical of a novice APA-paper writer by stating overtly why you re including a particular article (e.g., This article is relevant to my study because ). It should be obvious to the reader why you re including a reference without your explicitly saying so. DO NOT quote from the articles, instead paraphrase by putting the information in your own words.


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