A reflective image of the University of Notre Dame campus
A reflective image of the University of Notre Dame campus Adapted from a photo by Annie Maher on Unsplash Note from the Editors


Research essays develop claims with evidence drawn from the writer’s careful synthesis of source material. Research-based arguments do not simply report on what is already known; rather, they persuade readers who are invested in the issue to adopt a new perspective or course of action based on substantial evidence and reasoning.

While virtually any type of argument can incorporate research, some common types of research-based arguments include:

Position arguments, wherein the writer develops and defends a position on an issue based on evidence and reasoning

Causal analysis arguments, wherein the writer uses evidence and reasoning to demonstrate the plausibility of a causal link

Problem-solution arguments, wherein the writer demonstrates the existence of a problem and makes a case, based on evidence and reasoning, for a solution to the problem

Like all effective arguments, the most successful research essays appeal to the values of the writer's intended audience, while also ethically addressing and responding to opposing perspectives.