Reports and abstracts are the basic elements of independent work when teaching in schools, colleges and universities. They have several differences, and an understanding of the principles of their writing directly affects the teacher’s assessment.
An abstract is a voluminous presentation of a problem, a story about an event or an individual, based on one or more reliable sources. Abstracts involve the preparation of information on a certain topic and a coherent story about it. This type of work is often used in seminars, when the teacher implies an independent study of the topic. Preparing an abstract, it isn’t necessary to analyze several opposing views on the problem, to consider its origins and consequences. It is enough to reveal the topic most fully and show its aspects. Usually the abstract is prepared for no more than 5-7 minutes. The message should be completely devoid of subjective assessments and written in a strictly clichéed language.
In the composition there are an introductory part, where the topic is justified and the tasks, the body and the conclusion summarizing the main provisions are put.
A report is a detailed message containing a unique analysis of the topic. Unlike the abstract, the report not only informs listeners about the problem, but also reveals its meaning, primary sources, a possible solution. Working on the report, the speaker independently comprehends his topic on the basis of several sources.
The composition of the report highlights the rationale for the problem and the author’s detailed arguments about its solution. Arguments can be either linear, clearly structured, or branched. All author’s decisions should be deduced on the basis of logical arguments and authoritative sources. Often at the end of the report, a discussion is arranged, additional questions are asked of the author.
The main difference between these two forms of communication is that the abstract is a simple presentation of the topic on the basis of objective sources, and the report is a reasoned analysis of the problem. The abstract has a clear structure and language, while the bulk of the report can be drafted in an arbitrary manner, and the info accepts subjective, expressive coloring.