An essay paper is a written document that is generally completed in an academic setting. An essay paper is a type of assignment that is written in report format. Essay papers are a common assignment for students, as they help a teacher assess whether or not a student has learned from a particular lesson and they help students express their thoughts, research, or opinions.
Essay papers are generally perceived to be a less formal report than many other types of academic writings. Essay papers do, however, have a standard format that a student should follow. In general, the report report should be outlined according to the inverted pyramid structure, wherein the broadest amount of information is contained in the beginning of the document and the conclusion is contained in the last paragraph.
Each paragraph within the document should also be formatted like an inverted pyramid with the general topic of the paragraph placed at the beginning of the paragraph and the conclusion of the paragraph placed in the last sentence.
Essay papers are distinct from other forms of academic writing because they always include a thesis. The report itself should defend the thesis in each paragraph. The thesis should be included at the beginning or the end of the introductory paragraph, which is the first paragraph of the report. A thesis statement basically tells the reader what he or she will learn from the report.
The essay paper can have as many body paragraphs as necessary after the introduction. Each body paragraph should represent a separate idea, share new information, and support the thesis. The final paragraph, or conclusion to the report, should tie the report together with a common conclusion or theme that can be derived from information included in each paragraph.
Many essay papers also have a title page, reference section, and appendices. Different professors or teachers generally have their own requirements for what information and format needs to be included on these pages.
An essay paper is not a report, though the two can be similar. A research paper is a document that describes a body of research, including the problem that led to the research, the methodology and steps taken during research, variables that impact results, and the conclusion of the research.
An essay paper, however, is an academic document that is written in order to express ideas or share information. It does not describe the process by which a student derived information or ideas, in most cases. Moreover, an essay paper can be written based on a report, but a research paper cannot be written on an essay paper.
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