What is the Difference between an Essay and a Report?
A report is a piece of informative writing that describes a set of actions and analyses any results in response to a specific brief. A quick definition might be: “This is what I did and this is what it means.”
You may also have assignments which are not called reports but which are still pieces of informative writing; for instance, some dissertations and project write-ups fall into this category.
A good way to understand the key features of reports is to see how they differ from essays as a type of academic writing.
Informative and fact-based
Written with a specific purpose and reader in mind
Written in a style appropriate to each section
Always include section headings
Sometimes use bullet points
Often include tables or graphs
Offer recommendations for action
Argumentative and idea-based
Not written with a specific reader in mind
Written in single narrative style throughout
Usually do not include sub-headings
Usually do not include bullet points
Rarely include tables or graphs
Offer conclusions about a question