What Is The Difference Between A Research Paper And A Reflection Paper?

Most of the people misinterpret and consider research and reflection papers as the same, but actually these are two different types that are written for different reasons. The focus of student on the topic decides the primary difference between the two. Such topics are usually those that students have studied throughout the year.

Both the type of documents has three sections- an introduction, the body section and the conclusion. Though they follow pretty common style of writing and are very similar in their approach, the students should follow their writer’s instruction religiously. In both the cases, they should begin by highlighting the major points and then narrow down the feelings organizing the points with cohesion.


  • Reaction Paper is also known as “Response paper” whereas the Research document is known as “Report, “Statement of belief” or Statement of Principles”.

  • Reflection paper is designed in such way that students express their emotions genuinely on a certain topic. It is not merely the summary of the studies conducted throughout the year, instead, it emphasizes on primary readings, integrating them based on thinking, practice and classroom experience. While the other type document are written after gathering information from various credible resources and then writing it in a particular format (APA,MLA etc) after following instructor’s guidelines.

  • Reflection writing answers many questions as in how students feel about the topic, whether they agree with the stated happenings, events etc or not, whether they find any similarity with the topic. In the end they are asked to carry the evaluation based on their writing.

  • After a brief description is written on the given topic, personal reactions are highlighted while emphasizing the agreement or disagreement.

  • In Research writing students focus more on his learning rather than expressing his emotions or feelings. However personal feelings are still there but almost negligible. The text concentrates on statements and feelings. They answer the questions in form of student’s thinking, visuals and then overall analysis whereas the Reflection manuscripts emphasizes allot on personal reactions.

  • Reflection articles are basically the opportunity to reveal your thoughts and analyze them as in what you have studied and experienced. It fairly illustrates the students’ understanding of the topic. You should initiate the writing of reflection documents by jotting down the points that you have collected in the reading materials or from your class experiences whereas in other type of work, the data is gathered through various online resources, authenticated websites like .edu, .gov, .net etc. Apart from these scholarly articles, journals, magazines, reporter’s collection, collected matter of previous students etc are also referred.