There are several different types of papers or reports that you may be called upon to write throughout your academic career and beyond. Below is a brief description of four different types.
A descriptive report discusses or explains a topic of interest. Typically a substantial amount of research is required in order to provide a comprehensive explanation of a topic.
A literary paper analyzes the work(s) of an author. The analysis can be accomplished by comparing and contrasting different works, or by analyzing various elements within a specific work. Your analysis of the literary work(s) should also demonstrate that you have read what other authorities have written about the work.
An argumentative paper builds a logical argument for a particular position on an issue and supports that argument with research. Typically, an issue has two opposing points of view. When building your argument, you argue for your position and against the other.
A position paper states a position and supports it with research. The position paper differs from an argumentative paper because it is not necessary to argue against any opposing points of view.