The Core Differences Between a Research Paper and College Essay


Writing assignments are unavoidable when you are in high school, college, or university. Unfortunately, not every student is lucky to be born a great writer. Those skills and knowledge take time to be developed and applied appropriately.

Many students find it a challenge to write a simple essay, not to mention even more complicated assignments. A good research paper writer should possess a bit more qualities and skills since there are some differences between these two types of work. If you would like to find out more about them, check the information below. It will be very helpful for every student.

Whether you would like to know more about how to write essays or just want to learn the main difference between essay and other writing tasks, the tips below will reveal this.

What an essay is


An essay is a writing assignment common for students of all academic levels. It allows teachers to see the level of students’ writing, analytical, and even reading skills. Students should also show their persuasive skills.

A standard essay consists of five paragraphs. It can be written in many forms, such as narrative, descriptive, argumentative, persuasive, etc. It is a less formal type of writing.

What a research paper is

A research paper requires researching in several directions and proving the core question or statement. Your finished task must be plagiarism-free. There exist two types of research papers, i.e. qualitative and quantitative ones.

When students say “I need to write my research paper”, they are often desperate because just the word “research” makes them tremble. However, you should take this task like a more complicated form of an essay. Of course, if you normally search to write my essay online when being assigned one, you need some help with both types of writing.

Basically, both tasks have the same ideas and principles. To explain it in short, a research paper requires more in-depth scrutiny to support your ideas than a usual essay. You also need a list of references — the sources used in the process of study.

Students should support their findings with facts. Where to take those facts? Of course, from those credible sources, you refer to. Normally, if you use a “write my research paper for me cheap” service, you will receive a well-written piece of assignment between five to fifteen pages. You should do the same — craft a paper up to fifteen pages long.

These written works have a specific structure and format. As a rule, you should collect the information on the required topic and investigate it. Provide your analysis in your piece of writing. The citations should be written in APA, MLA, or Chicago styles depending on the guidelines of your tutor. A research paper can also be referred to as a term paper.

It depends but sometimes, teachers ask to write either an argumentative or analytical research paper. You should show your deep understanding of the topic and provide a detailed analysis of different studies related to it.

Research paper vs essay


Now, if you still did not understand how different these two papers are, let us see the main differences between them.


This work is typically longer than a basic essay. An essay includes four to five paragraphs which are only one to two pages long. A research paper includes more pages — from five to fifteen.



The purpose of an essay is to answer the questions while that of a research paper is to provide an argument for analysis.


In this study, everything is based on the knowledge and experience of other people while in an essay, it is based on your own thoughts and experiences.

Primary literature vs secondary literature


When you ask how to write a research paper, you should know that the writer conducts his or her genuine research on the topic. If you ask how to write an essay, then it will just include a number of already written articles and sources without any genuine research.

The process

While creating this assignment, the writer set the research question, collects raw data, and conducts his analysis. In an essay, an author chooses a specific topic and summarizes all research done on this topic, and discusses different viewpoints.



In a research paper, you write the substance using an analysis of the research you’ve done. In an essay, you show a basic understanding of the topic through an overview.


A research paper includes a literature review, hypothesis, conclusions, and methodology. An essay contains only general studies and viewpoints on a particular topic.

Word count


Not only the length is different but obviously, the word count is. This assignment contains from 3000 to 12 000 words while an essay varies between 3000 to 5000.


Although everything seems quite complicated, it, actually, is not. If you don’t even know how to finish an essay, you may struggle with writing your research paper, of course. However, these basic differences should not scare you. These assignments also have a lot in common.

If you keep struggling, you can always apply to a site that writes essays and get proficient help with any kind of writing. It would still be great to master at least basic skills and try to craft a paper on your own.