The Writing Planet

50 % off on all orders

clockLimited Time Only

50 % off on all orders

clockLimited Time Only

What Is The Difference Between Research Paper and Essay

Defference between research paper and essay

Whether you are a high school or university student, it is essential to realize that academic writing involves the development of essays and research papers. The ability to compose these types of assignments is essential for academic achievement. Unfortunately, an essay and a research paper share many similarities, and the majority of students do not comprehend the differences between the two; thus, they wind up producing a research paper instead of an essay, and vice versa.

It is important to note that an essay and a research paper share qualities, such as the necessity for extensive study, writing abilities, a specified length, the requirement for citations, and the ability to construct a bibliography.

Difference between Research Paper and Essay

What Is An Essay Exactly?

An essay is a sort of academic writing that often consists of less than five paragraphs. Writing an essay, unlike other forms of writing, demands a significant level of imagination as well as exceptional writing abilities. Remember that a high-quality paper must be rationally organized and backed by evidence that can be verified.

A common purpose of an essay is to communicate one’s opinion on a certain issue. Your perspective is formed by how you interpret and utilize external sources. The number of citations utilized in an essay is determined by the length of the paper. For instance, the majority of instructors want at least five references for an essay of 500 words.

Essay writing is one of the most common tasks assigned to high school and college students. It is essential to note that essays are often brief writings (less than one thousand words) whose primary purpose is to allow teachers to evaluate students’ writing, reading, persuasive, and analytical abilities.

Types of Essays

The types of classifications for essays are presented below.

  • Academic Essays

Typically, academic essays are required at the college and university level. Remember that these papers are based on the information supplied in your coursework as well as external sources. These articles are also longer, ranging from 3000-5000 words in length. Most importantly, these tests are meant to evaluate students’ intelligence.

  • Descriptive Essays

The purpose of descriptive essays is to stimulate the reader’s senses by describing the characteristics of a certain topic or issue. To produce an excellent descriptive essay, you must use the appropriate devices, such as adjectives, similes, metaphors, etc.

  • Personal Story Essays

A narrative essay is a factual or fictitious summary of your life experiences intended to enlighten the audience. Typically, narrative essays are written in the first person to enhance the reader’s understanding of the author’s experience.

Narrative essays are written from the author’s perspective and are meant to captivate the reader with the story’s progression. To create an engaging story, you must use correct writing techniques, such as character development, setting, climax, and resolution.

  • Comparative Essays

A comparison essay contrasts and compares two subjects to demonstrate their similarities and differences. It is essential to keep in mind that a comparison essay is intriguing when two contrasting things, such as apples and mangoes, are compared.

The opening paragraph of a comparison essay has a thesis statement that highlights the two subjects to be contrasted. For instance, “organic bananas may be more expensive than naturally grown bananas, but they are worth the extra expense.”

Comparison essays might be organized according to topics or specific points. It is vital to remember that the order depends on the article’s purpose and readership.

  • Essays on Philosophy

A philosophical essay employs a logical argument to support or defend a stance. The objective of a philosophical essay is to enable you to effectively express ideas to your audience using appropriate language.

The steps to creating an excellent philosophical essay are as follows.

  • Mention the claim to be shown;
  • Support or offer an argument for the claim;
  • Justify why the argument is acceptable;
  • Demonstrate that the propositions are true;
  • Consider and respond to criticism of your claim; and
  • Summarize the evidence presented.

It is crucial to remember that the topic you choose will determine the quality of your philosophical essay. Consequently, ensure that the topic you select is both engaging and capable of withstanding a complete academic investigation.

What Is A Research Paper Exactly?

The research paper is described as an original piece of writing that contains the study’s findings. “Research” refers to the continual investigation of various methods to justify the central purpose statement or issue under consideration. There are typically two types of research papers: quantitative and qualitative.

For cognitively bright children, the word “research paper” elicits a flutter of excitement. This is not always the case, though. In reality, it is best to think of a research paper as an enlarged essay. In general, the framework of both types of writing is similar; however, you may be required to include a thesis question (which is not typically required for other essay types), conduct extensive research, and provide evidence to support your beliefs. It is possible that you may be expected to incorporate a number of trustworthy sources into your work, which will be listed as references. And, perhaps most importantly, focusing on the informative article will be more enjoyable if you choose a topic that you are interested in researching.

