Types of Academic Writing

School is starting soon and that means there will probably be quite a few papers that you need to write. Though the type of paper you are going to write will depend on a few things like grade level and theme of assignment. So for today’s post here is a quick overview of the types of academic writing that you may come across.

The Essay

You start seeing this when you are going through middle school or high school probably starting out as a book report. This is the most basic of academic papers that you will see. In North Carolina you definitely see this every two or three years as your Writing Test at the end of the year.

This form of academic paper covers three points involving a topic given to you and will often involve an argument which you have to either refute or support. The topic can also ask you to explain using three points that you see as important. With this idea, you can get away with only using five paragraphs to get your point across. One for introduction, one for conclusion, and three paragraphs between that explain each point separately. Usually English classes in high school are focused around how to write this form of paper.

The Process Paper

The process paper is found often in Science classes while in high school and college. Just like the name, in the paper you are explaining a process and the results of that process.

A little longer than the essay, each step within the process should have a paragraph on it’s own. Rather than just stating each step within one sentence, go into detail what is involved within each step. Those details matter if you are writing something that someone may have to physically recreate later.

The Research Paper

This is where it becomes fun. The research paper is an essential part of the college experience as this is where you really need to know what you are writing about. Formatting and style will depend on the topic and class that you’re writing this paper for. You will also have to include components you didn’t have to work with in previous papers, such as: footnotes and endnotes, bibliography, table of contents, and an abstract. [All of which we will go into later.]

One thing that people miss at first is that you have to get pretty extensive when you are working on a research paper as you are trying to state facts but show that you understand them. Essentially, you are attempting to be an expert here.

The Thesis

This is the research paper on steroids as this is much more extensive than you get with a normal research paper and often takes years to write. Instead of attempting to sound like an expert, you have to become an expert when you are working on a thesis. That is why it only seen when you working towards a Master’s or Doctorate’s degree.

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