Saturday, 25 June 2011 14:00

What's the difference between reports and essays?

Written by  Helen Batziris

Reports and essays are quite similar in that they both require:

  • plenty of planning and preparation
  • a formal style
  • neat presentation
  • careful proofreading
  • an introduction, main body and conclusion
  • some analytical thinking.

However, there are some distinctions between the two:

Reports Essays
Presents information Presents an argument
Is often scanned quickly by the reader to find the pertinent points/information Is read carefully by the reader
Uses short, concise paragraphs and sentences. Dot points are used where applicable Ideas are linked cohesively into paragraphs, rather than breaking them into lists or dot-points
Uses numbered headings and sub-headings Uses minimal sub-headings, if any. Often only has a title and maybe a handful of headings
Uses illustrations wherever possible (e.g. graphs, figures, maps) Rarely uses illustrations
Often requires an abstract (also called an Executive Summary) Only requires an abstract if very long
Generally contains recommendations Rarely contains recommendations; rather concludes with the viewpoint of the author
Has appendices Seldom have appendices
Last modified on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 10:52

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