What is a research paper?
What is a research paper?
A research paper is a paper that makes an argument about a topic based on research and analysis.
Any paper requiring the writer to research a particular topic is a research paper. Unlike essays, which are often based largely on opinion and are written from the author's point of view, research papers are based in fact.
A research paper requires you to form an opinion on a topic, research and gain expert knowledge on that topic, and then back up your own opinions and assertions with facts found through your thorough research.
➡️ Read more about different types of research papers.
What is the difference between a research paper and a thesis?
A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.
A thesis is a document students of higher education write to obtain an academic degree or qualification. Usually, it is longer than a research paper and takes multiple years to complete.
Generally associated with graduate/postgraduate studies, it is carried out under the supervision of a professor or other academic of the university.
A major difference between a research paper and a thesis is that:
- a research paper presents certain facts that have already been researched and explained by others
- a thesis starts with a certain scholarly question or statement, which then leads to further research and new findings
This means that a thesis requires the author to input original work and their own findings in a certain field, whereas the research paper can be completed with extensive research only.
Frequently Asked Questions about research papers
🕵🏽♂️ Where can I find research papers?
🦠 Why do people write research papers?
Mason Porter, Professor at UCLA, explains in this forum post the main reasons to write a research paper:
- To create new knowledge and disseminate it.
- To teach science and how to write about it in an academic style.
- Some practical benefits: prestige, establishing credentials, requirements for grants or to help one get a future grant proposal, and so on.
👩⚕️ Who writes research papers?
Generally, people involved in the academia. Research papers are mostly written by higher education students and professional researchers.
👯 Are research papers and scientific papers the same?
Yes, a research paper is the same as a scientific paper. Both papers have the same purpose and format.
👬🏽 What is the difference between a research paper and a thesis?
A major difference between a research paper and a thesis is that the former presents certain facts that have already been researched and explained by others, whereas the latter starts with a certain scholarly question or statement, which then leads to further research and new findings.