Difference Between An Opinion Paper And A Research Paper

Written assignments form an important part of a student’s time at university, college, and even while they are still in school. There are different types of written assignments that students maybe provide. Opinion papers are commonly provided. This allows the lecturer to get an idea of the student’s view on a specific subject. Other times, a paper may require more effort – this comes into play when comparing a research paper vs. essay, for example. 

We look at the differences between an opinion paper and a research paper in this post. This will help students understand what is expected of them in each of these. 

What Is An Opinion Paper?

Opinion papers are commonly asked as an assignment to students in various classroom settings. A lot of students tend to enjoy writing these papers as they are often viewed as simpler assignments. An opinion paper asks the student to deliver their comment on a specific situation. This could be a current event that is happening in the country or around the world, or perhaps something that happened in the past. 

There are scenarios where an opinion paper needs some research. To write the best opinion research papers, a student needs to at least acknowledge themselves with the situation they are writing about. Learning more about the event ensures the student is able to deliver an honest opinion – which would essentially be their personal view on the matter. 

What Is Research Paper?

A research paper is another assignment that students may be asked to complete—this type of assignment as some differences to an opinion paper. When provided with this type of paper, students are also more likely to search for a research paper service – as it can be difficult to set up a paper that gets a high grade for some. 

A research paper is an assignment that requires the student to do research on a specific subject. The assignment may provide instructions that the student needs to follow. This could be in the form of questions. These questions may be presented to help the student set up an outline for the research paper they will write. 

A research paper should not be written like an essay or opinion paper. It is important for students to understand the differences between research paper vs. essay. 

When writing a research paper, there are specific formats that need to be followed. A guide on the format will usually be offered alongside the research paper assignment. If the student requires the services of an online research paper writing service, they also need to provide the writers with this information. In addition to the main body of the research paper, an appendix will often be requested too. This appendix will contain information about the resources that were used during the research phase of the assignment. The student should ensure they list all of the sources that were used to do their research. This will help to back up any claims that were made in the research paper itself. 


The Main Differences

It is important for a student to understand how exactly an opinion and research paper will differ. When setting up a research paper like an opinion essay, the student may not get the grade that their text deserves. On the other hand, writing an opinion paper in the way that a research paper should be written might cause the student to go “over the top.” 

Here are a few of the main differences that students should realize:

  • An opinion paper relies on the personal views of the student. In a research paper, there is no place for personal views. 
  • A research paper needs backup for any facts and statistics that are mentioned. References to resources and studies are not usually needed in an opinion paper, except if asked for. 
  • A research paper will have a very strict format that the student needs to stick to. The assignment may even provide a specific outline that should be followed. With an opinion paper, on the other hand, there is usually much more flexibility introduced in the assignment. The student is usually allowed to use their own creativity to come up with an outline. 

In many cases, a research and opinion paper may form part of a larger assignment. The student may be asked to compile a research paper on a specific subject. This will allow the lecturer to get a better view of the student’s ability to gather information on a topic and then summarize it. The lecturer will also be able to see if the student is able to follow instructions, such as an outline that was provided to them. 

Once the research paper is complete, the next part of the project might be an opinion paper. During this assignment, the instructions may be looser than what was provided with the research paper. This part of the assignment gives the lecturer a way of assessing the student even further. 

The opinion paper asks the student to give their own view on the matter. The lecturer thus gets an opportunity to see if the student truly understands the matter that was discussed. The opinion paper provides an overview of how well the student is able to interpret the information gathered about a topic and then deliver their own views on the subject.


Students are provided with a large variety of written assignments. While opinion papers are generally easy to complete, some students do find it hard to do a research paper. A research paper writer needs to be careful, as facts all need to be backed with evidence. A lot of time is spent on doing extensive research, and a specific format often needs to be followed.