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Athabasca University

Essays and Reports

Because the field of environmental studies is so diverse, students need to be prepared to communicate in a wide variety of formats. In terms of academic writing, the two most common forms of assignments you are likely to encounter are essays and reports. These two types of academic writing are often confused. Essays are quite different from reports even though they share the following characteristics: formal writing style, careful and accurate presentation, and academic referencing. Below you will find a short description of each along with some good sites that can help you in preparing essays and reports.

Essays

An essay is a piece of writing in which the student discusses, describes and analyses a particular subject. In this way, the purpose of the essay is to answer a certain question or a few closely related questions by developing and presenting an argument. The student answers the research question and supports his or her arguments by providing evidence, by citing other academic sources, and by challenging differing arguments or points of view. Click on the following links for help in writing an essay.

Reports

Reports are descriptive and informational and do not contain arguments. Instead, a report is a written document that describes the findings or results about a specific question or investigation. Additionally, a report may offer solutions or recommendations to the reader based on an analysis of the results of the investigation. Reports are organized into sections. Click on the following link for report help.

Updated November 26 2014 by Students & Academic Services

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