Research paper? What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the "treasure" of others thoughts? Whatever image you create, it is a sure bet that you are envisioning sources of information--articles, books, people, artworks. Yet a research paper is more than the sum of your sources, more than a collection of different pieces of information about a topic, and more than a review of the literature in a field. A research paper analyzes a perspective or argues a point. Regardless of the type of research paper you are writing, your finished research paper should present your own thinking backed up by others ideas and information.
When you outline your main ideas, putting them in a specific order is important. Place your strongest points at the beginning and end of your essay, with more mediocre points placed in the middle or near the end of your essay.
Every type has a different aim. An argumentative work has to show a few sides of a particular issue and provides arguments in favor of one of them, a definition project aims to provide a clear explanation and analysis of one specific matter. Cause and effect research paper writing requires you to present a logical chain of causes and effects that relate to the selected issue, while reports simply outline a study (or studies) that were conducted previously. Interpretive papers are similar to definition ones. Compare and contrast ones, as a rule, describe the same issue from the perspectives of two different authors (scientists), while analytical research paper writing requires you to create a deep analytics of various opinions regarding the same issue.
A research paper is an expanded essay that presents your own interpretation or evaluation or argument. When you write an essay, you use everything that you personally know and have thought about a subject. When you write a research paper you build upon what you know about the subject and make a deliberate attempt to find out what experts know. A research paper involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. And that survey can be orderly and focused, if you know how to approach it. Do not worry--you would not get lost in a sea of sources.