A research paper generally consists of information and conclusions based on material already written or recorded by other people. Although some original ideas and insights are desirable in a research paper, most information will be borrowed, in one form or another, from previous research and writing. Research papers use a common set of procedures, rely on a variety of sources, contain documentation, and usually have a relatively narrow focus.
The overall purpose of the research paper is to present the facts of an issue. In addition, students must acknowledge the opposing view. In this opposing view section, it is necessary to accommodate or discredit the other side of the argument. Regardless of the position the student writer takes in the paper, he or she must draw conclusions and identify sources.