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Is a Report The Same As An Academic Essay?

There are some basic differences between a report and an essay in an academic setting. The format of a report and essay differ as well as the main purpose of each. While there are similarities and differences between an essay and report, it’s essential to know which format you’re being asked to write. First, we’ll discuss what a report is, and then continue on to see what makes an essay. Keep in mind that a report can be much longer than an essay, and report readers generally only quickly scan it to pick up its general idea. In either way, your ideas should be easily found and compelling enough so the reader continues to read.


To begin, a report and essay are similar in the fact that they both need to be in a formal style, have analytical thinking, a neat presentation with careful proofreading, as well as an introduction, body, and conclusion. Furthermore, a few distinct characteristics make a report different from an essay, such as a report gives information instead of an argument. Usually, a reader will more thoroughly read an essay compared to a report. Reports can include graphics and have short paragraphs along with numbered headings and sub-headings. Also, a writer will often need to write an executive summary after they’ve finished writing their full report. Such a summary isn’t necessary with an essay.



A Report

A report should be used to clearly and sufficiently inform the reader of the topic you’re writing about. While every lecturer or professor may have different guidelines they prefer, there are general rules to follow when writing a report. Unless otherwise requested, a report should consist of the following essential sections: title page, introduction, body, and conclusion. If you want to go a step further, include a letter of transmittal, table of contents, list of abbreviations and/or a glossary, executive summary, recommendations, bibliography, and appendices.


The style and presentation of a report are very important in order to be taken seriously and have people want to read your full report. There are certain tips that you should follow to write a report that leaves a great first impression. You’ll want to ensure you use plenty of white space, and that the different parts of your report are easily recognized. Don’t forget to use sub-headings with plenty of space between different sections. Graphs, illustrations, and maps are encouraged to be used as they can clarify the information you’re trying to give. Number each page of a report with consistent formatting, and always use formal language.


On the other hand, there are some things to avoid when writing a report. Leave out any inaccurate and conflicting information. Don’t include any outdated data, or irrelevant statistics. Keep opinions separate from facts, and leave out any unsupported recommendations or conclusions. Also, don’t let somebody read your report if it focuses more on appearance and has a lack of content. Lastly, a report isn’t finished without careful proofreading.


The topics for reports usually consist of a problem or case study with a hypothetical situation. The information for reports comes from readings, fieldwork, and practical work. A report’s purpose is not only to investigate information, but to present and analyze it extensively and logically. A report is often used to make proposals, and to recommend actions to solve a problem. When writing a report, know that your audience will usually be those that are knowledgeable in the area you’re writing about and can be a client or manager. A report needs to be objective and can sometimes include bullet points. In order for a report to be successful, it needs to show that the writer has good research skills, and everything presented was relative information.


An Essay

When writing an essay, a topic will usually be a proposition or question and is predominantly based on reading. An essay’s purpose is to have a well-argued response to the original question and should also establish a proposition. The writer’s lecturer will usually be the reader of the essay. The essay’s style can be subjective, as long as it fits in an academic setting. Successful essays make the argument interesting, and are also determined on how the writer was able to relate one point to the next in a smooth format, while establishing a proposition.


An essay is generally thought of as a well-organized collection of your ideas that is nicely written and presented professionally. An essay should be easy to read and properly thought out. When collecting material for an essay, you’ll have both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are literary texts, while secondary sources consist of any works of criticism. In this case, the more sources you have to refer to the better. Your own ideas about literary texts are very important, as well as always putting the reader first. Make sure the text is compelling and professionally presentable, yet make it easy for the reader to understand.


Five steps to writing an impressive essay

  • Step One – research, you want to make yourself an expert on the topic you’ve chosen to, or assigned to write about. The internet, academic databases, and libraries are all great places to browse literature.

  • Step Two – you’ll want to analyze the arguments in the readings you’ve chosen. Not only should you look for arguments in the topic, look for strengths too.

  • Step Three – Brainstorm how you want to write the essay, and then pick a thesis. To do this, pick the best idea and make it into a clear assertion that you can write a whole essay on. Make an outline with one-line sentences to describe each paragraph.

  • Step Four – it’s time to write the essay starting with an introduction that grab’s the readers’ attention. The body of the text should be made of paragraphs that each focuses on a certain idea that agrees with your thesis. The conclusion should have one sentence that can wrap up the whole essay, followed by maybe a question, twist of logic, or a call to action.

  • Step Five – Essays are usually written in MLA style, making sure that every quotation and borrowed idea is cited throughout the text along with a works cited page at the end. Once the rough draft is complete, read through your essay correcting any grammar and make sure the essay has a nice flow. However, if you prefer a professional to take a look, then you should see our essay editing and dissertation editing services for students.