ESSAYS AND RESEARCH PAPERS: ARE THEY THE SAME?
Research papers and essays are assignments given to students in order to assess different writing abilities. The two types of assignments differ in several ways, but they also share many similarities. The genres mainly differ on their purpose or focus. For instance, research papers help students practice how to create and present analyses as well as arguments in a bid to demonstrate their understanding of a particular topic. On the other hand, essays help students improve their writing skills by practicing on writing descriptions and narratives. Despite their differences, the two types of assignments share some similarities.
For starters, both genres are designed to foster critical thinking in the students. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze thoroughly a subject on different levels using tools such as comparison, and reflection. Both types of assignments require the student to gather the information, process it, and draw a meaningful conclusion from the information gathered. For instance, in an essay, the student may be required to reflect upon how a specific experience brought about change in the writer. For the research paper, the student may be required to draw upon the perspectives of different authors, and present them as support for his own opinions.
Another similarity between research papers and essays is that they help students constructthe main idea or purpose of writing the paper. Both genres require the student to craft a thesis statement, although this statement is placed in different locations depending on the genre. In research papers, the thesis statement appears at the end of the first or second paragraph. When it comes to essays, the type of essay being written will determine where the statement will be placed. The main point here is that both genres require a thesis statement that acts as a guide to both the reader and the writer of what is to follow in the consecutive paragraphs.
Furthermore, both types of writing require the student to learn the skill of data gathering, as they both require source material. The source material act as support or evidence for the writer’s opinions or take on the subject matter. Sources are important in both types of writings because they help the writer enhance his credibility as an academician and excellent researcher. In addition, the sources help create a logical structure that enhances the reader’s experience.
Finally, both writing assignments help the students develop the skill of writing papers that have solid structures. Each genre requires the student to incorporate an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion in their writing. The introduction needs to be catchy in order to attract the attention of the readers and motivate them to continue reading, while the conclusion presents a concise summary of the main points discussed in the main body. The main body needs to be divided into paragraphs that are coherent, linked to another, as well as have topical sentences.
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