Research Paper vs. Review: 5 Main Differences

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Posted on January 21, 2021

research paper vs review

A variety of scholarly assignments exist, however, there are two that are commonly mistaken for each other. Research and review papers may coincide in several factors. If you need to write one of them, figure out their key differences.

What Are the Research Paper and Review Paper?

Let’s start with the research paper’s identification. A research paper is an independent student’s research on a certain subject where analysis, interpretation, and evidence are presented based on his investigation. It is the engagement with primary sources and one’s personal debate to all his research findings.

There are the following types of research papers – argumentative and analytical. Argumentative research paper stands for establishing and then arguing one point/argument. It is usually meant for persuading the reader to accept the student’s point of view. An analytical research paper stands for only exploring the topic without the necessity of persuading the reader.

A review paper is a survey of the existing findings, already-researched areas of one subject, which students refer to provide an analysis, interpretation, and evidence. To be more precise, a student avoids independent research but summarizes the known, and found knowledge of the chosen subject.

There are the following types of review papers – narrative, systematic, and meta-analysis. A narrative review paper is solely for presenting the existing information on the topic. System review is for looking for answers to existing questions regarding the topic. Finally, a meta-analysis review paper is the analysis of former answers/questions on the topic taken from secondary sources.

5 Key Differences Between Research and Review Papers

To submit the right paper, overlook these two’s key perks below. Note, depending on your educational establishment or professor’s requirements, the purposes of the two may differ.

Factor Research Paper Review Paper
Main Purpose A student conducts his own and independent research on the topic A student criticizes, summarizes or, analyses the existing research and provides his independent opinion on the findings
Basis Primary sources which students managed to study and research himself Secondary sources/There is no original research on the subject
Report All the researched steps are described including the methodology, hypothesis, abstract, conclusions Summary of similarities, and differences of the existing research as well as student’s conclusion and analysis on findings
Common Length Depending on the educational establishment or journal, it may be from 3000 to 6000 words Depending on the educational establishment or journal, it may be from 3000 to 5000
Writing process A student identifies a subject and researches it throughout without referring to existing findings A student identifies a subject and researches its existing findings by giving his interpretations/opinions on the researched

Based on the detailed research or review a student managed to submit, such works may be published in reputable journals, and have a further impact or be cited numerous times. Therefore, ensure to double-check the key requirements with your educational establishment, and if needed review the samples from the Internet to have a basic idea of how one paper should look like.

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