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The main differences between the essay and coursework

The main differences between the essay and coursework

First-year students do not always understand the difference between the various types of academic papers is, what to focus on when writing them. In this article, we will compare essays and coursework, and talk about the peculiarities of their writing and defense.

The essay and the coursework

The essay – is a message on a given scientific or another topic, which is a summary of information taken from magazines, textbooks, various publications, articles, studies, special literature, and other sources, united by a common theme.

Coursework – a research paper on a topic set by the supervisor, where in addition to the theoretical part, which is concise structured information, there are conclusions of the author based on his thoughts and analysis. In addition, coursework is usually different from the abstract in the presence of a practical, calculated-graphic, or reporting part, confirming the conclusions of the author.

So, the main difference between the two is that:

  • for the essay, the student is required to find theoretical information in various sources on a predetermined topic with existing conclusions and combine it into a logically structured text;
  • for the coursework, in addition to similar processing found material, it is necessary to make its analysis, present your thoughts, conduct practical research (calculations) on the topic under study, and make your conclusions based on them. There is a creative component to the process.

Criteria for difference, list

There are both similarities and differences between the coursework and the essay.

The similarity is that both are written scientific works and when writing them it is necessary to follow some general rules. The difference between them is that they have a fundamental difference in:

  • the author’s position;
  • purpose;
  • the task;
  • content;
  • the structure (the way of presenting information);
  • volume.

Procedures for defending coursework and essays are also different. The deadlines for writing these academic papers are also different. Since writing an essay is a relatively uncomplicated task, it is easy to cope in a day or two. Writing coursework requires a more serious approach and preparation, it is better to work on it gradually, over several weeks.

The focus of the work

The purpose of the essay – is to carry out theoretical and analytical systematization of the information found on a given topic. The main task – is to arrange logically the data in such a way that they can be used for further work.

The point of writing an essay is to demonstrate the actual problem to be able to discuss ways to solve it in the future or to confirm scientific facts. This type of work does not require a statement of the subjective opinion of the author. But in some cases (for example, when considering contradictory hypotheses) elements of analysis are allowed.

The purpose of the coursework is to conclude a given topic based on the available information. The task is to demonstrate one’s ability to analyze data and conduct research activities. The point of writing a coursework is to justify the possibility of applying the researched scientific topic in practice with the obligatory presentation of the author’s position.

Here the author not just logically builds scientific information, but also applies theoretical knowledge in experimental conditions, and confirms them with practical calculations and conclusions.

The volume of the work

One of the key differences in the volume of these works. Since the essay is a simpler work, its volume is less than that of coursework:

Usually, the recommended size of the essay is from 15 to 20 pages, if the teacher did not limit it to other frameworks. In less than 15 pages you are unlikely to be able to fully disclose the topic, given that the specified volume includes a list of references for about 2 pages.

The size of the coursework is about twice as big. When writing it is recommended to stick to the volume of 30 to 45 pages, if the supervisor is not given other parameters. Coursework of more than 50 pages is already closer to the diploma project. The briefer and concise you learn to state the main ideas, the easier it will be to prepare for the defense of the coursework. Since the work is extremely hard to do and present, many students turn to write my essay service for help.

Defending an essay and coursework

The process of defending an essay consists of partially reading it out loud. It is necessary to pay special attention to the main theses. About 5 minutes are given for this. The main purpose of the teacher – is to understand what level of work with sources the student has, whether he could find all the necessary information and whether he could structure it logically and correctly.

Does the work correspond to the assigned volume and the announced topic? How accessible and interesting is the material? Is the topic fully covered? Is the work written carelessly, or did the student put maximum effort? On this basis, it is recommended that the student carefully rehearse his presentation, not to delay and emphasize the fundamental points.

The process of defending coursework is its presentation. It is necessary to acquaint the members of the commission with all the components of the scientific work, tell about the work done, demonstrate practical materials, and focus on the conclusions. The time for this is from 5 to 10 minutes.

Unlike the abstract, the purpose of writing a term paper is to demonstrate the student’s research skills. In-depth research and new scientific discoveries are not required. The student needs to show that he or she can analyze both theoretical and practical information and make his or her conclusions based on it.


An original article about The main differences between the essay and coursework by Kokou Adzo · Published in

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