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What’s the different between reports and essays?
This post was originally added to Learnhigher on: 15th Jan, 2012
Activity time: Unknown time
Types of media: Helpsheet
A table outlining features of essays and reports in relation to one another.
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This information/resource was last updated in January 2012.
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A report is a piece of informative writing that describes a set of actions and analyses any results in response to a specific brief. A quick definition might be: “This is what I did and this is what it means.”
You may also have assignments which are not called reports but which are still pieces of informative writing; for instance, some dissertations and project write-ups fall into this category.
A good way to understand the key features of reports is to see how they differ from essays as a type of academic writing.
- Formally structured
- Informative and fact-based
- Written with a specific purpose and reader in mind
- Written in a style appropriate to each section
- Always include section headings
- Sometimes use bullet points
- Often include tables or graphs
- Offer recommendations for action
- Argumentative and idea-based
- Not written with a specific reader in mind
- Written in single narrative style throughout
- Usually do not include sub-headings
- Usually do not include bullet points
- Rarely include tables or graphs
- Offer conclusions about a question
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