WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REPORT AND AN ESSAY? A REPORT AN ESSAY Structure/Access to information/ Structure /Access to Information/ Audience Is designed to be read as a whole. Usually written for specialist audience Written for specialist audience i.e. in your department but wider Is designed to allow quick access to audience than the lecturer setting information through the use of headings, the work subheadings, numbering and indentation. Some readers may only read the abstract No standard structure, apart from and then possibly the conclusion. an introduction, a main body and conclusion. The structure of the Standard report format, though there main body may vary according to are different types of report: technical, topic and purpose. scientific, field, lab, Environmental Impact Report, as well as different Headings and subheadings are often formats in Engineering and used in S & T essays (check with Communication Systems. However, they lecturer), but not numbering usually have a standard Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion format: Does not contain an abstract or IMRaD, even though different headings summary. may be used. Argumentation and analysis Some reports require a conclusion. They Presents your argument through usually contain an abstract or, where analysis, which is supported by specified, an executive summary evidence from other scientists. Argumentation is particularly Data important and developed to greater Based on data (primary) which you are length to provide the structure of analysing and presenting from your own the essay. It acts as a cohesive experiments/field work; sometimes also device to connect the different data from other scientists for further points made in the essay. analysis. Usually contains data presented in Impartial and objective in its tables, and/or figures which are approach to analysis and evidence. analysed & discussed Avoids opinion and unsubstantiated claims. Citation & References Other scientists’ findings are usually Paragraph structure is important in presented in the Introduction as signalling topics i.e. fully developed background/background theory and in paragraphs beginning with a topic the Discussion section when comparing sentence and is structuring your your data with that of others. There may essay. also be citation in the method. Paraphrase is used to report other Data & citation scientists’ work. Quotation is rare. In Science and Technology essays often contain figures and tables, Except with short reports such as lab unlike Arts and some Social Science reports, there is usually a references list essays at the end. Other scientists’ data can be analysed and discussed throughout Language and Style the body of the essay, to develop Formal, impersonal style required. Third and support your own argument person singular. ’I’ and ‘you’ are avoided (except Psychology, see APA) Paraphrase rather than quotation is used to report other scientists’ Concise expression while clearly findings in the body of the essay. expressing ideas. Quotation is sometimes used (sparingly) in subjects such as Psychology and Geography. Connecting ideas You’re telling a technical/scientific A references list is required at the narrative (story), whilst using impersonal end style. Language and style Subheadings numbering and indentation Formal, impersonal style is help to provide the structure and required. Avoid colloquial language cohesion. Brief signposting may be and personal style, for example the helpful in introductions to longer reports first person singular ’I’. and second person ‘you’ (except Psychology, see APA) Style is concise, while self- explanatory Listing and bulleting may not be allowed, used sparingly Connecting ideas It’s important to: link ideas within and between paragraphs; use topic sentences; paragraph effectively e.g. 150 words paragraph, depending on topic; ensure there’s a clear line of argument Signposting is more important, particularly if headings are not allowed.
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