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Differences Between Review Paper and Research Paper

A research paper includes original work while a review paper includes the summary of existing work which explains or solves a specific problem. 

An integral part of a PhD dissertation or thesis is writing a research and review article, besides writing a thesis, proposal and synopsis. In addition, one also has to publish an article in a peer-reviewed journal which is indeed a tougher task, right!

Writing is an indispensable part of the doctorate degree and has significant value in honoring the same degree. A student when becoming a PhD candidate has to write a thesis statement, research proposal, synopsis of the doctorate, thesis, research article and review article, in chronological order.

If one fails to do so, they can’t get a degree. And that’s why writing is important. Nonetheless, students face problems while writing either research or review articles. 

Supportive evidence suggests that students actually don’t know the basic and major differences between either so fail to publish both article types. 

In the present piece of content, I will explain the importance of a review and research article as well as the differences between both. I am hoping that this article will add value to your knowledge and help you in your PhD. 

Stay tuned. 

Differences between research and review paper.

What is a Review Paper? 

A review chapter or review articles add value to the thesis as well as existing knowledge. Universities are usually recommended to write and publish it. From students’ perspectives, review writing frightens them. 

However, from a supervisors’ perspective, it should be precise, concise and nearly perfect. 

Review writing is a tedious, frustrating and time-consuming process that needs special attention. The reason why it should be nearly perfect is that it supports researchers’ original work. 

Technically, the review article comprises a summary of the existing research in a structured manner. Normally, it addresses the original research work and solves the existing problem by literature. 

However, it can’t solve any existing problem, it doesn’t need wet-lab experimentation. It only shows the existing state of understanding of a topic. Notedly, an expert of the subject, experienced person, professor and professional scientist can usually write a review. 

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper/article contributes original research or work of a researcher on the present topic, usually includes web lab work. Much like the review, a research article should be published in a peer-reviewed journal too. 

Research article writing takes too much time as it includes research work additionally. Comprehensive writing is required to explain the materials & methods section and results & outcomes while the elaborative explanation is sufficient to introduce a topic. 

Structurally a typical research article or paper has an introduction or background, Materials & Methods, Results & discussion and conclusion. 

Depending upon the requirement of the journal and the depth or concentration of the research, the length of the article may vary, however, ordinarily is between 2 to 8 pages. 

Much like the review article, an abstract and a list of references must be included in the article. 

In summary, the research paper provides new knowledge in the relevant field and solves an existing problem by it. 

Now quickly move to the important part of this article, what are the differences between the review and research paper? 

Review vs Research paper: Differences

A review article is certainly a comprehensive, in-depth and extensively well-written piece of information covering summaries of already present knowledge. While the research article constitutes an elaborative introduction of the topic and an in-depth explanation of how the research was conducted. It contributes new knowledge.

A review is written based on the already existing information and so considered as a secondary source of information, while the research paper has original research work supported by already existing sources. 

In terms of length, a review article has an in-depth explanation and so are longer, normally, 10 to 20 pages whilst the research article has an elaborative explanation and to the point information on the problem, usually ranging from 2 to 8 pages.

The review article addresses the problem whilst the research article solves the problem, certainly. 

The conclusion of the review article supports the already present findings while the result of the research article is supported by the existing research work. 

The purpose of writing a research paper is to critically analyze already existing or previous work in the form of short summaries. And restricted to a specific topic. 

On the other side, the research article includes the author’s own work in detail

Structurally, the review article has a single heading or sometimes a conclusion at the end of the article whilst the research article has sections like an introduction to the topic, materials & methods, results, discussion and final interpretation. 

Steps in review article writing are,

  • Topic finding 
  • Searching relevant sources
  • Summarising each source 
  • Correlating them with the topic or problem
  • Concluding the research.

Steps in research article writing are,

  • Choosing a problem or gap in present findings
  • Sample collection, experimentation and wet lab work
  • Finding, collecting and organizing the data
  • Correlating it with the present knowledge
  • Stating results 
  • Final interpretation.

Normally, a subject expert or experienced person can write a review article while any student, or person having the original research work can write a research article.

The review article defines or clarifies a problem, explains it by compiling previous investigations and suggests problem-solving strategies or options. On the other hand, the research article has an original problem-solving statement supported by various chapters and previous research. 

So the review article suggests possible outcomes to fill the knowledge gap while the research article provides evidence and new knowledge on how to fill the gap. 


Review Paper Research Paper
Do not have original work.Have author’s or researcher’s original work
Contains summaries of each relevant research work to address a problemContains original and new knowledge to solve a problem. 
It finds a gap or problem in already existing knowledge. It fills a gap or solves a problem with new knowledge. 
Including comprehensive writing and elaborative explanation of each research work.Including elaborative writing and comprehensive explanative of present research work. 
Address or suggest a solution. Provides a solution
Has discussions of each search work and conclusion. Has Introduction, Material & Methods, Results & discussion and conclusion.
Do not need web lab workNeeds extensive wet lab work
Said as secondary literature.Said as primary literature or research.
The result can’t be patented.The result can be patented.

Research article vs review article- Similarities:

Either document has been written for a different purpose which solves almost the same objective. Fortunately, there are several similarities in writing a research or review article. Hera re some,

Both have in-text citations, a references page, an abstract and contributors. Both also need a final conclusion too in order to address or solve a problem. 

Research or review articles can be submitted or published in peer-reviewed journals. 

Both require educational, professional, informal and research writing skills. 

Importantly, both articles must be plagiarism-free, copying isn’t recommended. 

Wrapping up: 

Every PhD student must have written at least a single review and research article during their research or doctoral tenure to get an award. Achieving a successful publication needs critical writing skills and original research or findings. 

The major difference between either is that the review article has summed information that directs one towards solving a problem and so does not include original work. 

Whilst the research article actually proposes a way to solve a problem and so has original work.  

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