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How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by step guide
While some essays are mainly based on opinions and emotions, others require irrefutable evidence. Going through various research materials helps one to come up with proof that their arguments are correct. Argumentative essays are some of those pieces of writing that are more objective than subjective. You have to take a side by providing credible reasons as to why your point of view is the right one. Argumentative essays are some of the most common ones that students encounter in the course of their studies. However, they still find it difficult to come up with a flawless paper without the use of outside help.
What is an argumentative essay and how to write it?
To start with, one has to understand what makes a perfect argumentative essay. It is a piece of academic writing where a writer uses supporting evidence to convince the reader about a stand they take. The writing skills are mandatory to ensure that there is a flow of the information provided. However, the writer must also conduct thorough research to come up with evidence that strengthens their point of view. The audience must feel that they have been provided with ideas that convince them to believe in the argument.
Types of arguments that can be adopted
Numerous arguments can help a writer produce a flawless argumentative essay. However, we will focus on three major ones: Classical, Rogerian and Toulmin arguments
This approach helps you when the reader has minimal information about your topic of discussion. It entails presenting a problem, stating your solution and trying to convince the reader why it is the right one. Since the reader has no strong opinion or adequate information, your task is to make them agree with you. This approach is also known as Aristotelian.
In this method, you present a problem and acknowledge its opposing arguments. You further state your opinion in the argument, explaining why your approach is the most suitable. This approach is used to polarize ideas where both sides do not seem to agree.
- Toulmin argument
This approach involves introducing your claim and backing it up. It also presents another claim that the opponent will also agree with, hence creating a neutral ground. This technique is also used in highly charged debates.
Structuring an argumentative essay
An argumentative essay takes the five-paragraph approach to present the ideas. However, others are longer than that especially when the writer has to present data from own research. The first paragraph is the introduction, the next three present the arguments while the least is the conclusion.
Your introduction plays a crucial role in determining the reader’s attitude towards your entire argumentative essay. It would be disappointing to be judged from a poor introduction while the rest of the essay is intriguing. Therefore, make a habit of grabbing the audience’s attention from the word go. You must introduce your topic, provide background information and introduce the main argument. The following techniques help in coming up with a perfect introduction;
- Use a hook to start your introduction
- Be concise
- Consider your readers’ emotions
- Have a clear thesis statement
How to write a thesis statement
A majority of students find it difficult to come up with a compelling thesis statement. This is the backbone of your essay and hence, should be carefully thought. The following tips can help you come up with an ideal thesis statement;
- Question/answer format
Come up with a question relevant to your topic and answer. This answer gives a perfect thesis statement.
- Refute objections
You can present two sides of an argument but refute one claim by using some proof to lean towards the other side. You can use words such as while, but, and nevertheless in such a thesis statement.
Use a statement that shows the ideas you intend to unveil in your arguments. This strategy states a claim, gives your opinion and the supporting points too.
Having grabbed your readers’ attention, you must keep them hooked throughout the entire essay. How you present and organize your arguments determines whether the audience remains interested in your work. The body paragraphs are the meat of your essay and need to be as spiced as possible. However, remember that this is an argumentative essay where credibility is essential. Divide your paragraphs according to the arguments you will present and conduct thorough research on each. Ensure that you cite other people’s work according to the required referencing styles.
In the first two paragraphs of the essay’s body paragraph, present the arguments that support your thesis statement. Provide facts, statistics, data and any other credible information to back up these arguments. Ensure that they are strong enough to sway the reader’s opinion and look at them from your point of view. In the third body paragraph, anticipate your rival’s opinion. Therefore, present the reader with a counterargument that differs from your prior arguments. Go further and explain why you stand against your rivals’ opinion. Again, ensure that you have credible evidence to help you do this.
Provide a summary of the arguments through the evidence presented. Do not restate the thesis statement, rather show how the evidence you give supports it. At this point, you should not introduce new ideas that were not covered in your arguments. However, you can use a personal experience to highlight a lesson you may have learned from such a topic. Ensure that your argumentative essay resembles a debate held with a friend or classmate. Your conclusion should, therefore, present the strongest opinion from the debate.
