Types of research papers

As you pursue studies in education, likelihood is that that you simply will write a research essay because it constitutes a fundamental portion of the curriculum. Writing a research paper may be a challenging and daunting assignment for anyone and seems almost impractical if you’ve got never done it before. Preparing this type of educational paper requires you to research different technical, social, and scientific aspects of a topic and consolidate your findings.
There are differing types of research papers each requiring a selected approach. Different research papers suit different sorts of assignments and disciplines. Each type of research paper hence requires preparation and presentation. We will demystify the various types of research papers we have, but first, allow us to establish what a research paper is.

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Definition of a research paper

The words research paper/ research article can be used interchangeably depending on the topic being covered. It is writing that gives investigation, explanation, and argument built on comprehensive research.
This includes:
• Findings from experiments conducted to accumulate new or add on to existing knowledge
• Creation and proof of laws of society and nature
• Testing a scientific hypothesis etc.
Research papers are written using the analysis of what you recognize from your assigned discipline and therefore the information acquired from research supported your experience and understanding. Hence, this sort of paper requires a student to spend time and energy doing research, analysis, and making reports on findings. It, however, helps one gain invaluable research skills.

Research Paper Format

Formatting refers to the design guide employed in your paper. Style guides set your papers typesetting, grammar, references, and bibliography. Different disciplines use diverse style guides for his or her research.
You may ask, what types of research papers are typically written in APA style? Social and Behavioral Sciences additionally to, Psychology and Education are the fields that mainly use the APA style. Below are guidelines for formatting a search paper in APA style.
• Paper size should be set at 8½x11-inch and 1-inch margin on all sides
• Double spaced lines
• Font should be 12 point Times New Roman
• Center aligned cover pages are essential altogether APA papers
• Page numbers should be placed at the highest of every page, right-align including the duvet page
• Each paragraph should be indented
• Section heading should be bolded but the title shouldn’t
• Include in text citations for sources used including the author’s/organization’s name and year of publication
Other widely used style guides include the MLA (Modern Language Association) and CMOS (Chicago/Turabian Manual of Style) for the humanistic discipline . AMA (American Medical Association) and CBE (Council of Biology Editors) are primarily used for Medicine and Scientific studies.

Types of Research

There are varying types of research depending on your research goals. In this particular case, we will focus on research methods based on the type of data you want to collect.

Quantitative Research Methods

This type of research focuses on numbers, statistics, and measurable forms. It is systematic in its investigation of events and data. It justifies correlations between measurable variables that are used to predict, explain or control phenomena.

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Types of quantitative methods include:

  • Correlational research
  • Descriptive research
  • Survey research

Qualitative Research Methods

This type of research method lays focus on words and their implication. The data collected mainly through conversation and is generally non-numerical. As a researcher, you understand how a participant thinks and why they think that way through this method.

Types of qualitative methods include:

  • Case Study
  • Ethnographic Studies
  • Text Analysis
  • Focus groups
  • One on one interview

How to write a research paper

1.      Have an understanding of the assignment

A successful research paper is one that all tasks to be covered have been accomplished. To achieve this it’s important to:

  • Read the assignment task sheet carefully and ask for any clarifications from your instructor
  • Ascertain the goal of the assignment, formatting, length specifications, deadline, and submission details.
  • Highlight and write short notes on the assignment

2.      Pick a research paper topic

Deciding what to write about can be daunting. However, there are many ways of generating an idea for a research paper.

You may try to come up with something by scribbling a few ideas on paper or having guidance from your instructor. Previously done research papers offer a good source of inspiration. Pick a broad subject area and choose a topic that you are interested in, one that meets assignment criteria, and offers the possibility to research.

3.      Conduct preliminary research

Note any fundamental issues you can emphasize in your paper. Use a varying number of resources including websites, journals, and books. It would also suit you to formulate research questions at this stage.

4.      Develop a thesis statement

A thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. The thesis statement should answer your research question and show reason and evidence to sustain that answer.

The thesis statement should be clear, contentious, and sensible. The claim should be able to summarize the research paper in a few sentences.

You may have to refine your thesis statement to write your research paper. The body sentences’ main goal of your paper should be to support the main argument.

5.      Create an outline

An outline is an avenue to structure your paper. A research paper outline comprises of a list of topics, opinions and evidence divided into a heading section to guide your paper. A well-structured outline should make the writing process more efficient.

6.      Compose the first draft of the research paper

The main priority at this step is to:

  • Advance in writing without minding perfection
  • Organize and logically order paragraphs and sentences with good flow
  • Clearly express your ideas, so that it is easy to follow when writing the second draft

Use an outline to map out your work. Begin writing your draft where you feel most comfortable not necessarily from the beginning. In case, you have a piece of text you do not like, transfer it to a different document. It may come in handy, rather than losing it completely.

research paper

7.      Write the introduction

The introduction of the research paper answers the questions: what, why, and how. Your audience should understand what the research paper is about, the relevance to reading it and how your arguments have been built.

