Research Writing

Types of academic papers and their characteristics

During the trajectory in college or graduate school, the student comes into contact with various types of academic work. This is how he learns to investigate different subjects and builds knowledge within his area. In this article we will let you know about the types of academic papers and their characteristics.

The university routine is not only composed of theoretical classes or laboratory activities. Students need to prepare papers to expand their knowledge, share them with the class and even present at academic events , such as seminars.

List of the main types of academic papers

See below what are the main types of academic work:


Students usually produce summaries to synthesize the ideas of a work in a single text. composed of concise, affirmative sentences written with the verb in the active voice and in the third person singular.

An informative summary explains issues such as methodology and results to the reader. The indicative brings out only the main points of the work (without worrying so much about quantitative or qualitative data). Finally, the critical summary is responsible for showing a critical view of the document. This type of work is also called a review

The abstract, as well as other types of academic work, can be submitted for publication. In this case, the structure should cover Context, Purpose, Methodology, Results and Conclusion.


The record is a material prepared after reading books, scientific articles, theses and dissertations. It is not just a summary of the work, after all, the student can include diagrams, schemes, topics, quotes and other elements that go beyond the running text. 

There are different types of files, such as bibliographic files, which address the main ideas of the entire work, and citation cards, which are concerned with transcribing excerpts from the material read. 


The review is concerned with making a synthesis of the work, but also includes comments on the content. In general, the reviewer exposes the author’s ideas and then includes his impressions of the work, in a clear and direct way. In the header it is very important to identify the data of the work, that is, to include the bibliographic reference. 


The report is a document produced with the objective of showing the progress of a research or a certain practical experience, such as experiments in laboratories or field classes. There is no space to express opinion.

During college, students need to produce many documents of this type, as is the case with the internship report . After graduation, work is also requested, especially in the case of those who opt for an academic career. 

Some development agencies, such as CNPq, ask for reports on projects to maintain scholarships for graduate students. 

critical review

The critical review is a deeper type of work, which analyzes and interprets the information contained in a given work. 

The structure is organized with bibliographic references, information about the author of the review, summary of the work, author’s conclusion and critical analysis. In the last stage, which consists of the appreciation, the reviewer must judge the value and make the indication. 

multidisciplinary integrated project

The multidisciplinary integrative project aims to encourage interdisciplinarity in higher education. This work proposes the dialogue between different disciplines to know and understand phenomena.

Scientific article

Right in the first years of college, when they enter scientific initiation, students get to know the scientific articles. This type of production aims to present the results of a study, conducted from a specific problem. 

In the text, the author of the scientific article needs to create a title for his work, write a summary, put together an introduction, present the theoretical basis, describe the methodology and present the results obtained with the investigation. It is also necessary to create a final considerations section.

An article is considered scientific when it is evaluated by a panel of specialists. Only after that is it considered suitable for publication in a journal. 


The memorial is a type of summary about the main accomplishments in the academic trajectory, highlighting career progress. This type of document is highly requested at events such as congresses. 

In the memorial, which is autobiographical in nature, the student or professor can mention the position he occupies, what his field of activity is, what his most significant projects are and the awards he has already won. O

scientific poster

Anyone who has participated in symposiums , seminars and congresses has probably come across a scientific poster. This type of work, also known as a banner, differs from others because it has many visual elements, such as tables, images and graphs. The material has the role of disseminating the study in academic events. 

Academic article

After doing a research, the student can produce an academic article to present the results obtained with his investigation. The work usually has a theoretical basis in other more comprehensive productions, as is the case of doctoral theses. 

An academic article can be published as long as it goes through the advice of scientific journals. The masters and doctors decide whether the work is relevant to the area of ​​study and, therefore, deserves publication. 


The monograph is the most well-known type of academic work, as it is presented at the end of the graduation or specialization. With an average of 60 pages, it has more comprehensive and detailed content than a scientific article

A monographic work is composed of introduction, development and conclusion. It is born from a bibliographical survey and does not need to be an unpublished research. The written report must comply with ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Standards) standards. 

Completion of course work

The course conclusion work, is an essential production to obtain the undergraduate or specialization diploma.

Monograph, scientific article and experimental project are the formats most accepted by universities. The student usually needs to make an oral presentation to the examining board and deliver a written report.

Research project

The research project , as the name implies, is a work plan to carry out research. It is essential for longer scientific productions, such as monographs and dissertations.

A project has the purpose of identifying fundamental elements for the construction of knowledge. In other words, it outlines the paths that need to be followed throughout the investigation.

The student needs to be concerned with the following items:

  • Presentation (Who?)
  • Purpose (What for?)
  • Justification (Why?)
  • Object (What it is)
  • Methodology (How? With what? Where?)
  • Schedule (When?)
  • Budget (How much?)

Masters dissertation

To complete the master’s degree, the graduate student needs to develop a dissertation. This type of academic work is the product of research that was developed throughout the course.

The dissertation must present, in detail, the scientific studies that have already been developed on the subject and interpret the collected information.

Field work is also very important to complement the bibliographic survey, taking shape through interviews, questionnaire application, observation, among other forms of data collection.

Doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis is a long academic work with a high degree of complexity. In this production, the researcher has the challenge of researching a subject in depth and following a systematization. Another important aspect is that the investigation must be unprecedented and contribute to some significant advance in the field of knowledge.

The scientific study of the thesis is based on a very specific theme and a detailed investigation. As it is a very complex research, the graduate student has up to four years to complete the work.

The title of doctor is only granted if the examining board approves the thesis.

experimental project

In some courses, such as Journalism and Advertising, students are required to produce an experimental project as their final course work. The student builds knowledge by combining technical skills and theoretical reflection. 

The objective is to develop practical activities in the area (such as the production of advertising pieces) and the writing of a research report

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