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The Difference between Research and Term Papers

Though some may think that research papers and term papers are the same, they are not. While the two types of papers do share many types of similarities, they can also have differences. The following information will explain compare both to give you a clear understanding of the main difference between research and term papers.

What is a term paper?

Students are required to write term papers to demonstrate that they’ve gained the required knowledge and skills in a certain subject matter. It is usually assigned to students near the end of a class, as to count toward the subject’s final grade; in fact at times it will be the only final assigned. Although the length will vary greatly, it’s common for them to be from three to five thousand words.

Moreover, term papers can come in the form of a critical essay that covers a current or popular topic. When structured like this the student must include their point of view on the subject while also demonstrating an accurate and clear understanding of the topic. The paper should also contain some arguments that are both compelling and accompanied by evidence or facts for support.

What is a research paper?

A research paper is an academic style of writing that requires the student to answer a significant, methodical, and theoretical level of questioning. So, much the same as the term paper – the student must interpret what he or she gathered from the subject matter to display a clear understanding in the form of a paper. It can be various lengths, also ranging up to five thousand words.

How do they compare?

These papers have a great deal in common – here is a list of similarities:

  • The topics can be chosen by students or instructors but this will depend on the school, subject, and professor.
  • Each type of paper requires students to use various references; the expected materials include journal articles, encyclopedias, text books, or other reputable sources.
  • Research and term papers both contain central statements and ideas that require research in order to discuss, support and defend personal viewpoints.
  • The best way to begin a term or research paper is by creating an outline of the main and supporting points.
  • How are they different?

    The fact is that while the two types of papers are called by different names they are very much the same. The only main difference is that a research paper can be assigned at any time during the course. On the other hand, a term paper is assigned at the end of a quarter or semester and generally counts toward the final grade. In addition, they will vary between schools and professors. You’ll find that some will only assign research papers in the form of term papers, while other times you’ll be expected to complete multiple research papers during a course.

    In the end, a term paper and research papers share many of the same features. Yet still this comes with certain limitations and considerations, as with most other things.

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