Writing essays & reports

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Many assignments you complete during your high-school years will be structured as either an essay or a report. But what is the difference?

Essays generally include an introduction, body and conclusion, linking ideas together in a continuous series of paragraphs. The main aim of an essay is to discuss perspectives on an issue, constructing an argument for a particular point of view.

Reports are broken up into sections with clear headings, and may include features such as dot points, tables, graphs and diagrams. The aim of a report is to present facts and information as clearly as possible using concise paragraphs.

For more information, and an example of each, visit this Essay/Report Writing page from Queensland TAFE.


Pre-writing, note-taking and developing a thesis

The Essay Question
Break the question into smaller parts so you can manage your work more easily.

The Writing Process: A Checklist
Use this checklist to help plan the amount of time you will spend on each task.

Taking good notes is very important when writing a successful essay.

Writing a Thesis

Thesis Builder
Develop an outline for a persuasive essay by filling in the fields.

Compose a Thesis Statement
A simple explanation demonstrating how to write a thesis statement.

So You Have to Write an Essay?
Check out this visual presentation that walks you through the steps of writing a cohesive essay.

Planning your essay or report

Prewriting Strategies for Organising Ideas
How to review your notes and organise the information you have collected into an essay outline.

Making an Outline from the Top Down
A handy step-by-step guide with examples to help you organise your essay outline.


Essay Plan Outline (Word document)
A useful template to help plan your essay structure.

Essay Planners
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see planning sheets for different types of essays.

Scaffolds to Develop Extended Response Answers
Use the templates below to help you structure different styles of essays.

Graphic Organisers: Writing
Includes templates for a number of different types of writing including reports, newspaper articles, expository essays, and thesis essays.

Comparison and Contrast Writing
How to structure a piece of writing that compares and contrasts two different things.

Writing your essay or report

Guide to Writing Successfully
Scroll down for a list suggested linking words to use in your essay or report.

Writing Process
How to write a great introduction, body and conclusion.

Essay Writing (In a Test or Exam Situation)
An interactive resource that shows you how to read essay questions carefully in order to find the key concepts and recognise the main instruction terms used.

Writing Paragraphs

Steps for Paragraph Writing
A simple guide showing how to construct a good paragraph.

Outlining a Multi-Point Paragraph
How to write an effective paragraph that includes a topic sentence, main points and a concluding sentence.

Write a Paragraph by Making a Sandwich!
Goes into more detail about writing a paragraph using the sandwich analogy.

Writing an Introduction and Conclusion

Write the Introduction and Conclusion
A simple explanation of what needs to be covered in an introduction and conclusion.

Components of an Introduction
Outlines what should be included in your introduction.

Using Quotes

Using quotes
Choose the right quotes, and use them to make your argument more convincing.

Introducing Quotations and Building a Paragraph around a Quotation
How to include and introduce a quote within a paragraph.

Referencing & Bibliographies
Visit this page to learn more about in-text referencing, paraphrasing and summarising.

Finalising your essay or report

Add the Finishing Touches
Check the assignment instructions and your writing.

The Editing Process
Tips and hints for editing and proof-reading your work.

Referencing & Bibliographies
Visit this page to learn more about writing a bibliography.

Sample essays

Sample Essay Outline – Basic
Includes a thesis and the main points of each paragraph.

Sample Essay Outline – Detailed
Using the same topic as the basic essay outline above, this outline goes into more detail by including explanations and examples to support the thesis.

Example essay
Another useful example essay that puts theory into practice.

Using images, video & music in your assignments

photographing-480219_640Many images, audio clips and video clips available on the internet are copyrighted, which means you need permission from the owner to use these materials in your assignment.

If an image (or audio or video clip) is licensed under Creative Commons, it means you can use it in your assignment as long as you follow some simple steps. Go to the Creative Commons page and scroll down to the section called ‘Finding Images and Music for your Assignments’ for more information.