A journal is a written personal response which usually includes opinions, feelings, and impressions. An example journal entry is “What I Miss Most About My Home Country”:
An essay is about one to five paragraphs. An essay is very clear and concise, and includes a brief introduction and conclusion. Usually essays are requested on tests or for short response papers.
Here is an example:
Which of your possessions would be the most difficult for you to give up? Describe why.
A report is usually a formal explanation of a topic. It can vary in size anywhere from three to ten or more pages. It does not use a reference style like MLA or APA. Here is an example paragraph.
A descriptive paper or paragraph is one which uses very specific details and imagery to “paint a picture” in the reader’s mind. Papers are usually very specific and capture a very brief moment of time. Here is an example paragraph:
This type of paper is used to show the differences between to topics or objects. For example, a teacher might ask students to compare and contrast the differences between the U.S. today and fifty years ago. Words such as “in comparison” or “in contrast” or “differing in opinion/view” are often used. Conclusions are not drawn, but differences can be shown. Here is an example paragraph:
This type of paper is usually used to persuade the audience of a certain viewpoint. An example topic is “Why People Should Not Smoke.” (example — coming soon!)
A research paper is the most formal paper which explicitly states a thesis and supports details with previous research citations. See examples here.
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