Argumentative Essay Post writing tips
Your essay remains a draft as long as you do not go through it after completion. Take time to proofread your work and identify any grammatical, punctuation, spelling or citation anomalies. Also, consider the flow of your work and if your arguments arrive at the intended point. Have you formulated your arguments appropriately? Can you easily identify the thesis statement and relate it to the entire essay? How strong are the arguments you have presented? You can also make use of a friend, classmate or professional to revise your work.
What is an analytical essay?
An analytical essay tries to come up with an in-depth understanding of a film, article, book or piece of research. Therefore, it goes beyond providing a summary of the entire piece. An analytical essay analyzes some concepts that have been adopted and why. As a writer, the content is more than meets the eye; you must provide evidence to every claim you make. When writing this type of essay, you must understand the author’s thoughts and intentions. This way, you can produce a complete analysis as to why the writer adopted the methods. You must thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of the piece you are analyzing.
Coming up with analytical essay topic
Some professors and teachers will assign a specific topic while others will leave it to the students’ creativity. Choose an area that has not been explored from all angles. Look at the issues you have learned in class and write down essays that may arise from them. Take your time to go through books, websites and scholarly articles gathering information on that area. Which of all those fields can have enough material for a perfect analytical essay? As you narrow down the possible areas, you will finally settle on the most appropriate one. Choose it as your topic and create a suitable title for your work. Having started here, you will easily remain relevant throughout your analysis.
Understand what the requirements for your analytical essay writing prompt
Your professor may give instructions that you must follow as you write your essay. If it is a book analysis, you may be asked to focus on specific characters. If it is scientific research, you could be required to concentrate on a certain methodology. It is up to you to determine what exactly you will analyze regarding that particular issue. Before writing your essay, you must be sure that the instructions are crystal clear. You can use sample essays of similar nature to get a starting point.
Choose your path
You can analyze the same topic in a variety of ways and it will still be correct. Of all the possibilities available, choose one with which you are most comfortable. Since this essay requires an in-depth understanding, you must portray such ability in your essay. Ensure that your path is one that produces a strong and appealing essay.
Writing the thesis statement
Your thesis statement lets the reader know where you stand in the issue being discussed. Avoid an ambiguous thesis statement; make it as brief and concise as possible. Consider a statement like “from research conducted by Bella Communications, despite creating an avenue for cyberbullying, social media has created a great platform for friendships, marketing, and fast communication”.
Create an outline
Your draft creates the skeleton for your essay by helping you organize your thoughts. Conduct intense research on the area of focus and note down crucial points. Be keen to point out material from credible sources and if necessary, quote the author. With a proper outline, you will find the thoughts flowing effortlessly in the actual essay. Identify what you will include in each paragraph, starting from the introduction down to the conclusion.
Writing an analytical essay
Start writing your essay once you are satisfied with the research materials gathered.
The introduction of your essay is your one chance to grab the reader’s attention; do not waste it. You can use a hook statement for this purpose, considering the type of work being analyzed and the audience. Emotional stories can start with a personal experience that will move the reader’s emotions. You can ask a rhetorical question that will leave the reader looking for answers. A shocking statistic that reveals unknown research can also be a great way of starting your essay. Give some relevant background information and then end your introduction with a well-crafted thesis statement.
Each paragraph in the body of your essay should relate to the thesis statement. You can identify at least three points of discussion for your topic and adopt the CEE criteria.
C- Claim: in the first sentence of each paragraph, identify the main point of discussion.
E- Example analysis: after introducing a claim, you must provide evidence that backs it up.
E- Evidence explanation: having presented a piece of underlying evidence, provide supporting facts, statistics, quotes, and so on.
These three parts of your essay must flow freely and relate to the thesis statement. You can quote or paraphrase your evidence, depending on the length. When the supporting words are few, quote them using the appropriate referencing format. However, when there is a long piece trying to prove a certain point, you can paraphrase to create a summary. Avoid quoting too much work within your essay. Your body paragraph should be rich in relevant and credible sources since they determine the strength of your arguments.
Your conclusion is a reinforcement of your thesis statement. Provide a summary that shows the reader how well you supported your thesis statement. Let the reader experience a smooth transition from the paragraphs to the conclusion. If you have arranged your work properly, this should not be a problem. End your work with some concluding thoughts or a question to the reader. Your end thoughts may be specific to the topic or extend to wider, yet relatable issues. Do not introduce new ideas while concluding your work.
