Types of Research Papers

When writing a research paper try to consider the several types of papers and which type would best suit the argument you are trying to make. I will discuss the variety of types and try to give to help guide you on which type you should choose depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

First, you need to know there are several standards of writing that you must follow. These standards are often known by their abbreviation APA, Chicago, and others and are explained in detail in other articles on this site and other articles on the internet, so I will spare you those definitions. Once you have established the format of the paper you are writing, next comes the concept of the paper.

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Analytical Paper. This type of paper basically discusses the argument from multiple viewpoints and remains objective the entire time. In other words, you discuss the topic in its entirety from many perspectives with the main objective of informing the reading about the subject. I would venture a guess that this is the most popular form of a research paper because it contains the most objective information. A subcategory of analytic paper would be a Definition paper, which is an analytic paper where you define something, and write in length about its definition.

Argumentative Paper. This paper is the antithesis of an analytic paper. You take a subject and try to argue it from one vantage point, with the objective of convincing the reader that what you are arguing is the correct approach to the subject matter, as opposed to the subject material you are arguing against. This can be a tricky paper to write and remain objective, but a fundamental rule of academic writing is objectivity. Personal anecdotes can be fine, but make sure they do not cloud your objective vantage point.

Compare and Contrast Research Paper – explores multiple vantage points and tries to objectively explore them. In the case of compare and contrast, however, you will likely only be comparing two or possible three subjects. The goal here is to inform the reading about the benefits, truths, and advantages of a subject, but also present the disadvantages and fallacies of the subject, and try to argue after all information is presented, which subject has a more valid argument.

There are also a few other types of papers which are much rarer, such as interpretive papers, cause and effect papers, and specific types of papers created by the professor. Normally the rarer the format of the paper, the more the professor will guide you on what he or she requires from your writing. Remember regardless of what type of paper you choose, try to remain objective and informative.