Although research paper assignments may vary widely, there are essentially two basic types of research papers. These are argumentative and analytical.
In an argumentative research paper, a student both states the topic they will be exploring and immediately establishes the position they will argue regarding that topic in a thesis statement. This type of paper hopes to persuade its reader to adopt the view presented.
Example: a paper that argues the merits of early exposure to reading for children would be an argumentative essay.
An analytical research paper states the topic that the writer will be exploring, usually in the form of a question, initially taking a neutral stance. The body of the paper will present multifaceted information and, ultimately, the writer will state their conclusion, based on the information that has unfolded throughout the course of the essay. This type of paper hopes to offer a well-supported critical analysis without necessarily persuading the reader to any particular way of thinking.
Example: a paper that explores the use of metaphor in one of Shakespeare's sonnets would be an example of an analytical essay.
*Please note that this LibGuide will primarily be concerning itself with argumentative, or rhetorical style, research papers.