Review your analytical essay
Take some time off before you can read what you have written, to allow you to view it from the audience’s perspective. Watch out for any errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. How is the overall flow of your essay? Are the points as clear as you intended them to be? Also, ensure that you have used the proper styles for the in-text citations. Most professors will require students to use APA, MLA or Chicago. If you have mentioned characters, ascertain that you have correctly spelled their names. Ask someone else to read your essay and give their thoughts on the piece. Are they struggling to understand what points you are driving home?
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Step by Step Guide
To compare means to identify similarities between certain objects. On the other hand, contrasting entails looking at the differences between them. Therefore, when evaluating the similarities and differences between subjects, then you are writing a compare and contrast essay. An effective essay requires that while they may have distinct characteristics, the subjects should be of comparable categories. For instance, it would be easier to compare and contrast writers of different literary works as opposed to a writer and a politician. Professors use such essays to evaluate students’ understanding of a particular subject. Before you proceed to learn how to start off a compare and contrast essay, let's look at the compare and contrast essay definition.
What is a compare and contrast essay?
Probably this is the first time you have been assigned such a writing task and you are wondering: What is a compare and contrast essay?
Definition of a compare and contrast essay:
Like the name sounds, a compare and contrast essay is a kind of essay that allows you to pick two things, peoples, or any object and you analyze their similarities and differences. In writing compare and contrast essays for school, you may find that your instructor requires you to use tables and charges to show similarities and differences between the items being analyzed.
Now, can you start a compare and contrast essay?
How to start a compare and contrast essay step by step
Here are 5 core steps you need to read before you start writing a compare and contrast essay.
1. Identify the topic
Assuming that the professor requires that you write any compare and contrast essay, then you need a topic. However, in most instances, you will be assigned the areas, theories of personalities to analyze. Citing the similarities and differences can be a small part of your exam, meaning no need for a long essay. However, assignments are assumed to have been allocated ample time. Therefore, the instructor might specify the number of words required in such a task. At this point, you must evaluate the most appropriate topic to fit into that word limit. An ideal topic discusses two subjects that possess some differences, yet belong to a certain group. You can talk about different historical occurrences, authors, theories, inventions, and much more.
Having selected the most suitable subjects to compare and contrast, what do you know about them? What makes them similar or different? Write down all the similarities and differences that are there. Conducting thorough research will help you to come up with the most appropriate points. Your essay, however, may require only three of each which means you will eventually narrow them down. The use of visual aids is a perfect way to have a clear picture of what you will discuss. You can use a table that lists the similarities in one column and differences on the other. Another efficient strategy is to use Venn diagrams. In the overlapping region, list the similarities while on the outside of each circle will be the differences. With such a list, it is easy to examine each point at a glance. Identify the main arguments from the listed points.
3. Choose an organizational structure
You can organize your compare and contrast essay in various ways. Hence, you must choose the one that best suits your paper and stick to it. Some of the structures you can adopt include;
- Topic by topic
This format starts with one object, discusses all the points, and then moves to the next in the subsequent paragraphs. The shortcoming in using this method is that it does not clearly show the similarities and differences. It is an easy one to use but does not meet the purpose of a compare and contrast essay satisfactorily.
- Point by point
This method simultaneously evaluates the different features or characteristics of distinct items. For instance, you can assess the cost-effectiveness, speed, memory, and graphics of apple and mac computers. Therefore, the reader will see how the features differ or compare to one another.
- Common and different
In this method, you start with the similarities between the objects and the transition to the differences. This format clearly shows what makes the subjects of discussion similar and what distinguishes them.
4. Outline your work
Draft an outline that is in line with the organizational structure you have chosen. Arrange what points will take which paragraph. You can assume the popular introduction, body and conclusion format to organize your ideas. However, since you are comparing two items, the body can take four paragraphs to balance the objects. An outline involves only identifying the key points and placing them in their appropriate positions.
5. Write a compare and contrast essay
Before deciding to write your essay, you should have gathered all the relevant material. Having a list of the similarities and differences is one thing while supporting those ideas is another. Your points must have sufficient evidence to prove their correctness.
Writing the compare and contrast essay introduction
Writing an introduction for a compare and contrast essay is the most critical step as it allows the reader to quickly identify the topics that you wish to find their similarities and differences. It is the best part to grab the attention of your reader.
