Differences Between an Essay and a Research Paper

Differences Between an Essay and a Research paper

Whether you are a university or a high school student, it is vital to note that academic writing encompasses the crafting of essays and research papers. Knowing how to compose these pieces is a prerequisite for your educational excellence. Unfortunately, an essay and a research paper have many similarities, and the majority of the learners don’t understand the differences between the two; hence they end up composing a research paper instead of an essay, and vice versa.

It is crucial to bear in mind that an essay and a research paper have some standard features, such as a unique outline, need for in-depth research, writing skills, specific length, need for citations, and to know how to write a bibliography.

In this guide, you will get adequate insights about an essay and a research paper, and also, I’ll take you through the distinctions between them. Let us go!

Differences Between an Essay and a Research paper
Differences Between an Essay and a Research paper

What is an essay?

An essay is a type of academic paper that is usually shorter in length with less than five paragraphs. Unlike other writings, crafting an essay requires a lot of creativity and excellent writing skills. It is vital to note that a high-quality paper must be crafted logically and supported by verifiable evidence.

An essay is usually crafted based on the position you take concerning a particular topic. The opinion you choose depends on how you comprehend and use external sources. The number of citations you use in your essay is determined by the length of the paper. For instance, most instructors require that students use at least five sources for a 500 words essay.

Essay writing is one of the most common tasks students encounter from high schools to colleges. It is essential to bear in mind that essays are usually short pieces (less than 1,000 words), and their primary purpose is to allow teachers to make careful evaluations of students in terms of writing, reading, persuasion, and analytical skills.


Types of Essays

There are different types of essays, as explained below.

  • Academic essays

Academic essays are usually crafted at college or university levels. You need to bear in mind that these types of papers are written based on the content covered in your coursework and other sources. Also, these articles are longer with a length of between 3000-5000. Most importantly, these papers are intended to gauge the intelligence of students.

Learn More About Academic Essays Online Help

  • Descriptive essays

Descriptive essays are meant to explain the characteristics of a particular issue or subject so as to create an impact on the reader’s senses. If you want to craft an excellent descriptive essay, you must use appropriate tools, such as adjectives, similes, metaphors, etc.

  • Narrative essays

A narrative essay is a real or an imaginary story that you intend to tell your audience about your life experience. Usually, narrative essays are crafted in the first-person’s voice to enable the readers to have a better understanding of your experience.

Narrative essays are crafted from the writer’s viewpoint, and they are meant to involve the audience in the sequence of the story. To make the story interesting, you must use appropriate writing techniques, such as character development, setting, climax, and conclusion.

Read more about some Techniques on Narrative Essay Writing.

  • Comparison essays

A comparison essay is meant to analyze and contrast two subjects to point out their similarities and differences. It is crucial to bear in mind that a comparison essay is interesting when you compare two different items, e.g., apples and mangoes.

The introductory paragraph of a comparison essay has a thesis statement that highlights the two subjects to be contrasted. For instance, ‘although organic bananas may cost more than those that are naturally grown, they are worth the price.’ Note that the thesis highlights the two aspects to be compared and makes an argument about the results that might be significant to the audience.

Comparison essays can either be organized based on the subjects or individual points. Note that the way you arrange them depends on the purpose of the paper and the audience.

Read Out Our Guideline On How to Write a Comparison Essay 

  • Philosophical essays

A philosophical essay is intended to prove or support a claim through sound argument. The essence of a philosophical essay is to allow you to convey ideas to your audience using appropriate language.

The following are the steps to follow in coming up with an excellent philosophical essay.

  • Mention the claim to be proved
  • Support or give an argument for the claim
  • Justify that the argument is valid
  • Show that the propositions are true
  • Consider an objection to your claim and respond to it
  • Summarize the information that has been proven

Visit here for Our Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Philosophical Essay

It is essential to note that writing a high-quality philosophical essay depends on the topic you choose. Therefore, ensure that the subject you select is not only entertaining, but it can also endure a thorough academic investigation.

The Main Goal of Writing an Essay

Writing an essay has got a lot of roles to play to your readers. The following is a highlight of the primary objectives of essays.

  • To inform your readers

Writing an informative essay requires the use of accurate and verifiable information. If you want to inform your audience adequately, you must provide in-depth information concerning a particular aspect.

  • To persuade your audience

Persuasive essays are intended to make the readers take action about something. Therefore, to achieve this goal, you must support your argument with verifiable facts to convince the readers to believe your proposition.

  • Explanatory

One of the primary goals of an essay is to explain a particular topic/subject to your readers. If you want to make your audience understand the subject you are writing about, you have to give a vivid explanation regarding the topic and how you craft the body paragraphs are.

