Essays and research papers are two distinct types of writing. Essays are shorter, less involved pieces. Research papers are longer, detailed works that require the writer to read the writings of other academics on the subject.
There are four widely-recognized types of essays:
-Expository essay: exposes facts
-Descriptive essay: describes a situation or idea
-Narrative essay: narrates a story
-Argumentative essay: argues with intent to persuade
Each of these types of essays serves a distinct purpose. Sometimes an essay will combine two or more of these elements. Example: You write an argumentative essay that draws on facts regarding the subject. The persuasive and expository elements are combined to achieve your goal. Combining some traits may be counterproductive though. Example: You use a “narrative” story to make a point in your argumentative essay. This may distract or confuse your audience and hinder your desired goal.
There are eight widely-recognized types of research papers:
-Analytical paper: contains various sources that analyze different points of view
-Argumentative papers: conveys the writers personal view of a generally controversial issue
-Case studies: offers an in-depth study of a particular situation, or case
-Cause and effect paper: often used in business or education, deals with the probable and the result
-Compare and contrast paper: discusses the pros and cons of two pieces of work
-Reports: regarded as highly professional; includes project, annual, quarterly, and focus group reports
-Subject-based papers: commonly written by students, these papers usually regard a given topic
-Survey research: researchers convey results from polls and surveys
This should serve as a good place to begin growing your knowledge of the types of essay and papers in the world of academia.