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The Most Common Types Of Research Paper

Composing a research paper can be a student’s worst nightmare. However, this does not need to be the case. With proper planning, and knowing exactly the type of paper your teacher is expecting, the process of writing your research paper can indeed be a very pleasant experience.

In general, a research paper is any paper that requires the writer to write their own thoughts based on a thorough analysis of the sources you have managed to find. As such, many papers fit this definition and are known as research papers. In this article, presented by PaperWritingPros, we will discuss the most common types of such papers.

Argumentative Papers

In an argumentative paper, the writer presents both side of an argument, and then proceeds to choose one side using justification through their research. This type of paper can confuse many students, as they are expected to present both sides of an argument, yet still take a side. The key is to know that you should not present a heavily biased viewpoint of either side, and your presentation should be grounded on logical sources that do not have an agenda either. There are many research paper topics to write about for argumentative papers.

Analytical Papers

Analytical papers are similar to argumentative papers in that you are expected to present many differing viewpoints on a certain topic. However, where they differ is the fact that you are not presenting your own viewpoint. The main objective in writing a research paper that is analytical is to focus on the methodology and findings of other researchers in the topic area you are writing about.

Definition Papers

Definition papers are very different to the types of papers we have already discussed. In a definition papers, your sole aim is to describe a topic or concept. This can leave many students struggling, as they are used to performing detailed analysis in their essays and providing their own opinion on topics, which is not the case in a definition paper, where the aim is to provide detailed and factual information devoid of any opinion or analysis.

Compare and Contrast

Compare and contrast papers are very popular in subjects based on literature, such as English literature, and social science subjects. These types of papers provide students the best opportunity to talk about two pieces of texts simultaneously.


Reports are often written to outline a case study situation. They can be very useful in a business setting, and so many academic institutions require their students to write reports to prepare them for employment. Reports, like definition papers, usually avoid showing any opinions or emotions, and are based pure on providing the reader with facts, usually to make a decision based on them. Reports usually include an executive summary, which replaces the abstract section you usually find in an academic research paper.

With these common research paper types in mind, it is best to create a research paper outline before you begin writing, as this will make your life far easier when composing your paper.


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