Your compare and contrast essay introduction for your compare and contrast essay should let the reader know what objects you will be analyzing. It is not enough to merely write them; capture the reader’s attention too. Make the reader want to read through the entire content and learn more. You can start with some statistics, anecdotes or personal experience, depending on the type of objects. A brief background and a clear and concise thesis statement will show the point you are driving at. Your thesis statement can tell a contrast that may make it reasonable to choose one object over the other. Do not give the juicy details at this point; only a taste.
Great ways on how to start a compare and contrast essay - examples
There are various ways on how to start off a compare and contrast essay. Here are four great ways to do this and win the attention of the reader:
Cite real facts and statistics: Show your reader that the content discussed in your essay is backed by research by citing facts and statistics. Remember to cite the sources.
Start with a question: Provoke the thoughts of your reader by engaging them using a question
Start with a joke: An appropriate joke goes a long way in preparing the mind of the reader.
Start your essay with a quote: Find a quote that is related to your compare and contrast essay topic. Avoid cliches.
Body: How to write a compare and contrast essay paragraphs
It is in the body section where you write compare and contrast essay arguments. As earlier mentioned, the body of your essay depends on the organizational structure you choose. If using the topic by topic, give all the information about the subject one and then two. In each of the subjects, support with the relevant facts, figures, quotes or examples. The ideas being compared or contrasted between the two items must be the same. If using the point by point approach, use common characteristics to distinguish each of the items in separate paragraphs. Again, ensure that all the points are backed up with irrefutable evidence. If you are using the strategy where you first compare and then distinguish, start with the similarities. What evidence shows that these items are indeed similar? If you are comparing literary works, you can quote the authors’ writings. Use signal words such as similarly, likewise, regardless, on the other hand, on the contrary, and compared to, among others.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Compare and Contrast Essay
The conclusion of a compare and contrast essay summarizes your discussion while strengthening the thesis statement. A proper conclusion leaves a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. You can end the essay in a question or challenge to the audience. Remember to review your work for any errors such as punctuation, grammar, typos and the like. Using a peer to look at your work helps identify the mistakes that might escape your eye. You will also learn whether your points are clear and convincing.
You are now ready to submit your essay for grading.
Further steps on how to end a compare and contrast essay effectively
Here are some of the things on how to conclude a compare and contrast essay and ensure a good grade after you write the conclusion paragraphs.
Proofread and edit your essay - Go through the essay and check for grammatical mistakes.
Verify that all information has been well cited.
Format your essay based on your instructor’s guidelines.
Additional Resources for writing good compare and contrast papers
How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Rhetorical analysis essays are common pieces of academic writing in English classes. They equip students with critical thinking, analytical and reading skills. In a bid to come up with a flawless rhetorical analytical essay, learners must combine those three skills. They must tear apart a piece of writing, movie, television shows, and the likes, and then closely look at them. The reader convinces the reader why and how the author uses certain styles or techniques to achieve a certain purpose. The student may analyze a piece whose aim was to entertain, educate, warn or instill some values. Other than providing a summary, the writer will establish whether the author met the desired objective or not.
Essential aspects in a rhetorical analysis essay
It is not easy to look at another person’s work in your perspective without having hands-on experience. However, by understanding some concepts and their use in written work, you can produce a masterpiece. Your essay must persuade the audience to look at things from your point of view. How can a student achieve this?
Use SOAPS tone when writing a rhetorical analysis paper
In rhetorical analysis paper writing, SOAPS form a critical point of analysis. SOAPS is an abbreviation of:
Identify the speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, and subject of your text or piece to be analyzed. Give the first and last name of the piece you are analyzing, together with any authoritative credentials. This is the speaker, who could also be the narrator of the specific text. The occasion tells the context under which the piece being analyzed was written. The audience refers to the people to whom the piece was written. You will also require to establish the purpose for which the writer wrote the piece. The subject refers to the topic being discussed by the author. You do not have to follow any order while analyzing a piece; the flow of the essay determines the order.
Involve rhetorical stages in writing your essay
The appeals and writing style comprise the rhetorical stages that will lead to a flawless essay.
The appeals involve the ethos, logos, and pathos, which are effective in persuading your reader.
Ethos: These ethical appeals rely on the writer’s credibility and character for approval.
Pathos: The pathetic appeals invoke readers’ emotions to gain approval. These emotions may include anger, passion, sadness, and disappointment among others. An effective rhetoric will create these emotions in the audience even if they were non-existent before.
