A guide to writing different types of academic papers

Research paper

A research paper is an expanded essay, presenting a collection of different pieces of information on a particular topic from different sources. A Research paper presents a scientific analysis of a perspective, argument, and definition of a particular point or problem. Research papers have different types which include definition, cause, and effect, interpretative, report and analytical research paper among several other. The two major types of research papers are argumentative and analytical.  However, irrespective of the type, a good research paper contains a well-developed relevant topic and a thesis statement which shows the objectives or goals of the investigation.


An essay is a short, non-fictional piece of writing, which gives the author’s personal point of view. Essays are often subjective, presenting and supporting a thesis or proposition. There are different types of essays which include argumentative, descriptive, synoptic, analytical, exploratory, review, expository and narrative among several others. However, despite their type, all essays have a common objective, which is to defend a topic or make a stance to the reader for the validity of a particular point or argument interpretation or analysis presented by the author. A good essay has a well-developed topic, extensively researched and guided by a thesis statement and outline.


Thesis and dissertations are comprehensive and extensive papers required for student in graduate schools. Although the terms are used interchangeably, thesis and dissertation, their major difference is their intended purpose, with a thesis being for a master’s degree to test the student’s understanding their field of study and dissertation for a doctorate and focuses on original research. Thesis and dissertations require a high quality of research and standards of excellence. They can be arranged as publication or monograph, with a title page, abstract, contents table, various chapters, and bibliography. However, the structure differs depending on the area of study, or the institution.


Meta-analysis is a formal, quantitative, epidemiological study designs which are used to assess previous studies. It combines the results from multiple studies on a particular topic, are significantly useful in evidence-based health care. They are classified as a top of the evidence pyramid in evidence-based healthcare when compared to other study designs such as randomized controlled trials or cohort studies, which implies they are less subject to bias. A good Meta-analysis is has a well formulated or identified research problem, extensive literature search, clearly stated objectives, an explicit or reproducible methodology, well-defined inclusion criteria and well-extracted data for outcomes of interest.

Literature review

A literature review is a scientific summary and explanation of the complete and current state knowledge on a particular topic based on book and journal articles. A literature review is mainly a part of the research process for a longer work such as a thesis, dissertation or research report. The main purpose of a literature review is to provide the reader with relevant, meaningful and summarized information on the study topic, as well as key findings, and focus area. It then identifies the gaps and inconsistencies in the current literature and provides a constructive approach for more research to fill up the gaps and inconsistencies.

Systematic reviews

Systematic reviews are research designs collecting and presenting a summary of empirical evidence fitting pre-specified eligibility criteria.  Systematic reviews are dependent on the clinical trials available provide a high level of evidence for synthesized primary results using a clearly documented methodology and search strategy. Hence, systematic reviews have a reduced bias and are used to make informed decisions on evidence-based healthcare. A good systemic review has cleared stated set of objectives, predefined criteria for eligibility of selected studies, an explicit, reproducible methodology and a systematic search which identifies relevant studies which meet the defined criteria. In addition, the validity of the findings from included studies is assessed and findings, characteristics are systematically presented and synthesized.


Paraphrasing is the use of your own words to express ideas or messages presented by someone else. It requires that the ideas and meaning of the original source to be maintained although the wording is different. Paraphrasing is an important skill, which demonstrates that the one has understood and able to convey the message and ideas from the original content. Paraphrased content should be properly referenced to avoid plagiarism, and show the source of the original idea. Most important, paraphrasing is more than a summary. It’s not just changing a few words, but putting the original idea and message into perspective and clarifying the context in which it appeared

Web content

Web content refers to textual, visual or aural content for website use. It includes a range of different types such as images, sounds, animations, and videos. Web content emerged from the development of the internet and World Wide Web, where documents were linked using hypertext. However, the concept of web content has evolved gradually as the internet technology changes, and development of search engines to include search engine optimization (SEO), keyword, and readability attributes. Currently, web content is a multi-billion industry, as the content is the most sought-after commodity on the web, a reason why people visit news sites, blogs, and millions of web pages.


An eBook is a book publication which is made available in digital form, to be accessed or read from computers or other electronic devices. E-books began trending in 2000 when the use of the internet continued to increase as a more convenient and easily accessible of print books in addition to their lower prices, flexibility and even comfort as they can be accessed from anywhere using electronic devices. Examples of E-books formats include Microsoft Lit, PDFs from Adobe systems and Palm’s Mob pocket files, which is used for Kindle formats. Originally, e-books were sold through diskette or CDs, but are currently downloadable from websites.

