It is easy to get confused about the difference between literature reviews and essays because these two writing structures can be based on the same research. However, the main difference is on where the emphasis is placed.
The purpose of an essay is to use what is known about a subject to prove an argument or point of view. Not all of the knowledge of a topic may be used in an essay, but only what is relevant to the argument. In an essay, mentioning the people who discovered or developed the knowledge is generally only for referencing purposes.
On the other hand, a literature review is designed to be a critical analysis of all the knowledge that has been discovered about a subject. Its purpose is to examine all that others have already discovered about the subject and the researchers working on the subject are considered to be key.
At a sentence level, one way to emphasise a particular aspect of a subject is to place that aspect at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs.
In an essay, where the focus is on the knowledge itself, it is put to the front of sentences. For example:
Playing computer and video games have risen dramatically in popularity. It is estimated that three billion hours of gaming are played globally each week. The major reason for this is because players are able to tap into a high level of emotional satisfaction that is difficult to experience in everyday life (McGonigal, 2011).
However, in literature reviews what is considered to be more important are the authors and researchers who found or developed the information. Therefore they appear at the beginning of sentences.
Jane McGonigal (2011) estimates that three billion hours of gaming are played globally every week. Her research suggests that the major reason for this is because players are able to tap into a high level of emotional satisfaction that is difficult to experience in everyday life.
This is not to say that both kinds of sentences can be used in both types of writing. However, the overall trend for essays is to emphasise the information, whereas for literature reviews the trend is to emphasise the authors.
For more on the differences between the structure of essays and the structure of literature reviews, check out QUT Cite|Write
What's the Difference Between Term Paper and Essay?
Is there really a different between a term paper and an essay? Some often don’t think about since people tend to use each term interchangeably as if they are the same thing. By the time you get to college, writing essays and term papers is something you are familiar with from grade school and high school. Yet, there are differences between each that should be understood so that when you are expected to write either paper, you can produce content expected for the assignment.
Term Paper Description
A term paper may be referred to as a research paper in some cases. They express viewpoints regarding a specific topic while allowing the writing to bring in personal ideas and insight. They are often longer than an essay while averaging about 8 pages in length. Term papers may require extensive research and thorough understand of the subject matter prior to writing the paper. The writer often has the task of comparing information and then presenting their findings or results.
A topic or subject is chosen and research is completed about it. Analytical, cause & effect and argumentative types of papers are prime examples. The writer also evaluates and compiles research data. The information is restructured to provide a unique viewpoint of the writer. Citations are included to note where data came from used to provide supporting evidence.
Essay Paper Description
With an essay you detail your point of view with less information. Essays are usually shorter in length with an average of 5 paragraphs. Some may find them easier to write since you don’t need a complete understanding of the subject matter. These assignments are often given to students to help develop personal writing skills. Thoughts are presented in a logical manner. There are different essay types including narrative, academic and philosophical. College level essays are usually academic and may be based on something they read or specific literature. In this case, the writer evaluates what they read buy summarizing details and providing clarity on the subject. Personal thoughts of the writer and perceptions of the reading audience may be included. Overall, the paper is organized well with appropriate examples and factual information.
How Understanding the Difference Can Help Improve Your Paper
You know what to expect when it comes time to complete research. You can get appropriate help when needed and know what sources may be best depending on what you are writing about.
Tips to consider
Start writing with brainstorming.Any essay or research paper start with creating an interesting and unique topic. Most students find it hard to make up a topic that would interest the professor. The easiest solution is check the available college paper examples available online for free use. Read the topics, write down the ones you like, conduct a research and give birth to a great topic of your own. The alternative way is to read a newspapers, watch a television program and write about any current issue going on in the world.
Proofread and edit your draft.Make sure to check your final draft before submitting it to your school. Most students are so happy they've finally finished writing their essay or research paper, they forget to spell-check and search for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Most professional writers even use the help of editors (and actually pay them for their services) to ensure the paper is coherent, well-structured and flows well.