Logos: The writer uses logical appeals such as data, verifiable facts, and evidence to make an argument.
- Writing styles
The writer uses voice, tone, language, imagery, dialect, imagery, and more to persuade the reader. One can use figures of speech, repetition or a certain word choice to drive a point home. You can also create images in the readers’ mind to evoke certain emotions. Different texts attract distinct moods or attitudes, all relevant depending on the piece.
Build an analysis
The appeals, styles, and SOAPS provide you with information about the piece or text of analysis. Before you can dive into writing, identify what you have gathered from the strategies above. Do they work or not in achieving the writer’s objective? Why did the writer choose those strategies and not any other? Write the answers to these questions; they do not necessarily have to agree with the writer’s arguments. Use examples to unveil the various techniques or styles used by the writer to deliver a message. Having cited an example and the objective, evaluate whether the style has effectively achieved the purpose.
Write your rhetorical analysis essay
You have identified the various techniques that you can use in coming up with a great analysis. You can now put them into use in the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion of your essay. These 3 sections below will help you learn the rhetorical analysis essay format and structure.
Rhetorical analysis essay structure
- Rhetorical Analysis Essay Introduction
The introduction is the face of your essay and, therefore, should be keenly crafted. It should give the reader your clear argument of the text while identifying the piece being analyzed using SOAPS. Background information regarding the writer’s stance can come in handy. You can start your introduction with a factual statement or statistical figure concerning the text. End your introduction with a brief and concise thesis statement. This statement can contain the techniques used by a writer, aspects, an original argument or the effectiveness of a style.
- Body paragraphs
Different paragraphs should begin with a separate topic sentence while maintaining a logical flow. Discuss each technique or design its paragraph and highlight the different rhetorical stages. Use the same order to discuss all the concepts. For instance, you can deal with the appeals and then their effectiveness later. You can also discuss each technique followed by its effectiveness in reaching the writer’s objective. The point is to remain consistent throughout the essay. Use relevant examples or illustrations for each technique discussed.
Also, ensure that you maintain an objective third-person tone as opposed to first-person words. Form your arguments based or evidence rather than personal opinions or emotions. Mention the various tools used by the writer, followed by tangible evidence of the same. Ensure that all the ideas you present are directly linked to your thesis statement.
- Conclusion - Write a conclusion for your rhetorical analysis essay paper.
As laughable as it might sound, very few students are know how to end a rhetorical analysis essay the way their instructure would like. This is the section where you will lose marks if you don't know how to do it right. Your conclusion should uniquely restate your thesis statement without following word for word. It should also highlight the main ideas uncovered and how they relate to bigger issues. Show the reader that you have adequately covered and supported your thesis statement. What is the significance of your argument on a broader perspective? You can cite the need for further research while pointing towards a certain direction, giving adequate significance. Your conclusion should transition smoothly from the previous body paragraphs, leaving no questions. Therefore, you must ensure that your essay flows smoothly from the introduction paragraph to the conclusion.
It is time to proofread and edit your rhetorical analysis paper
Students often forget to review their work, hence submitting essays that are full of mistakes. Your essay depends not only on your analytical skills but on writing ones too. Therefore, you should take some time to go through your essay before handing it in. Use any available tools to check for grammatical, punctuation or spelling errors. Having someone else look at your work helps you to establish any flows in the flow or analysis of the essay.
Learn How To Write a Persuasive Essay
Do you often find yourself stranded in the middle of your english essay? If yes, it is probably because you did not take your time to evaluate the strength of your points. To avoid such occurrences, it is crucial to understand the type of essay you are writing. There are numerous ways of writing these pieces depending on the genre. There are argumentative, compare and contrast, descriptive, definition essays and so forth. Some techniques apply to all the essays while others are specific to the type. Let us shift our focus to the persuasive essay writing.
What is a persuasive essay?
