What is a research paper?

What is a research paper? image

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.

What is the difference between a research paper and a thesis?

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 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. 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.

Another difference between a research paper and a thesis is that a research paper in a scholarly context is usually part of a subject or requirement for a class, and does not count as a separate subject, whereas the thesis is usually considered as a separate module, requiring supervision of a professor or other academic of the university, and being graded separately.

Frequently Asked Questions about research papers

Where can I find research papers?

Take a look at this list of the top 21 Free Online Journal and Research Databases, such as ScienceOpen, Directory of Open Access Journals, ERIC, and many more.

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.