As a student, learning how to differentiate and write different types of academic papers is critical for a successful academic journey.

Case study

A case study is a research methodology which is mostly used in social sciences research. A case study investigates a real-life phenomenon through an empirical inquiry. These investigations are in-depth and may be based on a single individual, a company, an event, policy, institution, systems or even an underlying principle. Case studies can be either descriptive or exploratory designs. They include quantitative evidence or multiple sources of evidence. A good case study is taken from a real life, thoroughly discusses problems and identifies point for discussion in a clear way and provides sufficient information for problems and issues for the reader.


Speechwriting is a form of writing which involves preparing and writing speeches to be delivered by another person. The structure of the speech depends on a number of factors with the most important being the audience. However, all speeches should be clear, easy to pass on, powerful and memorable. In addition, it should have a catchy title, have a hook, appropriate use of quotes, short and catchy introduction to building rapport with the audience and well-written summary which sums up the contents of the speech to make it more memorable. Other essential factors in a speech include the tone of your language, the length of the sentences, well-connected transitions and choice of words which are easy to understand.

Legal research

Legal research refers to the process of finding a solution or answer to a legal problem or question. It includes checking for legal precedent which can be cited in a trial. Legal research is useful in identifying if the issue is the first impression, or if it lacks any legal precedent. It is applicable to lawsuits, appeal, criminal cases and legal processes. Sources of legal research are classified as primary and secondary.  The primary sources include statutes, court orders, regulations and court decisions have a binding effect on courts, individuals or governments. Secondary sources have no binding effect and simply aid in explaining the law and include law reports and encyclopedias.


CV and Resume are at times confused and used interchangeably. However, the major differences between the two are their length and their purpose of use. They are used in job applications to provide a summary of one’s experience and skills. However, CVs are longer than resumes. They include detailed information on academic background, experience, awards, and publications among other achievements. On the other hand, resumes provide a summary of education, work history, and credentials. They also provide accomplishments and skills as concise as possible. This makes it shorter in length as compared to a CV. Information is often bulleted to make it concise.

Report writing

Report writing is a well-organized writing process which involves giving an account of informal work.  Its main intention of recounting the events in a presentable form. A report is written for a clear purpose and a particular audience. The specific information for a particular audience applies to a particular problem to issues. This information is presented in a clearly structured format making it easy to locate and follow for the reader. Report writing requires good research and writing skills, it’s time-consuming in order. Essential tips in good report writing include knowing your audience and take time to plan for a good structure beforehand.

Reports contribute a huge part of a student’s academic journey


Search engine Optimization, (SEO) has become an increasingly important concept for marketers. SEO optimized posts are more visible to search engines. Hence, they are associated with more traffic especially with the increasing number of indexed web pages. On the other hand, blogging is a discussion or information published on a webpage and updated frequently for various purposes.  These purposes maybe personal or commercial. Currently, blogging has become popular has entrepreneurs and marketers have turned to keep their customers updated.  It used to update customers on various trends, events, and several others. Blogging and SEO move hand in hand. This is through keyword targeting and coverage and original content to improve search engine rankings and attract more traffic.

Market research

Market research implies to the process of gathering information on customers’ needs and preferences. It is an important strategy employed by a business to identify relevant information on their customer’s preferences or needs. This is essential when developing appropriate products and marketing strategies. There are two types of data involved in market research and include primary and secondary information. Primary information includes information obtained from interviews, surveys while secondary research includes information obtained from public sources and commercial sources. Uses of primary research in business include determining the feasibility of new business. Other uses are testing new products, monitoring industry trends and monitoring competition among several others.

Business plan

A business plan is a formal statement or roadmap stating business goals. It provides a plan on how to attain these goals. It justifies that the goals are attainable. A business plan also provides background information on a particular business industry, and country, relevant to the business. In addition, it is used by investors to access the viability of a business seeking a commercial loan. Key components for a business plan include executive summary and overview of the business. Other essential components are an overview of the products and services which the business seeks to offer. In addition,  milestone and metric which the business aims to achieve, the management team and financial plan are also needed. The financial plan should detail the projected profit and loss statement are also essential parts. A B.P should also show the balance sheet,  cash flow statement the target market, marketing, and sales plan

A guide to writing different types of academic papers

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