In a paper that explores and evaluates, you may present a specific analysis of a literary text, you may examine how a historical figure came to his or her beliefs, or you may analyze how changes in a particular animal’s habitat have affected its breeding patterns.
Your purpose isn’t to rebut another critic’s reading of that text, challenge another writer’s analysis of that historical figure’s growth, or disprove another experimenter’s theorem. Instead, your focus is on researching and presenting your own analysis of a set of materials or experiments.
Examples of Analytical Questions
In what way is Coleridge’s poem, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” an extended metaphor of colonial exploration?
Why was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stance against the Vietnam War late in his life so controversial in the civil rights movement?
What methods are available to governments and zoos to ensure the preservation of endangered tigers?
An argumentative paper takes a position on a debatable question. Here, you review the various arguments surrounding that question and present material arguing for a particular answer.
A good argument paper not only fairly and clearly presents the views of those with whom you disagree, but also points out where and how you believe those arguments are flawed.
In this paper, you need to show why your argument presents a stronger response to the question than the responses of others who might disagree with your position.
Examples of Argumentative Questions
Should employers be allowed to monitor the content of their employees’ email and internet browsing?
Should the U.S. government subsidize the development of ethanol-based biofuels?
Distinguishing the Differences between different Types of Research Papers
There are several different ways to approach a research paper. Sometimes an instructor will specify what type of research paper they expect to receive, but occasionally the writer will be given the liberty to choose a format on their own. The chosen format will set the tone for the entire paper, so choosing the format that best suits the information or end goal will be significantly helpful to time management and overall success of the assignment. Writers who familiarize themselves with the following options will have the advantage of choosing the best way to present their information.
Argumentative-This is a good structure for writers presenting a debated topic. First, explain the two popular, but opposite, opinions on the issue. Then, use the research to persuade the reader to one side of the issue. The idea is to draw the reader in favor of the writer’s opinion emotionally, while also presenting facts and data that support this viewpoint and argue against contradictions.
Compare and Contrast-This type of paper is used to compare two different subjects and how they relate to one another in both similarities and differences. This is often a format chosen in English courses to compare two or more literary pieces. The goal is not to persuade the reader, but to enlighten them toward the philosophical distinctions between varying viewpoints of related topics or genres.
Cause and Effect-These papers guide the reader through a series of “chain of event” scenarios. Data will be provided to increase the validity of the statement that choosing A will cause B and so forth. It is important to remember that cause and effect papers are not written based on opinion, but on quantifiable evidence with supporting documentation. If supporting evidence can be found, this format can be both informational and intriguing for the reader.
Analytical-The goal of this paper is to present a variety of view-points on a subject without forming an opinion. The writer is simply providing the reader with as much information as possible, but allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. Present each view equally and with supplemental documentation to support each claim. End your paper with a summary of the facts and leave out any influential statements.
Report-Report papers are merely an organized and detailed list of facts about a topic. Choose a subject, research it, and convey the evidence to the reader using quotes, graphs, interviews, and experiments. Again, the goal is not to persuade, but to give as much detail on a subject as possible.
The length of the project will be determined by the instructor, but when given the freedom to choose a format, writers have the luxury of being more creative with their project. Consider the topic carefully, and choose the structure that best accomplishes writer’s main goal.