  • Entertainment

If you want to involve and attract the attention of your readers throughout the process, you must write to entertain the audience through humor, jokes, and any other funny statement.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is an academic piece that is crafted to express views about a particular topic while using supportive sources, such as journal articles and books. These articles are usually longer than essays, approximately eight pages. To compose a high-quality document, you must understand the topic, and do thorough research about it.

A research paper’s structure comprises the title, an abstract, an introduction, objectives of the study, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. The following is a highlight of these components.

  • The title

The title is a crucial part of your research paper, and it should be clear to inform the readers about the content of your document. Ensure that the title you come up with captures both the variables, the context of the study, and the unit of analysis.

  • Abstract

An abstract is a summary of your research document. The length of an abstract is usually short (not more than one page). Most journals require that you include keywords in your abstract to facilitate a quick search of your paper online.

  • Introduction

Writing a research paper can be difficult if you don’t know how to craft an excellent introduction. The first line of the opening should have a quote or an interesting general statement regarding the topic. After that, you should state the purpose of your paper, include some literature reviews, and end with a problem statement.

  • Materials and Methods

It is crucial to state the methods/materials you use so that other researchers may repeat the research to ascertain its credibility. Under this section, you are supposed to indicate the research design, data collection methods, and data analysis.

  • Results and discussion

In this section, indicate the results as generated from your data analysis. After that, you can discuss the findings by comparing the outcome with other researchers.

  • Conclusion and recommendation

A conclusion is a summary of the main findings. Therefore, to conclude, give a brief highlight of the results based on the variables under study.

Find Our More About how to write a conclusion for an essay

Types of Research Papers

As a student, it is vital to know the different types of research papers since each piece requires a unique approach when crafting it. The following is a highlight of the types of articles.

  • Analytical research paper

With an analytical research paper, you collect information from other researchers’ findings to conclude on a particular topic. With this article, it is advisable to remain neutral and avoid expressing any negative or positive views about the subject.

  • Argumentative research paper

An argumentative research paper involves two controversial issues that are dealt with in a document. Note that when crafting these pieces, you should cite information from different researchers to support either side of the problem, but favor one party more than the other as you persuade the reader to your side. As an extra tip, make sure you check out more than 100 outstanding argumentative essay topics here.

  • Definition paper

A definition paper describes facts without using the writer’s personal opinion. It is vital to use different sources to craft this piece without analyzing the content.

  • Survey research paper

A survey entails the collection of data from respondents, analysis of the information, and presentation of the findings in a report.

  • Experimental research paper

With an experimental research paper, you describe the procedures used in your experiment, analyze data, and then write the report.

Why Writing a Research Paper?

Writing a research paper is crucial because of the following reasons.

  • To acquire knowledge through learning

Through research, one can get new insights regarding a particular aspect. It is vital to note that an individual becomes more knowledgeable after research.

  • An avenue of enhancing public awareness

A research paper conveys new findings regarding a particular aspect. For instance, if the purpose of the research was to find the cure for COVID-19, the outcome of the study is captured in the article to inform the public.

  • Research can help to boost business success

The outcome of the research can benefit many enterprises a lot. For instance, if the findings of an investigation show that many people in a certain area don’t have health facilities, entrepreneurs will go and put up hospitals there.

Differences Between an Essay and a Research Paper Infographic
Differences Between an Essay and a Research Paper Infographic

Research Paper Vs Essay

The following is a highlight of the differences between a research paper and an essay. These disparities have been highlighted in terms of viewpoint, length, nature of research, and structures.

  • Viewpoint

A research paper highlights the findings of other authors, and its most crucial views are those belonging to other researchers. However, with essays, the writer’s opinion matters a lot to the subject being crafted about.

  • Length

Usually, an essay is a short paper that comprises three paragraphs. However, a research paper is a bit longer and can have around eight pages.

  • The nature of research

Researching an essay is straightforward because it entails the use of a few sources. However, writing a research paper requires rigorous investigation and the use of many sources.

  • Structure

It is vital to note that an essay’s structure comprises of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. On the contrary, a research paper’s structure has more sections, such as the title, an abstract, an introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and recommendation.

Term Paper Vs Research Paper

A term paper is a type of research article highlighting viewpoints regarding a particular topic whereby the writer brings in their ideas to make the subject interesting. It is vital to note term papers are usually eight pages, and they are longer than essays. Unlike essays, term papers require in-depth research before a paper is crafted.

Final Thoughts on the Difference Between an Essay and a Research Paper

An essay and a research paper have some similarities that make it challenging to differentiate them. As a learner, it is crucial to comprehend their differences to avoid confusion when it comes to writing.

A quite number of research papers have about eight pages, and they are usually longer than essays. Due to their greater length, writing a research article is more involving than writing an essay. If you don’t know how to craft these pieces, please contact Peachy Essay writers for help.