Essay vs Research Paper

By: Anusha Srivastava

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Essay is an analytical, interpretative, or critical literary composition. The vision of an essay is often limited and is a usually a personal point of view, exploring only one dimension and perspective. 

A research paper on the other hand, is an explanation od what an individual has grasped and learnt after referring various books, sources, articles, interviews, personal experiments and knowledge. Every research paper is an essay, but not every essay is a research paper.

The main criteria of differentiation is where an essay reflects an individual’s writing capabilities and give words to their emotions and opinions, an analytical research paper is a congregation of information from various sources and it requires deep knowledge, information and understanding about a certain topic or subject. Where the former specifically deals with visions and perspectives the latter requires strictly adhering to facts. It has a strict non-negotiable structure or format and is succeeded by and annihilated by a proper conclusion.

There is also a huge variation in their formats. An essay requires maximum five to six paragraphs to suffice its purpose, however, a document based on research needs at least eight to ten pages to yeild the required result. Typically, the former part has only three parts, introduction, three body paragraphs and conclusion. On the other hand, the latter has bigger structure including a title page, an abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, acknowledgements and references. 

While voicing one’s opinions and sharing different perspectives using words as a medium, a person is never tied to stick to a particular methodology and is given the freedom to play with interpretations, structure and perceptions in some cases. It may not include a comprehensive understanding or an in-depth research about something. However, the very purpose of a research paper is to furnish a reader with required information, data, structure and facts. The various flavours concerning this are comparing and contrasting on a subject-based matter. An essay on the other side can be subjective, narrative, descriptive, argumentative, comparative, philosophical etc.

After completion of a research paper, the writer is supposed to make a compilation and evaluation of the entire information. Following this, reconstruction of the same is required and along with including citations from various already done research and breaking up the analysis. The writer may or may not give a personal perspective regarding in the end. In a composition, the writers are merely supposed to tell their thoughts on a certain topic which hold the objective of doing the writing. Overall, the writing must be coherent, well-organized and may or may not be supported by examples.

Essay writers are given the luxury to mould their content in a fashion they want it to be in. This is because it can take any shape, it can be a story, or investigation or exposition, descriptive or persuasive. In the bigger picture, it allows much more freedom and creativity. Formal papers and reports is an inflated form of the same requires addition of credible resources in the paper and abstaining from a personal point of view. The research papers are of two types of research papers, analytical and argumentative.

The purpose of research and formal papers is to investigate and write a detailed type of report done by some other authors and scientists on a same or similar topic. It reflects actual work done by an individual on a specific topic by gathering raw data and conducting experiments. It is a component of Primary literature. Essay writing at the same time registers itself as Secondary literature as it is only a summary of already done work.

There is a huge difference between the contents of the two writings. A research paper is a sacrosanct and non-negotiable piece od writing written on the basis of analysis and conduction of research done. Each step of it including hypothesis, literature review, methodology and conclusions holds a lot of importance. Essays describe overall studies and point of views on a particular topic.

Researches are a very integral part of success and progress of the society. Publishing research papers allows the world to know the on-going work and helps others working in the same field. Like life, all the subjects concerning it are related and conclusions derived by an experiment and might help the others and play a part in initiating a potential revolutionary discovery.

For example- Hugo De Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak rediscovered Mendel’s research papers and complemented them by their works which initiated a revolution in treating diseases and preventing them.  Writings like articles, essays and dissertations call out the loopholes and shortcomings in a society and concentrate upon the role of the basic and sophisticated things. These practices help a human stay true to his roots and remain grateful. They also keep the world moving in the right and forward direction. The existence of both is very necessary for the development, progress and betterment of society. 

By: Anusha Srivastava

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