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Nothing! Papers and essays are the same thing, it is just a different way to say it. Assignments and projects are synonyms too. When you first start university, or start university in a second language, it can be intimidating or scary. It’s ok that you overthink sometimes. If you are ever unsure of your assignment or paper requirements do not be afraid to ask your instructor! After all, they are the ones who will be grading your work, so they will know best what is needed for a good grade.
If you need help with how to write a research paper then you should make an appointment at the Writing Centre!