  • What? Specify the subject of the paper, background information, and definition of the main terms
  • Why? This is the most vital part of the introduction and answers the main issues the paper addresses
  • How? This part of the introduction tells the reader how the arguments will be presented and the evidence supporting them

8.      Write the body

An outline comes in handy in presenting information in the paper. However, keep in mind that the outline is just a guide and you are free to present your arguments and information in the most suitable way you choose.

Use topic sentences for each paragraph maintaining the theme of the thesis statement. Check and ensure paragraphs or sentences do not repeat concepts and ideas. Make smooth transitions between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

9.      The Conclusion

In the conclusion, the paper should gain a feeling of finality and let your audience slip out of the paper’s arguments. Emphasize how all your points tie in with your thesis statement. Remember in the conclusion to avoid:

  • Creating new arguments or information concerning the research topic
  • Starting with stock phrases that indicate the ending of the paper
  • Taking too much space

10.  Writing the second draft

There are a few main steps to follow when writing your second and most probably final draft of the paper.

  1. Align your wants of the paper with the first draft and see whether it still meets the requirements of the assignment
  2. Pinpoint any assumptions that may need more evidence or justification. If you cannot offer any more substantiation to these points it is best if you remove them
  3. Re-arrange your ideas whenever you feel necessary to have a better-organized paper
  4. Readjust all old ideas that feel unsuitable to the paper and do not shy away from incorporating new ideas being careful to maintain relevance

11.  Re-read and edit the paper

Proofread your work for grammar, irrelevant information, organization, and formatting style errors. Remember the most crucial part of revising your research paper is: validating that it has answered the question and fulfilled the requirements of the research paper.

Parts of a research paper

The different parts of a research paper establish structure and consistency in your research papers, in addition to aiding you to follow the proper scientific methodology. This is an important guide as it enables you to focus on one key area at a time.


It contains an overview of what the paper is about. Usually, they are about 120-200 words in length. The abstract should contain an introduction of the topic and thesis statement and state findings in your research. The abstract enlightens your reader to continue reading the entire paper as it mentions all the key aspects of your topic. It is often written last since it is a summary for the entire paper.


The introduction contains some background research and lays a descriptive focus on the topic of research. You need to introduce a summary of the topic, your main argumentative points, and the relevance of the study. You may also introduce information on the current understanding of the subject under investigation.

Literature review

Throughout your research, you need to elaborate on the theoretical framework used at this part of your essay. You need to showcase all the resources used in preparation for writing your essay stating books, relevant publications, and peer-reviewed journals used.

Ensure that all your sources are credible. Mention the author(s) and/or institutions whose work you have studied for your paper. Proper citation is important following the rules of the writing format outlined for your essay.

Research Methodology

Different objectives are covered in different parts of a research paper. It is therefore important to mention the different methods of research you may have utilized throughout your work in this part.

Data Analysis

In this section, you do an objective presentation of all the data you have collected with the various research methods you may have used. The addition of new data may contribute to a build-up in the understanding of your research topic. A complete analysis of the presented data is done at subsequent parts of the research paper.


This is where you analyze all the data collected for your paper. The analysis should match your methodology and state any implications the data may have relevant to diverse subjects of study. Mention any shortcomings your approach may have that would be improved with a repeat of the research.


Draw out the thesis statement, methodology, and evaluated data to conclude your research paper. Whether the objectives of the research have been met should be stated.

Reference List

This is a collection of all the academic resources sort after for research. Use proper citation format according to the citation style suggested for the paper.

Types of research papers

Argumentative/ Persuasive research paper

This paper offers two sides to a contentious issue. Its main objective is for you to get the reader to your point of view. Include research and findings on both sides of the argument but then persuade the reader to side with the view you favor most. You should however support your arguments with statistical data and logical facts.

Analytical research paper

This paper involves posing a question and collecting evidence from primary sources to analyze their viewpoint. You use findings from other works of research and their respective conclusions to make your conclusion about a subject.

Cause and effect research paper

This type of paper has a very basic model. It answers to main questions “why” and “what”. A presentation of the causes of a particular phenomenon or issue is drawn. Next, a description of the situation and finally more about the subject is projected.

Experimental research paper

The main objective of an experiment is to explain causation when certain actions are performed. A description of the experiment supported by data and analysis is needed for the paper.

Survey research paper

This research paper involves conducting a survey involving respondents to research questions. Information collected from the survey is then analyzed and compiled to present the paper.

research paper

Report research paper

The main objective of this type of research paper is to inform your audience on the key facts about a particular discipline based on existing information. As a researcher, you will need to go through a particular topic or event and describe its most unique characteristics.

The different types of research papers are used in different fields of study. You may be curious as to know, what are the main types of research papers? The first two types of research papers discussed above, that is analytic and argumentative research papers are the two main types. Experimental and report papers belong to the class of types of scientific research papers.

In summary

The research paper format should follow your writing guide following proper citation rules for your style. There are several parts of a research paper all of which help the writing process to be less daunting.

Writing a research paper requires proper planning and step by step execution. This helps in writing a clear and concise paper that meets its research objectives. The different types of research papers serve different fields of study and subjects.

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