Term Paper and Research Paper: What’s The Difference?

Both a term paper and a research paper are important academic papers that students have to write at some point during their school years. They both involve research and are lengthier than the rest of the academic papers. Despite the many similarities, the two papers also have categorical differences which every student should be conversant with. Understanding the differences will help you to master each of them for quality paper writing. The following are the differences between a term paper and a research paper considering various elements:

  • Structure

The structures of a term paper and a research paper have some similarities but they are also distinctively different. A term paper has fewer parts since it is also shorter than a research paper. In a term paper, you will have an introduction, body, conclusion, and bibliography. On the other hand, a research paper has an abstract, introduction, methodology, the results, discussion, conclusion, and the reference list. Also, the structure if a term paper can change depending on what the instructor is looking for while that of a research paper is constant.

  • Timing

A term paper is specifically assigned at the end of the term to test what the students have been learning during a particular term. A research paper can be assigned any time of the year and this entirely depends on the instructor and college regulations.

  • Length 

A research paper is quite lengthy and it has several chapters some of which are quite elaborate. For instance, the literature review has a lot of materials since it contains study notes and findings from various researchers. It can go up to five thousand words depending on the topic of study and materials available. On the other hand, a term paper is relatively shorter with fewer chapters and can be as short as three thousand words.

  • Content

Mainly, a term paper contains persuasions and arguments that a student must support with facts from various reliable sources like textbooks, scholarly magazines, and academic papers. While a research paper is a typical academic study that contains answers to theoretical questions. The student is required to get available information and make it a noteworthy paper.

  • Purpose

Since a term paper is given at the end of the term, it is aimed at testing the students’ understanding of a particular theme. The instructor does not test outside what has been covered during that term. A research paper, on the other hand, does not have to be a topic covered in class during a specified period. The students are free to choose a topic of their own for research. However, the study must be relevant and in line with the student’s field of study.

  • Bottom Line

A term paper ad a research paper have more similarities than differences. However, this does not mean that you can get away with mixing up the two. For you to get the good grades that every student desires then you will have to know the difference. The points discussed here will help you to prepare better for your paper assignments.