As the name suggests, a persuasive essay aims at persuading. To persuade means to convince an audience to lean towards a certain point of view. This essay uses research and evidence to prove why the reader should believe in your point of view. Therefore, one requires to possess a thorough understanding of the topic in discussion. Not only should one know the side they are supporting but the contrasting one too. This way, one can argue why they are taking a certain position as opposed to the other that is present. The following steps can help the writer come up with a compelling persuasive essay.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay Step By Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare to write your persuasive essay
Like in any other piece of writing, prior planning is crucial in the quality of your persuasive essay. Here, there are various points you need to consider before you embark on the actual writing. They include;
Choosing the right topic
One thing about persuasive essay topics is that there must exist some level of contradiction. This means that there is more than one way of looking at the topic of discussion. A topic like “we need lungs to breath” does not make a good persuasive essay. On the contrary, consider “social media has resulted in more evil than good.” This topic creates an avenue to either support or differ with the statement. If you are not assigned a specific topic, choose one that you are interested in. one can easily write a thrilling essay if they focus on ideas that touch them.
Choose the side to take
Since the topic is controversial, you must decide on which side to base your points. From there, you now require to sway the audience towards your side. You can use facts, statistics, and research to back up your opinion. Using the topic we had earlier identified, you can support or refute that social media has resulted in more evil than good. If you lean towards the good, convince the reader to join your point of view. However, ensure you also mention the evil that has arisen but still identifying that it does not outdo the good.
Conduct thorough research and organize your evidence
Do not use vague or mere words to make your arguments. Consider the most credible sources from which you can draw reliable facts. If need be, highlight numbers, quotes or definitions from reliable authors. Evaluating which side the audience might sway towards helps you determine how strong to make your points.
Step 2: Write an outline and draft of your essay
Your persuasive essay needs an introduction, body, and conclusion. The importance of the outline is to help you organize the body of your essay. You can use a three-body paragraph with the first two Paragraphs containing your arguments. The third paragraph will contain the counterargument to your essay. In your draft, ensure you have a captivating introduction with a proper thesis statement. If you are writing a five-paragraph essay, your second and third paragraphs must contain evidence to support your topic. The fourth paragraph will have a counterargument with some refuting evidence.
Step 3: Start to write your persuasive essay fast
Since you have the ideas and evidence to support them, it is time to piece together the information. Like any other essay, make an attention-grabbing introduction. Use quotes, figures, anecdotes, joke or any other applicable tactic. Do not assume that your audience understands everything about your topic. Therefore, a piece of background information will help in introducing your topic better. Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement that highlights the topic, your opinion, and evidence. It should be brief but capture what your essay entails. Have a smooth transition from your introduction to the first paragraph of your essay’s body. You can use terminologies such as, to begin with, or firstly, among others. Write each point in a separate paragraph to avoid mixing up ideas.
Persuasive Essay Conclusion -
In a persuasive essay, your conclusion should not introduce any new ideas. You should uniquely sum up your arguments. In this paragraph, you hammer the last nail. Therefore, if your supporting arguments are strong enough, you should have no trouble with the conclusion. You will have succeeded in convincing the reader beyond any reasonable doubt to follow your opinion.
Crucial techniques in persuasive essay writing
By adopting some of the following methodologies, you can come up with convincing arguments. Remember the importance of a persuasive essay is compel the reader to believe an idea.
Once you have identified the points you want to drive home, repeat them in the essay. However, play with words to avoid boring the reader.
What a better way to make an idea understood than to use a relevant story? The story should be brief so that it does not beat the essay’s logic. Human beings have a way of relating issues to stories. Your introduction can use this technique to catch the audience’s attention.
Ethos, pathos, and logos
These elements of Aristotle are applicable in various essay types. By ethos, your arguments are based on authoritative resources. Pathos plays with the audience’s morals, values and beliefs. Logos entails applying logic to convince the reader to follow your point of view.
Like in any other piece of academic writing, proofread your essay and make the required amends you may require the help of a friend, family member or professional to edit your work. Your persuasive essay should not only be convincing but also flow logically.
How to Write an Informative Essay
Whether you are a college level, high school or grad school student, you must have come across an assignment that requires you to write an essay of informative nature. You might as well know that to writing an informative paper is not an easy task as it requires you to have a deeper understanding of the concept that you are required to write about. Here is a guide that will teach you everything you need to know in writing grade winning informative essay papers.
What Is An Informative Essay?
By definition, an informative essay is a type of essay written to educate the target audience on a certain topic, analyze data, or describe a particular term. These essays are intended to provide new information to the readers. Informative essays not only define and analyze certain information but can also be used to compare and contrast viewpoints about a certain topic.
For instance, the essay can be used to discuss the effects legalization of marijuana on youths. Also, it can be written to compare and contrast the Congress of Vienna with the Versailles Treaty.