Students are encouraged to do research, but their conclusions must be supported by trustworthy sources. The normal length for a research paper is between 5 and 15 pages. After obtaining all necessary material from several sources, the student’s work will be organized into a framework for their consideration. Teachers regularly set these tasks for pupils in order to teach them how to balance their writing abilities and to encourage structural uniformity and the use of the standard format.

In addition, research papers are frequently used to gain authentic information on a particular topic, after which the student collects evidence during the exploratory phase and summarizes the results by providing a basic analysis or disposition. It is advisable that you seek free research paper samples before writing your own, as this will help you grasp the whole concept.

APA, Chicago, and MLA, to name a few, are citation formats frequently used in research articles. The text has a consistent emphasis and considerable study, and it provides precise information and an understanding of the subject while separating opinions from facts. The paper’s results and conclusions are also effective. Among other names, a research paper is sometimes known as a research project and a term paper.

Types of Research Papers

As a student, it is crucial to comprehend the many types of research papers, as each requires a unique writing strategy. The kind of articles that follow is indicated.

  • Research Analysis

In an analytical research report, you compile information from the findings of other researchers to draw a conclusion on a certain topic. In this essay, it is preferable to maintain objectivity and avoid expressing positive or negative opinions.

  • Research Paper With An Argument

In a single text, an argumentative research paper discusses two disputed topics. It is vital to remember that while writing these essays, you should provide information from several scholars to support either side of the topic, but you should favor one side over the other as you attempt to persuade the reader to your position. In addition, this type of research paper has more than one hundred great argumentative topics.

  • Descriptive Research Paper

A descriptive research paper delivers information without the author’s personal opinion. It is essential to use a range of sources without evaluating the content when writing this piece.

  • Survey Study Research Paper

A survey involves collecting data from respondents, analyzing the data, and producing a report with the findings.

  • Experimental Research Paper

In an experimental research paper, you discuss the procedures used in the experiment, evaluate the outcomes, and then write the report.

Comparisons of an Essay and a Research Paper

The main difference between a research paper and an essay is that research papers are often lengthier than essays, which are typically four to five paragraphs long. A research paper is a longer piece of writing than one page. In contrast to research papers, which usually involve an argument for or study of a topic, essays provide responses to questions.

  • ?Sources

Research papers use information from various sources to support their points, whereas essays depend mostly on the author’s own opinions and experiences.

  • ?Purpose

The purpose of creating a research paper is to conduct and publish a report that contains the author’s unique and exhaustive study on a particular topic. Essays are written with a specific purpose in mind: to analyze previously published content on a specified topic. When writing essays, one may express one’s own opinions on a certain topic.

  • ?Research

A research report reveals the author’s in-depth investigation of a certain issue. This is considered “primary literature” in academic circles. There is no original research included in essays, only already published content. The term for this kind of literature is secondary literature.

  • Data Collection

After the creation of research questions, the acquisition of raw data, and the preparation of research papers, researchers perform studies. The author chooses a topic and provides a summary of previously published material as well as his or her own viewpoint on the subject.

  • ? ?Content

The content of the research paper is based on the analysis and application of past research. The substance of the articles provides an overview and foundational knowledge of the subject.

A research paper describes each part of the investigation, including the hypothesis, literature evaluation, methods, and findings. On a certain topic, essays summarize existing research and perspectives.

  • ? ? ?Word Count

The word count of a research paper may range between 3000 and 12000. The average length of an essay, on the other hand, is between 3000 and 5000 words.


Due to their similarities, an essay and a research report are difficult to differentiate. In order to prevent confusion when writing, it is crucial for students to comprehend these distinctions. Numerous research papers are around eight pages long, and they are often longer than essays. The length of a research paper makes its composition more challenging than that of an essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How different are essays and research papers?

An extended essay in which you offer your own analysis, viewpoint, or argument is called a research paper. Writing an essay requires using all you know and have thought about the subject.

  • What are the similarities between an essay and a research report?

There is a lot of overlap between the essay structure and the research paper format. Each has an introductory and concluding paragraph. Each written assignment features a clear thesis statement or research subject at the outset, often toward the end of the introductory paragraph.

  • To what end does one typically write such a paper?

A research paper’s goal is not only to educate the reader on what others have said about a topic; rather, it is to intelligently give a separate position on the situation at hand by drawing on and engaging the sources. There are two primary types of research papers used for this purpose.