10 Difference between Essay and Report (With Table)

What is the main difference between essay and report? An essay pertains to a literary technique wherein nearly all aspects of a subject are thoroughly explored or articulated. A report serve as the documentation and comprehensive analysis of the discoveries and suggestions derived from practical research.

In the realm of academic writing, students frequently come across two prevalent types of assignments: essays and reports. While these assignments share certain resemblances, they also possess marked distinctions.

This piece aims to delve into the contrasting characteristics of essays and reports, with a particular emphasis on their objectives, structures, and writing approaches.

Difference between Essay and Report with Table

Basic Terms Essay Report
Purpose To explore, argue, or present a viewpoint. To convey information, findings, or data.
Structure Typically divided into introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Often structured with sections like title page, executive summary, introduction, methodology, findings, and conclusion.
Length Varies in length but usually concise, around 1,000 to 2,500 words. Can be shorter or longer, depending on the topic and purpose, ranging from a few pages to extensive documents.
Style More narrative, often persuasive or analytical, with a personal voice. Tends to be more formal and objective, with a focus on conveying facts and data.
Audience General or academic audience; may aim to engage and persuade. Specific audience, such as business professionals, policymakers, or researchers; aims to inform or make recommendations.
Citation May include citations but often more flexible in citation style. Requires consistent and formal citation, following a specific style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
Personal Opinion Allows for the expression of personal opinions and subjective analysis. Typically avoids personal opinions, emphasizing objective presentation of data.
Conclusion     Often includes a restatement of the thesis and final thoughts. Concludes with summaries, findings, recommendations, or actionable insights.
Use of Headings Less common; may use subheadings for organization. Frequently uses headings and subheadings for clear organization and readability.
Visual Elements May include visuals like charts, graphs, or images to illustrate points. Frequently includes visual elements to support data and findings, such as charts, tables, and graphs.

What Is Essay?

An essay is a written composition that presents a focused and organized discussion or exploration of a particular topic, idea, or argument. Essays are a common form of academic, literary, and creative writing and are characterized by several key features:

Thesis Statement: An essay typically begins with a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the main argument or purpose of the essay.

Structure: Essays follow a specific structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This structure allows for the logical presentation of ideas and arguments.

Supporting Evidence: Arguments and claims in an essay are supported by evidence, which may include examples, data, quotes, or references to authoritative sources.

Coherence: Essays are expected to be coherent, with ideas flowing logically from one point to the next. Transitions and topic sentences help maintain this coherence.

Analysis: Essays often involve critical thinking and analysis, where the writer evaluates, interprets, or critiques the topic or subject matter.

Clarity and Conciseness: Effective essays are clear, concise, and free from unnecessary jargon or verbosity. They communicate ideas effectively to the intended audience.

Variety of Types: Essays come in various forms, such as argumentative, persuasive, expository, narrative, and descriptive, each with its own unique characteristics and objectives.

What Is Report?

A report is a formal and structured document that presents information, data, findings, or recommendations on a specific topic, issue, or problem. Reports are typically written for a targeted audience, such as business professionals, government officials, researchers, or stakeholders, and they serve various purposes:

Information Dissemination: Reports convey objective and factual information, often gathered through research, investigation, or analysis.

Problem-Solving: Some reports are designed to address specific problems or challenges, offering solutions or recommendations.

Decision-Making: Reports provide the necessary data and analysis to support informed decision-making processes.

Documentation: They serve as records of events, actions, or research, preserving information for future reference.

Accountability: Reports may be used to document the performance or progress of projects, organizations, or individuals, ensuring accountability.

Main Difference between Essay and Report

  1. An essay serves as a concise literary composition for presenting and analyzing ideas, while a report is a formal document that communicates research findings.
  2. Essays blend subjective analysis with personal ideas, while reports maintain objectivity by relying on past research and current data.
  3. Essays incorporate general facts and the writer’s opinions in a non-fictional manner. Conversely, reports offer information that aids in identifying facts or supports decision-making and problem-solving.
  4. Reports are structured with sections featuring engaging headings, while essays follow a continuous flow but are divided into coherent paragraphs.
  5. Reports use visuals like tables, charts, graphs, and statistics for clarity, whereas essays typically do not include such elements.
  6. Essay conclusions reflect the writer’s personal opinions and tend to be optimistic, lacking recommendations for future actions. Reports provide impartial conclusions, potentially including expert opinions and recommendations for further research and improvement.

Similarities between Essay and Report

  1. Both are written documents.
  2. They require clear and coherent writing.
  3. Proper grammar, punctuation, and style are essential in both.
  4. Both may require citations and references.
  5. They serve as means of conveying information or ideas.
  6. Both should have a well-organized structure.
  7. An introduction and conclusion are common elements in both.


In conclusion, while essays and reports are both written forms of communication, they serve distinct purposes and exhibit notable differences in their characteristics and structures.

Essays are primarily vehicles for presenting, analyzing, and discussing ideas or viewpoints, often incorporating subjective analysis and personal opinions.

In contrast, reports are formal documents intended to convey objective information, research findings, or recommendations, maintaining objectivity and utilizing data and past research.

The structural variances are evident, with essays featuring a continuous flow of text divided into paragraphs, while reports are organized into sections with informative headings for clarity. Additionally, reports often employ visual aids like charts and tables, enhancing data presentation.

Finally, their conclusions differ significantly, as essays express personal opinions and optimism, while reports provide impartial conclusions with recommendations for further research or action.

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