An informative essay should provide detailed information and basic facts about the selected topic.
Purpose of an informative essay
The main aim of an informative essay is to educate the audience on a particular topic. The paper can serve several functions such as analyzing data, compare and contrast a topic or define a term. However, these essays do not present opinions or attempt to persuade readers.
Informative essays have a similar format to expository essays.
This essay type can be subdivided into several categories such as:
Compare and contrast essay
Cause and effect essay
Problem and solution essay
General informative essay topics
At times, the topic may not be provided and you will be required to select your own topic. It's common for writers to get stuck when left to choose from a wide range of topics. You should take your time and do extensive research on the topic you want to choose.
The selected topic should neither be too narrow nor too broad. As a writer, you should gather enough information on the topic you want to cover. However, the information should not be too much to make your essay look like a novel. Topics should interesting and exciting to the reader. Think about who you are targeting to read your essay. For instance, if it’s a university class paper, the professor is the primary reader.
To cover the topic well in a detailed manner, it’s important to work on a topic that intrigues you. This will help you express ideas better and make your writing process easier and enjoyable. At times, professors and teachers require written essays to be accompanied by speeches or presentations. This means that the writer should cover a topic that can be interesting to an audience and can be clearly presented through speech. Some common topic examples include:
Common Informative essay examples
What causes drug addiction?
Ethical theories of human cloning
How to maximize food production
Legalization of marijuana
Comparison of the Congress of Vienna and The Versailles treaty
Why do we dream?
Why we should not use home automation devices
Evolution of human rights
Advantages of Nanotechnology
Effects of parental divorce on children
How to write an informative essay
Before you begin writing an informative paper, there are certain steps that should be taken into consideration. These will help you plan on how you will organize all information effectively. When these steps are made, the writing process becomes easy and the essay can be tackled faster. These steps are:
Brainstorm ideas – The writer should select a field of study that they can tackle with confidence. Brainstorming enables you to organize your thoughts wisely and allows you to create a visual outline for your essay.
Choosing a topic – After analyzing a couple of topics, the next step is to select the most appropriate topic to cover. You should select a topic that you can provide detailed and well-organized information. It should neither be too narrow nor too broad.
Conduct extensive research – Writers should make use of primary and secondary sources for their research. Primary sources are composed of physical pieces of data related to the topic being covered. Secondary sources are papers and articles related to the topic being written about.
For instance, speeches used by Martin Luther King Jr. can be used as primary sources when covering a topic on “the evolution of human rights.”
When talking about “why cryptosystems fail,” a secondary source could be Anderson's (1994) journal article on why cryptosystems fail.
Development – To keep your audience engaged, the information in the essay should be engaging, easy to read, and interesting.
It is important to use different sources to get detailed information. You can make use of sites such as Wikipedia. The essay should be well-rounded and should not rely on one type of sources such as either books or websites. Instead, the information should be fetched from a couple of sources such as newspapers, books, journals, and website articles.
Informative Essay Outline
As a writer, it is important to understand the outline of an informative essay. Coming up with a well-structured and organized essay is easy although it requires the writer to do extensive research and practice on the outline.
Generally, an informative essay outline is similar to that of a standard essay. It is made up of:
An Introduction and Thesis: This section presents a brief outline of the main arguments in an interesting and well-written manner. The thesis illustrates what the essay is about.
Body Paragraphs: These paragraphs support the thesis statement stated in the introduction. The discus the main points in a detailed and well-organized manner. Each point is covered in it own paragraph.
Conclusion: A conclusion in informative essay writing wraps up the ideas discussed in the body and presents an overview of how the information relates to the real world.
Informative essay structure
Here is an example of how to format an informative essay. The outline for your informative essay should look like:
Hook to get the attention of your audience, general information about the subject of your essay, reasons why it is important etc.
II. Body Paragraph 1
Topic sentence 1:
Supporting evidence 1:
Supporting evidence 2:
Supporting evidence 3:
III.Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence 2:
Supporting evidence 1:
Supporting evidence 2:
Supporting evidence 3:
IV. Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence 3:
Supporting evidence 1:
Supporting evidence 2:
Supporting evidence 3:
Wrap-up of an essay, a summary of the key points, etc.
How to write an introduction – Informative Essay
The introduction should be catchy and capable of catching the reader’s attention. In this part, writers can use jokes, rhetorical questions, shocking statistics, anecdotes, figurative language, and quotes.
