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Essay vs. Research Paper

As a student, I used to found it difficult to distinguish an essay from a research paper. For me, they were almost the same. At least I wrote them in the same way. Now, that I’ve started to work as a writer for an online writing service, I understood that it was my duty to learn about the features of these two academic papers in order to be able to write them properly. I did some searching and created my own list of differences that are important to remember in the process of writing. So, if you are about to start writing either an essay or research paper, you can definitely use the information I’m going to share below.

An essay is a paper that represents author’s point of view and evidence he provides to support it. A research paper is very similar, but has much more to do with science. It requires the author to look for the background of the problem, analyze previous studies and make an independent investigation.

An essay can also present research data, but the form of presentation is totally different from the one used in the research paper. The last one usually is built on analysis or argument. So, as a researcher you have two options: to analyze or, in other words, divide the object of your investigation into simpler parts to get better understanding of it, or to argue with the main statement of the paper and provide evidence it is wrong.

The structure of an essay and a research paper are relatively similar, but the paper has a little bit more subdivisions. An essay consists of an introduction, body and conclusion, and the research paper can be divided into abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusion and reference list.

A typical essay usually has  no references, but you can hardly imagine any research paper without them. It is because when you prove your point in an essay you use rather general information. In case you are writing about research, you always have to mention scientists’ works similar to yours, give terms from dictionaries and use other various sources that need to be mentioned in references.

Another difference between an essay and a research paper is the size of the work. An essay can be even one-page size, for example, an admission essay, but you can hardly put all your research data into less than ten pages.

These are the main differences between an essay and a research paper. I hope now you know the characteristics of both paper types and will be able to write them perfectly.