Difference Between An Essay And A Report (Fully Compared)

How to write a research essay on sociology

We will begin this article, which is deemed to know the difference between an essay and a report, by examining the meaning of both terms, “essay” and “report.”

What is an Essay

An essay can be seen as a composition that deals with anything stated or discussed in a subject. It is mostly written in a narrative style or narrative technique.

An essay is mostly used to discuss events and the writer’s creative ideas and views.

While a report, on the other hand, can be seen as a factual document used to present ideas, inquiry, and research in general. Reports are mainly written because they contain relevant information to inform the reader about an event or issue.

Types of Essay

The list below comes the most common of the 10+ types of essays you want to learn about. Undoubtedly, some other types that are not on the list may as well come under any of the ones on the list. As we go to explain, you will get to understand what I am talking about better.

1. Narrative

To put it simply, a narrative essay deals with storytelling, and all you want to do here is talk about (narrate) the things that happen following the given topic.

For instance, in not less than 300 words, explain how you spent your last holiday, which could be a narrative essay’s topic. In which case you would be expected to give a ‘report’ of the things that happened then, elaborately.

The difference between this and some reports could be ‘Formality.’ Meanwhile, you must write very clearly and straight to the point in a report; you are free to make good use of your literary elements when writing a narrative essay.

2. Descriptive

Your creativity will be challenged when you are to work on this form of essay.

Whoever is instructing you on what to do will require you to create a mental picture in the mind of your readers without literary drawing out a diagram on your book.

Yes, using your hyperbole and litotes words will get a good place to work if you are assigned to write on a topic that falls here. That teacher you love the most may be what you will be asked to describe in this case. Then, you start by selecting the best words to qualify his attributes.

3. Argumentative

We want to believe that everyone does this, which is one of the most common essay types. In argumentative, as the name implies, you argue out your points in the book.

You probably must have taken part in a school debate program before. If not, then there are still chances that you do this orally.

Anyway, there is a bonus point I was hoping you could take away from this section. People, and perhaps yourself, do not often see the essence of the argument. That you are arguing that a particular thing is not good does not mean your opponent is your enemy.

When done orally, this form of essay is aimed at building learners’ use of language as you can as well be speaking against a belief you hold on a normal day.

So hope you see it. It is meant to help you express your points peacefully regardless of how much they mean to you.

4. Expository

Even though this appears to be more of a report, it should not be mistaken for it. One of the similarities between this and a report, for instance, is observing. You are expected to have observed a problem before attempting to create solutions for it and talk about the causes and effects.

5. Persuasive

Have you ever read a piece introducing you to something you were unsure of doing, and you got convinced to be involved in that? Think less; that piece’s writer had just persuaded you if it is an essay.

You will also be expected to do the same when given persuasive topics to work on in college. As they say, “Words are like keys; if you choose the right ones, you can open any door.”

Types of Reports

There are several types of reports, but you can be sure you have the main ones here. So here go 13 types of reports.

  1. Formal reports
  2. Analytical reports
  3. Marketing dashboards
  4. Vertical reports
  5. Short reports
  6. Long reports
  7. Proposal reports
  8. Internal reports
  9. Lateral reports
  10. Social media report
  11. Informal reports
  12. Informational reports
  13. External reports

Characteristics of an Essay

The characteristics of an essay include:

  1. The essay should be easy to read and comprehend. If this is the essence of communication generally, then your essay will not be it if it cannot pass across a message on its own.

When writing an essay, you should have your audience in mind and remember that any person may stumble on it.

  1. In an essay, the writer’s idea should flow neatly without beating around the bush.

Well, this depends on the level of formality. Some people write essays to people very close to them instead of letters; in that case, no one will be restricting you not to beat around anywhere.

  1. An essay is always single centered

Reports could go as far as having subheadings, but that is not the case with essays. When working on an essay, you should be very direct to hit the point of the piece. There is usually just a point you are expected to get.

difference between an essay and a report

For instance, you may be asked to write a story ending with, “That was the worst experience I have had at college.”

  1. In an essay, there is no changing point of view

In addition to the previous point, you already know where you are heading from the beginning of your write-up when working on an essay. Hence, your central point consistently remains one regardless of whatever happens along the line.

Characteristics of A Report

The Characteristics Of A Report Include:

  1. It contains a heading and a subheading, and other sections.

Because of this feature, many well-written reports turn out to serve as guidebooks at the tail end. Since you are not expected to tell stories in a report, your analysis should be made simple with the inclusion of subheadings.

  1. It can contain diagrams, charts, and graphs.

Since reports are expected to be non-fictional, you are free to include materials such as visuals in your writing, provided it will help to increase the chances of your audience understanding that your report is genuine.

  1. It has both an independent conclusion and recommendation
  2. It presents past information on events.

Difference Between An Essay And A Report

  1. The essay is single-centered, while a report has a heading and a subheading and is divided into different sections.
  2. Drawing:

Oh! Do you think you need a pencil to draw for an English exam that requires an essay from you? Then, you are getting it all wrong unless instruction demands it.

The essay does not have any form of graphical representation, while the report contains graphs, charts, and diagrams. So you do not want to employ the sense of reporting as a Biologist in English, for instance.

Please do not get confused because we have different types of essays, including the descriptive form. None of the forms of essays encourages or requires you to draw a diagram.

Therefore, in an essay, we can say you are required to make your pictures clear with your choice of words. Yes, creativity demands that you turn your words into pictures in the mind of your readers as a good essayist.

And as a result of this, to make a good essay, one may have to go back to look at the basic topics in literature, especially the figure of speech, which includes ‘imagery.’ Learn to use the right words at the right time and avoid using vague verbs, unless in a rare case – perhaps, to tease your audience’s brain.

  1. The essay evolves only in the writer’s presentation of ideas and views while the report presents past information of different events, e.g., research and inquiries.
  2. The essay does not have to be factual, while the report has to be factual.

On no account should a report which, for instance, might go as far as getting published, be written from a person’s imagination.

Unlike essays, reports must be done very carefully and exacting.

Similarities Between Report and Essay

It is not a crime if you sometimes mistake a report for an essay, especially when you have not done a practical on the two types of writing.

But now that we have discussed their differences, can we look at what these two have in common?

If any, then the introduction, body, and conclusion features of writing present in the two can make good similarities.

Although they can appear similar at times, you should be able to differentiate between an essay and a report anywhere. Thanks for reading, and do not forget to check out other helpful articles on our website.

About Abayomi

Abayomi is an education student and a certified content and prolific writer in Nigeria who is concerned with serving scholars across all nations with in-depth research and quality content.

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