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Types of academic research papers


In social sciences, the most frequent types of research papers are (,


Empirical studies

- Take data from observations and experiments to generate research reports.

- Are based on actual data, not theories.

Literature reviews

- Analyze other people’s work.

- Aims at gathering information about a current issue or problem and to communicate the state-of-the-art.

- Attempt to fill existing gaps in knowledge with suggestions for future research.

Theoretical articles

- They are somewhat similar to literature reviews in that they collect, examine, and share information about a current issue or problem by using others’ research.

- It is different from a literature review in that it attempts to explain or solve a problem by coming up with a new theory. The new theory is justified with valid evidence.

Methodological articles

- Present new advances (or modifications in existing practice) in a scientific method or procedure.

- The authors of this type of paper have data to prove that their new method is valid, thus plenty of evidence should be included in the article.

Case studies

- Present information related to an individual, group or a larger set of individuals.

- The subjects (the individuals) are analyzed for a specific reason, and the authors report on the method and conclusions from their study

- This type of paper is used to make suggestions for future research, create possible theories, and/or determine a solution to a problem.

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