Use figurative language like "She wraps her love around her children like a warm sheet."
Begin with a quote: Example: There is an old saying that all that glitters is not gold.
The introduction of an informative essay should provide some background context that can help the readers understand the points in the essay faster. Sentences in the introduction create a way for the thesis statement.
This is the last sentence in the introduction that clearly outlines what the essay is about. It summarizes the main points that will be covered in the body. The thesis statement should introduce the significance of the topic introduced and how it's covered in the essay. When a thesis statement like, "this topic talks about how the prevalence of child maltreatment in the United States has increased due to domestic violence" should be supported with sources of statistics. The thesis statement should be precise, easy to understand, and readable. It should also be appealing and interesting to make the audience want to read more information on the topic.
The main role of this section is to support the thesis statement. The content in the body should be detailed and well-organized. It should demonstrate a continuous flow of ideas. Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. The transition from one sentence to the next should be smooth. These should also be a smooth transition from the first to the third paragraph.
Each paragraph should have its own target point that you should defend with enough information. The information supporting the target point helps in enriching the thesis statement.
Upon introducing the first thesis statement, the next step is to make a claim. The quality and readability of the essay depending on how the thesis is defended and how the transition of points takes place. Claims for all paragraphs should be reliable and supported by backed up by either primary or secondary sources.
Robust vocabulary and precise language should be used to explain the points. Ideas in the body can be linked using transitional words and phrases such as: “also, besides, for example, another, consequently, in contrast, etc.”
Tips to consider when writing the body
Only points included in the thesis statement should be discussed in a detailed manner.
The points should flow in the same order they appear in the thesis statement
The second paragraph explains the second point
The third paragraph discusses the third point
Each body paragraph should have a concluding statement that gives a brief summary of the paragraph.
Always remember to cite your sources.
Conclusion – How to write a conclusion for an informative essay
After explaining your three main points, it's time to effectively conclude your essay. In this part, you should wrap up your ideas and create a brief summary of the points. The thesis statement should be rephrased in this section.
One should have a concluding statement to finish the essay effectively. This statement should explain the significance of your informative writing and its application in the real world.
A case example of an informative essay
1. Define the topic (what is substance abuse).
2. Provide a brief overview of substance abuse (ways in which people acquire the bad habit, how they get addicted, and the outcome when they decide to quite a substance abuse).
3. Create a thesis statement. For instance, the thesis can be the relationship between substance abuse and heart diseases. Identify the scope of the informative essay.
1. Substance abuse and different lung diseases.
2. Outline the way in which substance abuse can affect body organs such as to cause brain damage, heart attack, etc.)
Describe the way smoking can impact human organism in other harmful ways (example: heart attack, brain activity, etc.)
3. Discuss different ways that can be used to quit substance abuse.
1. Restate the thesis statement. Restate the relationship between substance abuse and heart diseases.
2. Repeat the importance of the research on the impact of substance abuse.
3. Provide some prediction for the future (like: “If America people fail to quit substance abuse in the near, there might be…”)
Checklist For Writing a Great Informative Essay Paper
Informative Paper Introduction Checklist:
Have you used two or three sentences to tell the reader what you are going to inform them about?
Make sure you include informative details to support your topic.
Are your supporting details informative and related to the topic?
Make sure your topic is stated clearly.
Please be sure that your reader is interested in what you are trying to inform them about.
Informative Paper Body:
Is there a paragraph for each of your 3 – 5 details?
At the beginning of each paragraph, be sure to include the topic for that paragraph.
You should also include details in each of your paragraphs to support the topic.
Did you organize your essay in an order that makes sense?
Make sure each paragraph transitions easily from one to the next.
Informative Paper Conclusion
In your conclusion, did you restate the topic of the informative essay? Did your conclusion include enough information to leave the reader satisfied and well informed?
Did you summarize the previous paragraphs in your informative essay?
Overall Informative Paper Writing Checklist
In your informative essay, have you told the reader everything that the need to know about the topic?
Do all your paragraphs relate back to the original topic?
Is the reader interested in what you wrote? Do they now know more about the topic than they did before reading your essay?
Wondering what are good topics to write a research paper on? Here is a free guide and examples of good research paper topics for college, high school, and graduate school students. What makes a good research paper topic How to find a good topic for a research paper.