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Most Frequently Assigned Types of Papers

University students face the necessity to develop a certain type of a paper on the regular basis. The educational process covers different types of academic assignments, which should be successfully performed if you want to get A-grades. In oder to cope with all written tasks effectively, first of all, you should differentiate between the most popular types of work you are going to be assigned sooner or later.

There is a wrong opinion that all university papers have the same structure. Every type of the written assignment should be carefully studied before you start writing. Get acquainted with the frequently assigned papers you will not be able to avoid studying in the university. Among them there are such as the research essay, literature review, an annotated bibliography, a reflective journal, critical review or analytical review, case study, lab/practical or experiment write up, and a project report. Each type of work should be written in accordance with the individual features. Make sure you know the difference between the above-mentioned paper types and check out which distinctive characteristics they have.

Task Purpose Audience Tone Structure
Research essay
    • Answer a question
    • Present an argument based on facts
    • Peers
    • Academic community
    • Factual
    • Concise
    • Logical flow
    • Clear structure
    • Active voice
    • Intro
    • Body
    • Conclusion
    • Usually without headings
Lab/prac report
    • To explain what you did
    • To draw conclusions
    • Peers
    • Researchers wanting to replicate
    • Past tense
    • Step by step
    • Clear
    • Objective
    • Passive voice
    • Intro
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • (IMRD) – headings
Case study (report)
    • Examine a situation
    • Identify positives and negatives
    • Make recommendations
    • Professionals – not always academics
    • Politicians
    • Public
    • Factual
    • Authoritative
    • Concise
    • Easy to follow
    • Numbered headings
    • Table of contents
    • Executive summary
Review of an article
    • Evaluate or critique the data, research methods and results
    • Peers
    • Interested people in your profession
    • Analytical
    • Evaluative
    • Present tense
    • Active voice
    • No headings
    • Brief summary
    • Comment on quality of work
Literature review
    • Identify key ideas across literature
    • Understand current thinking
    • Find a ‘gap’ for research
    • Researchers
    • Academics
    • Fellow professionals
    • Formal
    • Objective
    • Tentative opinions based on text
    • Intro, body, conclusion without headings
    • Explanation of similarities and differences plus critical comment
Annotated bibliography
    • Identify key articles on a topic
    • Evaluate usefulness of articles in relation to topic
    • Inform others
    • Researchers
    • Academics
    • Fellow professionals
    • Formal
    • Objective
    • Title of work listed alphabetically by author
    • Indented 1-2 paragraph summary and critique in relation to topic
Reflective journal
    • Identify your understanding
    • Reflect on your thinking
    • Understand how and what you have learned
    • Yourself
    • Conversational
    • Thinking aloud
    • Can use “I”
    • Not necessarily formal, but still clear
    • Refers to text, lectures and practical situations
    • Links between formal learning and personal meaning
Project report
    • To report on work done or a plan for work to be done
    • Often for an outside organisation, such as an NGO or government
    • Factual
    • Past tense (for work completed)
    • Future tense for proposed work
    • Present tense to describe current situation
    • Title page
    • Acknowledgements
    • Executive summary or abstract
    • Table of contents
    • Intro and body (no heading)
    • Conclusion / recommendations
    • References or bibliography
    • Glossary
    • Appendices

Table was taken from www.ua.edu.au

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