Research essay may be considered to be a subtype of an argumentative essay, or vice versa. Just like the argumentative essay, it is supposed to prove a certain idea; but its goal is wider and deeper than that.
The writer here should not only take someone else’s point of view and prove it, but come up with an original idea to research on it and prove its correctness. The main features of research essay, therefore, are:
- Originality. You are free to quote anybody, but should use these quotes to drive your own point home.
- Rather narrow topic. Even large research papers don’t try to envelop the whole discipline; you with your limit of several hundreds of words should be much more specific.
- The presence of a particular idea to be researched and proved. You are not supposed to merely report on literature you have read. You should create something out of what you’ve read.
Research essays are supposed to develop one’s ability to work with sources of information, compose your own thoughts into something original and perceivable, and prove your point of view. Thus, that is what you have to do while working on it. If any of these aspects are neglected, your teacher will be in full right to lower your mark.
The rough outline of a research essay will be like this:
- Introduction. State your point, describe the methods you are going to use, the idea behind your work. If you can’t think of anything on your own, try taking other person’s idea or some part of it and further develop it, or approach a well-known problem from unusual point of view – e.g., try economical analysis when dealing with the description from a fiction book or something like that.
- Body. Just like in a persuasive essay, give at least three arguments in favor of your thesis, mention the scholars who had similar points of view, use facts, statistical information, quotations. Don’t forget to mention opposing argumentation, explaining why this or that idea is wrong or out of place.
- Conclusion. Give a summarized retelling of what you consider to be proved by your essay. Say why you think it to be the best solution of the problem.