S: So, all types of university writing are essays, aren't they, really?
L: Well, people use "essays" in different ways. Some people say "essay" and just mean any type of university writing. But in our classification, it means something more specific. It's where you have to argue a point of view. You have to look at the evidence and make an argument based on the evidence. And usually you have to answer a very specific question that the lecturer will have given you.
S: So, I've got to say what I think.
L: Yes, it's not just what you think, it's what you can argue based on the evidence, and that's what they'll look at. But your argument might be different from someone else's.
S: So, I can't just copy somebody else's work.
L: No, and it's not like an explanation where everyone will have the same answer.
S: OK. Thanks.