Actually, the name already suggests what it is all about. This paper requires research, i.e. finding academic and relevant information on the matter. Done. But what next? Next steps are determined by what you are required to do with information you found. You may be asked to report briefly on the issue, to provide full picture of it, to take a stand and defend a point. Definitely, your defense should be based on scholarly facts, theories and assumptions. But it also goes beyond information gathering and does something with it. In other words, you analyze, synthesize, play with opposing views and so on. Research is not about just writing down everything you found on the matter. It is about your ability to draw the valuable points out and leaving the rest aside. It is a good drill in thinking as such, so do not miss a chance to hone your thinking skills.
Research Paper Tamed and Explained
But how to decide what paper is required if no specific instruction were given? The answer is: look closer on the topic you were given (or selected yourself). It may be very wide, so be sure to select one particular aspect. Each topic can be approached like debatable or informative one.
- climate change,
- school education,
- food choices,
- medical care,
- social media,
Every topic can be treated as informative (you list main information points) or argumentative (you take a stand in some argument and defend it, like healthy food choices should be taught in class, medical research needs more funding, etc.)
If you want to do it fast, do informative or report paper. If you want to get higher grade and praise of an instructor, do argumentative or analytical paper. It is a bit more complex, but it is definitely more useful for you than simple repetition of the info. Below is the list of research paper types you can choose from.
Types of Research Paper to Choose from
- Argumentative. Argumentative paper begins with what it stands for: with an argument. In other words, you need to take a stand, a position you will defend and try to instill into your audience. When you decide what stand you take, you can select arguments that support your view, provide arguments that oppose it and dismantle them, and then end up with a powerful conclusion that reiterates your arguments and makes readers and listeners remember it and play with it in their minds, if not accept completely. This kind of paper depends on what topic you are assigned and what structure is required. However, always begin with taking a clear position because you cannot have both here.
- Analytical or Synthetic. This type of paper is more complex than informative or pros and cons paper, because it takes skills beyond reading and paraphrasing. Analysis means dissecting available information to small bits, finding faults and fallacies in it or seeing what elements constitute some phenomenon or event. This allows finding patterns beyond seemingly random events and pointing to causes of some issues that are not that obvious at a first glance. To do analysis, you need to have a good grasp of theory in your field, because when you have this knowledge you can see it at work in analyzed material. Or to the contrary, you can find out that some basic laws or patterns were skipped or twisted and so troubles arose. Synthesis requires that you put available facts together and have a new picture, like you take high level of air pollution in your city, lots of cars, few trees, and predict that rate of respiratory diseases in your city will be quite high in comparison to a city with cleaner air. Again, you need to know theory and basic laws working in the area you write about, and then you will piece the puzzle together properly.
- Descriptive or informative. Unlike an argumentative paper, this kind of research allows ‘having it all’ and listing positions and views without taking a definite stand. The purpose of this paper is to inform readers objectively about some issues or topic, so your main task is to explore the topic sufficiently and decide what key facts and ideas are a must for presentation and what can be left out for good. Usually the key point limiting the information stream is the assigned number of pages, so take them as a guide while outlining and drafting. Just facts, data and scientific objectivity, no personal opinion, bias or experience is expected or required here.
- Pros and cons paper. As its name suggests, you take some issues or topic that is debatable. i.e. it has alternatives and its strong and weak sides, and then you list these pros and cons.The most debatable and controversial topics(and the most beaten ones) are gun control (more or less of it), abortions (to make them more accessible or prohibit), euthanasia (to permit or not). But you may want to play it safe and take topics that are not so controversial among the public, like making colleges free, providing paid maternal leave, allowing kids to use social media, going vegan, and what’s not. Research the topic and list arguments for it and against it. Provide your personal opinion if it is required in instructions.
- Cause and Effect. This kind of paper is close to analytical since it gets deeper than the superfluous listing of facts. You are to take a topic, research it and decide what causes what. Actually, the scholarly literature you will use will prompt you this connection,so you just need to convey it in writing properly. For example, you may write on the topic of making cannabis smoking legal and see if the area with this permit has a surge in heavy drugs use afterwards (it is often assumed that people begin with marijuana and then move on to heavier drugs). Research the literature and see if this causative connection exists and if it is strong enough.
- Compare/Contrast. To write this paper you need to find a topic that offers elements with similarities and differences. Otherwise it is no use to compare car driving rates in New York and average rainfalls in some African desert.But if you take precipitation across Africa for your geography class, and compare rainfall rates for African countries that belong to the same climatic zone or have similar or different landscapes, then your comparison makes sense. You can arrive at valuable conclusions that contribute to understanding of the precipitation problem and maybe even solving the problem (even if theoretically).
- Interpretation. Most often interpretation is required in fields that permit and suppose it. Like, you cannot interpret a math problem because it has a definite solution, but you can interpret a poem or a book, and see it through the lens of your own experience. Interpretation here means deciphering,so you explain what you see and what it means or stands for. Interpreting poems or books is a classic example, but you can also interpret sociological data or business cases. To do it, you need to master an apparatus of field you write in, because otherwise it will be not an interpretation but primitive evaluation of the kind ‘like or do not like, right or wrong’.
- Report-like paper. It is like a descriptive paper but formally structured and divided into predictable sections. Whether you repost about a case study or some medical issues like obesity and its causes, you begin with general summary of a situation, then move to specific issues causing it and to its outcomes, and end up with recommendations on how to fix a situation or what to do next if a situation is still in development.
Each paper type is not that scary in making as it seems. Choose one, see how it should be organized, create an outline and write. Or else, come to us and let our expert writers do the trick of choosing and writing for you. They have ample experience of creating research paper of all levels, so you will definitely get a classy assignment worth of the highest grade. And you will be able to use it in future as a template for your own writing. Real combo!