Difference Between Research Paper and Essay

June 12, 2023

The purpose of this guide is to help you understand the difference between essay and research paper writing tasks as you encounter them. We shall study the features, see relevant academic definitions, and analyze the key elements that help set them apart. Learning about the differences and similarities, we shall identify the elements required for an essay or research paper. If you require academic writing help and the finest customer service, then the best writing service is a great option for you.

What is an Essay?

When you are a high school learner or a college student, the chances are high that you will encounter both essay writing and conducting your first research paper. That’s when you start to think about who can help me write my college essay. The majority of essays that students encounter often have a creative element to them and require the presence of good writing skills. It’s a reason why these are often seen as an easier task since research papers require a synthesis of available information and, as the title implies, researching.

Starting with the small essays that you encounter in school to persuasive college writing to help your readers choose a certain point, an essay can be defined as a piece of academic writing where the writer’s opinion is presented with the use of at least three pieces of evidence to support these thoughts. They are not as complex as research writing and are usually only up to five paragraphs in length.

Speaking of the key research paper vs essay elements that help to set an essay apart from other types of writing, these are the rules to remember:

  • An essay is usually a piece of writing that is up to 1,000 words or shorter. 
  • Writing an essay usually relates to a particular subject or so-called ‘essay prompt’. 
  • In certain cases, essays are written as a response to a proposition or a question set by the college professor. 
  • Essays are not complex in terms of headings and sub-headings, which are typical for research papers. 
  • Essays, however, do require the use of quotes and references for anything that is not your personal opinion. 
  • The use of a subjective tone is often met for this type of writing. 
  • The purpose is to analyze and criticize the given topic. 
  • The use of photographs and multimedia elements is not that frequent in essay writing.

In most cases, an essay’s structure will contain an introduction with a thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion part where an author has a right to write one’s thoughts down as a reflection, analysis, or a part of the creative writing task. Unlike a typical research paper where a methodology and samples data must be used, essays do not require these elements. At the same time, writing such a type of paper has its own specifics, and using essay editing services can be your advantage.

What is a Research Paper?

Although it is technically an essay, it has a different purpose and structure when compared to classic essay writing. It’s necessary to include information and synthesis based on specific data by turning to external sources that may include books on the topic, scientific articles, interviews, web sources, and first-hand surveys. Exploring the difference between research paper and essay, remember that the main purpose here is to bring a selection of the different academic views on a subject by turning to facts and concepts as you also interpret information to create an accessible, readable framework.

The research paper should always contain the following elements that are not typical for general essay writing:

  • Every research paper contains a methodology, which can be either qualitative or quantitative. In certain cases, it can be a mixture of both, depending on your subject. 
  • There is a conceptual framework with the implementation of a school of thought, theoretical, or model-based writing. 
  • An introduction part will implement at least one research question. 
  • A literature review must be included to explain what kind of information you have used. 
  • Your methods and objectives must be set clear. 
  • It’s necessary to include the results of your findings by talking about what aspects have been achieved and what has proved helpful for your take on things. 
  • The conclusion part also contains the author’s discussion of the outcomes and a list of possible recommendations. 
  • Unlike an essay, research papers talk about limitations that have been encountered during the process of writing and researching. 
  • Research papers set the problem and provide certain solutions or assumptions that may be helpful as you address a particular issue or an event. 
  • The presence of good sources is essential for a successful outcome of any academic research.

In addition, research papers also use references, endnotes and footnotes, appendices for those large chunks of information, acknowledgments, and the author’s short biography paragraph for some Master’s or Ph.D. works. As a rule, such research papers are quite lengthy and can take up to fifty pages or even more. Since almost every research paper these days is composed independently, it usually sounds challenging for college students when it only requires a different approach and more time to get things done right. 

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