Ask Difference

Journal Article vs. Research Paper — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on January 14, 2024
A Journal Article is a peer-reviewed piece published in an academic journal, while a Research Paper is a detailed study on a topic, not necessarily published.
Journal Article vs. Research Paper — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Journal Article and Research Paper


Key Differences

A Journal Article is a scholarly piece often written by experts in a particular field, intended for a specialized audience, while a Research Paper is an in-depth study or argument about a specific topic, crafted by students or researchers.
A Journal Article undergoes a peer-review process before publication, ensuring its credibility; on the other hand, a Research Paper might not undergo such a process, especially if it's a student assignment.
Journal Articles are typically concise, focusing on a particular aspect of a field, while Research Papers can be lengthy and may explore multiple facets of a subject.
The primary goal of a Journal Article is to share recent findings and contribute to ongoing discussions within a field. In contrast, a Research Paper's aim is to present a comprehensive argument backed by evidence.
While Journal Articles are found in academic journals, Research Papers can be part of academic coursework, thesis projects, or independent research endeavors.

Comparison Chart


Specialized, academic audience
Academic audience, educators

Review Process

Undergoes peer-review before publication
Not always peer-reviewed

Length & Scope

Typically concise and specific
Can be lengthy and comprehensive


Published in academic journals
Might not be published


Share findings and contribute to academic discussion
Present a detailed study or argument on a topic

Compare with Definitions

Journal Article

Undergoes rigorous peer-review before publication.
His Journal Article was accepted after a thorough review.

Research Paper

Can cover a broad range of subjects.
She wrote her Research Paper on the socio-economic impacts of global warming.

Journal Article

Contributes to ongoing discussions within a field.
Her Journal Article sparked new debates in literary circles.

Research Paper

Often a part of academic coursework.
His professor assigned a 10-page Research Paper due next month.

Journal Article

A scholarly piece published in an academic journal.
She got her first Journal Article published in a renowned science magazine.

Research Paper

Presents a comprehensive argument backed by evidence.
The Research Paper used various sources to support its thesis.

Journal Article

Intended for a specialized academic audience.
The Journal Article discussed advanced techniques in neurology.

Research Paper

A detailed study or examination of a specific topic.
For her biology class, she wrote a Research Paper on genetic mutations.

Journal Article

Reflects recent research and findings.
The latest Journal Article revealed groundbreaking information about black holes.

Research Paper

Might not necessarily be published.
He received an 'A' on his Research Paper but never sought publication.

Common Curiosities

What's the main difference between a Journal Article and a Research Paper?

A Journal Article is published in an academic journal and peer-reviewed, while a Research Paper is a detailed study, not always published.

Are Journal Articles always peer-reviewed?

Most credible academic journals have a peer-review process, but there are exceptions.

Who reads Journal Articles?

Academics, professionals, students, and experts in the relevant field typically read Journal Articles.

Can a Research Paper become a Journal Article?

Yes, if a Research Paper is of high quality and relevance, it can be submitted to a journal for publication.

Who typically writes Journal Articles?

Experts, researchers, or scholars in a specific field usually write Journal Articles.

Why are citations important in both Journal Articles and Research Papers?

Citations provide evidence for claims and give credit to original sources.

Do Journal Articles have a word limit?

Often, journals have word or page limits to ensure conciseness and clarity.

Are all Journal Articles based on experimental research?

No, Journal Articles can be reviews, theoretical discussions, case studies, or experimental research.

Where can I find Journal Articles?

Journal Articles are available in academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, and Google Scholar.

Is a thesis the same as a Research Paper?

A thesis is a type of Research Paper, usually longer and submitted as part of a degree requirement.

Can I use a Journal Article as a reference for my Research Paper?

Absolutely, Journal Articles are credible sources and can be excellent references.

Do all Research Papers get published?

No, not all Research Papers are published; many are assignments or independent research.

Why is it essential for a Journal Article to be peer-reviewed?

Peer-review ensures the content's credibility, accuracy, and relevance to the academic community.

Do all academic journals charge to publish Journal Articles?

No, while many journals have publication fees, some are open-access and free.

How long can a Research Paper be?

Research Papers vary in length, from a few pages to hundreds, depending on the purpose and depth.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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