Research Paper Vs. Research Report - Key Differences

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Sometimes, an essay writer may be required to write a research report while at others, your professor may need you to write a research paper. Academics can leave you feeling dazed and dizzy from the many terms that either sound the same or mean the same thing. When it comes to a research paper and research report, the differences may get a little complicated.

One thing must be gotten out of the way. Both a research paper and report have more or less the same format and structure, i.e. an introduction, literature review followed by discussion and conclusion.

The Tricky Part…

When it comes to methods and results, the matter may become trickier. Remember, these are murky waters. Both the terms are interchangeable and often, can be used synonymously. That being said, there are some key differences that can make them both seem more understandable.


When you are writing a research report, you are reporting research that has been conducted. Most often, reports belong to the field of sciences and social sciences when certain studies and experiments are conducted. These studies and experiments need to be described in detail so that other scholars can access them and make the best use of them for all that they have to offer for future research endeavors. If you need help, ask others to write my essay.

Reports are either based on qualitative or quantitative research. It includes an extensive methodology section that expounds on the steps that had been taken to make the research process, extraction, and extrapolation of results possible.

A research report does not have a thesis. It states a research question/problem and explores this problem in detail in the light of data gathered through the current study in relation to information gained from the already published research. Reports are highly objective.


Research papers are more subjective in nature as they present their analysis. A writer writing a paper has the task to analyze some subject matter and come up with creative and unique ideas regarding it. These papers have a thesis statement that becomes the central point that the discussion leads to.

Research papers are most often used in humanities and can be expository, argumentative, or definitive in nature. The goal is to convince the reader of the main thesis and its validity by citing from various texts and research (including the primary text). The essay is based around one primary source while the discussion is complemented by using secondary sources.

The Main Point…

A research report is neutral while a paper is more intimately connected to the writers themselves, offering their personal viewpoints and ideas.

Research reports aim at describing research whereas a research paper offers an in-depth analysis. Whether you write one or the other depends upon the topic that has been assigned to you, the field that it belongs to, and the purpose of the writing itself.

They May Just Be the Same…

That being said, as mentioned before, often the two terms are used interchangeably. Don’t be confused when your professor asks you to write a paper on the research that you conducted as a project or if you are asked to develop a report on a certain book. The structure will be determined by the subject matter itself. If the subject matter is based on analysis, write like you are writing a paper and if it is based on a scientific study, then you have to follow the pattern of a report.

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