Difference Between a Term Paper and a Research Paper

By: | Updated: Aug-23, 2023
The contents of the Difference.guru website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website!

As a college student, you are largely conversant with writing a research paper. It is a prerequisite requirement most instructors enforce on their students. But what about its less-known relative, the term paper?

A common cause of concern most scholars experience is differentiating the two. An outside look might give an impression of two closely related terms aimed at using research to produce findings.

However, these two assignments are largely unrelated to the pre-writing, writing, and presentation phases. Still skeptical about which to write following your instructors’ details?

This post explores intricacies that relate to and differentiate these two terms. Learn the basic guideline for writing each paper while presenting a high-quality, cohesive, and coherent document for grading.

Difference Between a Term Paper and a Research Paper

What Is a Term Paper?

It is a typical task assigned at the initial stages of the semester. Students write their findings about a topic throughout their course materials and present a finished document.

The essence of these assignments is testing the student’s comprehension of course content. Moreover, it assesses the student’s writing skills, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving related to the course content.

Moreover, depending on the instructor’s instructions, it can come in different forms. For example, your instructor might decide whether it’s peer-reviewed, a report, or an essay.

Types of Term Papers

Term papers come in different forms. Moreover, there isn’t a specific format for writing a term paper. It all depends on the instructor’s information. Some term papers vary in word count, formatting guidelines, citation style, topic, or length. Here is an overview of some common term papers by EssayWriter:

  • Argumentative

This assignment tests the student’s ability to formulate an argument on a specific topic while backed with evidence derived from research and critical thinking. The main intent of these tasks is to convince your readers of your viewpoint while stating a clear thesis statement supported with relevant information.

  • Definition

The writer offers a detailed and comprehensive explanation of a specific concept, terminology, or idea. The essence of this paper is exploring and clarifying the meaning, impact, and significance of the chosen related field of study.

  • Analytical

These analytical tasks refer to assignments that involve thorough examination, evaluation, and interpretation of a specific topic or subject matter. The essence of this analysis is breaking down topics into individualized parts while drawing meaningful conclusions based on the analysis.

  • Compare and contrast

A compare and contrast term paper analyzes the close relationship between two subject matters, ideas, concepts, or texts. The writer engages their audience in exploring relationships between subjects under comparison to come to meaningful conclusions. The end goal is to draw a connection between the stated variables.

Term Paper Outline

An outline forms the backbone of your academic assignment. Here is a simple guide to writing a stellar outline to keep your assignment complete and coherent:

  • Cover page – State your name, institution, field, course name, unit number, instructor’s name, and date.
  • Abstract – Provide a synopsis of what readers should expect from your term paper. Keep it short and interesting.
  • Introduction – Clearly state your thesis statement while explaining how you plan to cover it.
  • Body – Divide your research into different parts with careful analysis of each aspect with diverse standpoints.
  • Results – Reveal your findings from in-depth research to back your main arguments within the paper.
  • Discussion – Summarize the entirety of your paper while restating your thesis statement

What Is a Research Paper?

It is a comprehensive and formal academic assignment that showcases results from original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific subject related to a study field. It is a scholarly work that contributes to knowledge in a particular field.

Through in-depth research, writers can present new insights that add valuable information to the existing database under study.

Moreover, it assesses the scholar’s writing skills and ability to use research to execute a coherent, format, and naturally flowing task.

Breakdown of Different Types

Fields of study determine the nature of the research paper. Here is a look at some common types used in colleges:

  • Argumentative

The research presents an argument while backing their standpoints with research. The argument must be unique, original, and don’t exist in the current database. The main essence is convincing your audience with evidence, counterarguments, and presentation of evidence.

  • Analytical

A writer analyzes a subject or topic by breaking it into components while examining the existing relationship. The main ideology behind this assignment is assessing the ‘how’ and ‘why.’

  • Comparative

A writer compares two subjects, concepts, ideas, or terminologies. The goal is to establish the key similarities and differences while drawing logical conclusions from the analysis.

  • Descriptive

These assignments provide a detailed description of a specific experimental study researched by a specific author. The research analyses the process, including the research methods, design, data analysis, and methodology.

Research Paper Outline

Different research manuscripts call for different outlines. Here is a look at the most basic template:

  • Title page – Contains important user details such as name, institution, course name, course unit, teacher’s name, and date.
  • Abstract- It is a summary of the entire research paper’s work. It gives an overview for readers.
  • Introduction – Contains attention-grabbing information and thesis statement to entice readers to continue reading.
  • Literature review – Offers an overview of existing research about the topic while handling theories, concepts, and findings from previous research.
  • Methodology – Contains the entire research design and approach. The writer reveals their data collection methods and analysis techniques.
  • Findings – The writer presents results based on their research methodology. It contains categorized sections that answer the research questions.
  • Discussion – Contains in-depth analysis and interpretation based on the research findings. Moreover, it compares results with current knowledge and discusses its relevance in the course material.
  • Conclusion – Offers a summarized version of the research findings while restating the thesis statement.
  • References – Lists all sources included that resulted in the finds.

Bottom Line

Despite close relations, these assignments are two distinct terminologies in the academic scene. Each bears significant importance in adding new information to existing knowledge.

(Visited 93 times, 1 visits today)
Did this article help you?
Thank you!
Thank you!
What was wrong?