What is the difference between a research paper and a research article? Frequently these two terms are considered in the same category. So, what features distinguish these two terms?

  • I always thought paper to be a kind of slang :)
    – Alchimista
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


Research article refers mainly to research published in a journal, whereas research paper refers to a research report whether it is a published one or not.


I don't think you will find a general definition that is universally applicable. But a research article could, in some cases, be a work that covers a number of papers, or the work of many people, and that attempts to bring ideas together, rather than to present fresh research itself.

A research paper, probably is more specific, presenting the work of some particular author(s) on a particular project.

Thus a research paper, presents an advancement in a field, whereas an article can be more general, not tied to a specific project, but generalizing a bit to give context to other work and bring it together.

But others can have different definitions, and this is just a personal observation. Your usage may vary. And I notice from other comments made here, that there are other views. Some will use the terms interchangeably, of course.

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