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What Are the Different Types of Science Essays?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Writing science essays may be necessary for students and professionals who are studying any type of science. There are many different types of science essays, including lab report or process essays, expository papers, scientific reviews, and argumentative essays. Science essays may also vary in terms of tone; while some may be meant for general readers, some for students, and others for professionals in a scientific field.

A lab report is a type of essay frequently used in basic science education. These essays record the processes used to conduct an experiment, as well as the initial expectations and final conclusions about the experiment. A lab report usually starts by explaining the hypothesis of the experiment, or what the writer is trying to discover by the experiment. The essay will then go on to describe the experiment itself, how it was performed, what materials were used, and what raw data was gained in the process. Finally, the lab report may include a conclusion based on an analysis of the raw data, which may prove, disprove, or partially prove the initial hypothesis.

Expository science essays are used to explain a scientific concept. For instance, a topic for an expository essay might be “How does Photosynthesis Work?” The writer would then go on to explain what photosynthesis is, and how it works in nature. Expository essays help define scientific ideas, and are frequently used as teaching tools. Students may be asked to write expository science essays to determine their knowledge of a particular scientific topic.

A scientific review is similar to an expository essay, but requires the writer to understand scientific research, rather than a scientific process itself. A review paper typically summarizes major theories or research in a particular area of science that may not have a definitive answer. For instance, one question that eludes science in the 21st century is how to cure cancer. A scientific review on this issue might summarize theories, hypothesis, and current experiments being performed to determine how to cure cancer. The writer of a scientific review does not need to draw conclusions about which theory is best or what the ultimate answer to the question is, he or she simply needs to research and understand the science being explored in the area.

An argumentative essay, which is used in many different fields of essay writing, attempts to prove a scientific point. Like a lab report, an argumentative essay draws on previous research and experimentation as evidence. Unlike a lab report, however, an argumentative essay starts with a hypothesis that the rest of the essay will attempt to prove, instead of allowing the results of the experiment to alter the initial hypothesis. Argumentative essays are often used in scientific fields where there are few simple answers, and may be hotly debated by other scientists with different viewpoints.

The tone of science essays often depends on the intended audience. Science essays for the general public typically contain fewer scientific terms, and may include careful explanations of basic scientific concepts. By contrast, science essays written by college science majors or professional scientists are usually written for an audience with an extensive scientific education, and may seem like gibberish to the general reader. Science essays written for younger students, such as for elementary school textbooks, may attempt to explain scientific ideas in very basic, broad terms that can be understood by young children.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for Practical Adult Insights. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
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Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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