When first given an assignment from your course instructor, it is important to make sure you understand exactly what your instructor is looking for both in terms of the content of your assignment and its form. 

Feel free to consult SPARK’s worksheet to understanding your assignment. 

Below are resources to help guide you to write common types of papers. 

Annotated bibliographies vary in size, depth and scope according to their purpose. Generally an annotated bibliography consists of two parts:

Part 1: A list of books, articles and documents that are most often organized alphabetically by the author’s last name using a particular bibliographic style (e.g., MLA, APA or Chicago).

Part 2: Each item in the list is followed by an annotation. The annotation may include such things as a summary of the item, an evaluation of the item, and a description of how the item might be used. Annotations can vary in length from a few sentences to several pages. Most commonly, instructors ask for 100-400 word annotations.

View SPARK’s guide to Annotated Bibliographies

View uOttawa’s Guide to Annotated Bibliographies

Common in North American universities is the general three-part persuasive form known as the Anglo-American Essay Form. An essay following this form repeats its main ideas three times with different degrees of depth and length: once in an introduction; again in the body; and finally in the conclusion.

  • An introduction tells your reader what they should expect the essay to discuss (the topic), how the discussion will proceed (a road map for what’s to come) and what conclusion you will reach (often in the form of a thesis statement).
  • The body of the essay contains the detailed presentation and discussion (analysis) of information, evidence, models, alternatives and reasons for the positions you or the authors being considered are taking.
  • A conclusion reminds your reader of the most important points of discussion and analysis, and comes to a decision (or decisions) about them.

View Purdue’s Guide to the University Essay

View Glendon’s Transition Guide to University Writing

View uOttawa’s Guide to the University Essay

A thesis or academic project is based on original research and thought developed by the writer. Students who take part in this level of writing are usually at the graduate level.

View the University of Toronto’s Guide to Research Proposals

View uOttawa’s Guide to Research Proposals

A critical review is the summary and analysis of a text. It goes further than a personal opinion—it evaluates this text by explaining and assessing both its content and its structure. 

View Univerity of Waterloo’s Guide to Book Reviews

View University of Toronto’s Guide to Article Critique

View uOttawa’s Guide to Critical Reviews

A lab report is the account of a scientific experiment that was conducted in a laboratory. It not only describes the experiment, but also explains its results and their possible significance.

View University of Toronto’s Guide for Science Writing

View uOttawa’s Guide for Lab Reports

A summary is the condensed version of a text. It reduces this text to its core, and reproduces its structure by presenting its main ideas in the same order and proportion. 

View uOttawa’s Guide for Summaries

View Trent University’s Guide to Reflective Writing