How to write an informative essay

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

  • Process essay

  • Cause and effect essay

  • Descriptive 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:

I. Introduction

  • Hook to get the attention of your audience, general information about the subject of your essay, reasons why it is important etc.

  • Thesis statement:

II. Body Paragraph 1
Topic sentence 1:

  • Supporting evidence 1:

  • Supporting evidence 2:

  • Supporting evidence 3:

  • Transition

III.Body Paragraph 2:

Topic sentence 2:

  1. Supporting evidence 1:

  2. Supporting evidence 2:

  3. Supporting evidence 3:

  4. Transition

IV. Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence 3:

  1. Supporting evidence 1:

  2. Supporting evidence 2:

  3. Supporting evidence 3:

  4. Transition

V. Conclusion

  1. Re-state thesis

  2. 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.

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.

Body Paragraphs

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.

ConclusionHow 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

Introduction

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.

Main Body

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.

Conclusion

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?

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