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Basic Classification of Academic Papers

Basic Classification of Academic Papers

There are four categories that most academic papers are written in: description, exposition, persuasion, and narration. Different variations exist, but, in general, each type has its own purpose, even if it is a mixture of categories. Below you can find a description of the basic classification of academic papers.


Descriptive writing is characterized by vivid and expressive language that is used to describe something: a person, a place, or an event. It is used to make the reader imagine the situation/object in a clear way as if he she/sees it with their own eyes. Most often, this writing category can be found in poetry and fiction. Some of papers serve especially for description of something.


Exposition is the category that comprises papers which are aimed to inform the reader about some important aspect or explain something. Such types of works as research papers, compare and contrast essays, process/business or technical writing, and reaction or response papers are common examples of expository writing.


Persuasive papers serve for imposing some idea on the reader, convince him/her to support and adopt it. In colleges, students frequently have to write persuasive essays. The standard type of works they need to create is argumentative papers. While writing this kind of essay, one should apply critical thinking and often use outside sources in addition to presenting his/her own ideas. Different variations of argumentative essay make up a significant part of all papers written in different disciplines, so they should be regarded from the same perspective.


Narrative papers, such as personal essays, novels, short stories, poems, and others usually serve for telling the reader about some event that occurred.

One important aspect that refers to the aforementioned classification is that despite the fact that most papers are aimed at serving some particular purpose, they may contain elements of other types of writing. For instance, narrative papers often have descriptive parts that serve for better representation of a particular object, event, etc. In the same manner, persuasive essays contain expository parts that function as an explanation of certain aspects to the readers before trying to persuade them to support a desirable idea. In order to develop good writing skills, one needs to master all these types and their combinations.

Everyone strives for perfection. To achieve it in papers, a writer needs to remember that every piece of writing is based on four basic aspects: originality, difficulty, depth of investigation, and power of analysis provided. Even though every author has his/her own rewarding technology, he or she should always build their research on the factors described above and practice employing all four categories of academic writing to achieve success.

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