Types of Academic Papers
Different Types of Academic Papers and Their Classification
Precisely speaking, there can hardly be any watertight compartment between academic papers:
characteristics of one overlap those of another. Nevertheless, it is common to consider them under different categories. Their most representative categories include (1) the thesis-oriented papers, (2) the evaluation-oriented papers and (3) the report-oriented papers all of which have their own sub-categories. The levels and the subjects of academic pursuit largely dictate the nature of these papers so far as the stylistic and linguistic forms are concerned.
The thesis-oriented papers
include the writings with particular guiding statements or theses that are discussed in a logical way and presented with evidence in order to prove that they are true. Formal essays, for example, often revolve round a thesis in defense of which students have to summon reasons and evidence from their own personal experience or other kinds of research (“Types of Papers”, n.d.). In informal essays where there is no thesis in the beginning, a thesis does emerge in the end in response to the inductive approach of such essays. Usually essays are analytic, interpretative but much shorter and less systematic and formal than what is known as a dissertation or thesis or a research paper, another example of the thesis-oriented papers. While essays usually deal with their subject from a limited and often personal point of view, dissertations or research papers, often called extended essays, come into being after a lot of research activities in both the library and the real outside phenomena encompassing a hugely collective point of view (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009). Dissertations are mostly written for the university degrees: MA, PhD and suchlike. Belonging to the same category, thesis proposals, persuasive of a particular thesis, are academic papers prelude to a research undertaking.
The evaluation-oriented papers
include reviews and critiques. They are most common in the faculties of arts and humanities. Students are often assigned with writing reviews on books, works of art, movies, and plays, among others, pointing out how much excellent or otherwise these have been. Here, the students can use their own parameters of evaluation fed by their own peculiar ideology. Critiques are more particular in their relations to the ideas to be critiqued but more comprehensive in their sweep of subjects. Critiques can be written on the misanthropy in Gulliver’s Travels and on the insertion of Derrida’s deconstruction into judicial formulations in favour or against the feminist movement. In such activities students pinpoint values in the issue concerned in the light of their own value structure.
The report-oriented papers
have almost no scope for the personal values and feelings. Often with tables, graphs and illustration, reports present information- not an argument- and are meant to be scanned quickly by the reader (“Report Writing”, n.d.). Case studies (detailed accounts of the development of a person, a group of people or a situation over a period of time), articles (both scientific and non-scientific) supposed to be published in journals (as an academic exercise) to reveal facts and resumes among others are examples of academic papers reportorial in essence.
In conclusion, these three broad categories roughly encompass the academic papers commonly written by students of various schools, colleges and universities worldwide. However, they are often found to share some similar characteristics. Further proliferation of modes of intellectual practice might generate more forms of papers in future.
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