A research paper is an academic document that is based on a body of data collection. A report should not only address the reason for the research, but it should also discuss methods used during the research, resources, and conclusions.
Research papers vary in length and format based on the academic subject, assignment requirements, findings, and size of the project. The level of study will also influence the information contained within the document. For example, a university student may be required to include charts and graphs in his or her assignment, whereas a high school student may be able to include more basic information.
All standard reports should contain at least the following information organized in the following order: title page, introduction, body, conclusion, references. The title page should contain the title of the report as well as the name and contact information for the author. Different professors may also require additional information on the title page, such as the course number, keywords, date, and more.
The introduction to the report provides a brief background into the particular subject that will be addressed. The introduction introduces the reader to a particular problem that the author has attempted to address through the research and summarizes the conclusion. Unlike an article, the introduction does not contain a thesis statement.
The body should be the longest part of the document. It will include information about the methodology and procedures that were used during the research. It will also contain conclusions that the author found during each step of the research, problems that the author faced, and detailed information about the purpose and implications of the research. The conclusions mentioned in the body of the document should address problems and concerns related to the methodology; they are not conclusions related to the research as a whole.
The conclusion needs to include specific findings that the researcher discovered from the entire body of research (not just from step-by-step procedures). Research paper conclusions also discuss the variables that could have influenced the findings as well as any other pertinent discoveries that the author made during the course of the research. Many report conclusions also contain suggestions for further research, especially higher-level research papers.
The reference section of the report needs to include specific references that the researcher used, such as papers, books, surveys, and other materials. These materials should be cited.
Reference reports are often confused with essays. It is easy to confuse the two—after all, essays are often based on research. However, a project follows a specific format, which describes a researcher's procedure, methodology, and conclusions in detail. In contrast, a report is designed to provide information and opinions on a particular topic, but does not necessarily describe the methods used to come by those opinions or information. Moreover, an essay could be written based solely on information that is shared in an analysis assignment. However, a research paper cannot be written based solely on information that is shared in an assignment.
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