Essays are one of the most important types of assignments that college students need to write. Besides, there are various types of essays including expository essays, war essays, DBQ essays, and informative essays. Speaking of an informative essay, it is indeed one of the most essential types of essay. With that being said, if you are assigned to write an informative essay, here is the best guide to help you learn how to write an informative essay step by step.
What is an Informative Essay?
An informative essay, basically, is a type of academic paper that every high school and college student needs to write. This type of instructive writing mainly aims to educate the target readers about a certain thing, people, situation, or phenomenon.
However, the goal is to answer the key questions by describing the issue in depth. Besides that, when writing an informative essay, you should consider that the readers know nothing about the issue at hand. Use expert but simple language to discuss the issue. However, you should remember to offer as many useful explanations as possible.
All in all, an informative essay provides information on a specific topic and aims to educate its readers. For instance, if you need to write an informative essay on World War II, here are a few key areas that you need to cover.
- Introduction to WW II
- When did it start?
- Why did it start?
- Who started WW II and which countries participated?
- What are its main events?
- How did this war end and how did it affect the world?
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Informative Essay Outline
Now that you know what is an informative essay, it is a good time to learn how to formative your informative essay. Besides, you do not need to worry about it because it is very similar to the structure of the rest of the types of essays.
Like any other type of essay, an informative essay contains an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In addition to that, it contains a list of references that you have used to gather information for your essay. Moreover, the number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the requirement of details that your topic needs.
The introduction of any essay shares the same features and an informative essay is no different. The introduction of an informative essay contains a hook, background information, and a thesis statement. If you are wondering what is a hook in the introductory paragraph of your informative essay, it is a statement that aims to grab your reader’s attention right at the beginning of your essay.
For that purpose, you can choose to add an interesting fact, statistics, or any relevant quotation. Other than that, you can also choose to ask a question that must spark your reader’s attention.
Once you have successfully crafted the hook of your introductory paragraph, you are good to start adding some background information about your topic.
A thesis statement describes the subject of your informative essay. A decent rule of thumb is to trim down your thesis statement to make sure that you can fit it within the set number of words without sacrificing the quality of your work. Besides, you must remember to incorporate a logical connection to your essay body after crafting the thesis statement of your informative essay.
In the body of an informative essay, one has to describe the main topic. Besides, depending on the difficulty of the subject of the essay and the word count limit, the essay usually consists of 3 or more paragraphs. However, the key idea is to stick to the timeline and establish reasonable connections between each paragraph in the essay.
Hence, each paragraph must include:
- A topic sentence that conveys the main idea of each paragraph and ties it to the preceding one.
- Facts, figures, and proof to back up your thesis
- And a mini-conclusion that summarize each paragraph and introduces the following one.
The last section of an informative essay is the conclusion. It basically summarizes the entire essay and has to present the essence of the essay at the end. Moreover, a conclusion has the following elements.
- A restatement of the thesis statement
- A summary of each body paragraph
- A call to action or final words
How to Write an Informative Essay
Informative essays should never convey your personal opinion or attempt to persuade your readers to take a certain action or attitude. Persuasive essays are specifically designated for this purpose. In fact, if your informative essay is engaging enough, your readers may be inspired to study more about the subject.
However, you have to make sure that they arrive at that conclusion on their own. How you can do so? You can make sure that the quantity of relevant information you give is sufficient. Besides that, your informative essay is worth the time of your target audience.
Step 1: Select Your Topic
If you are writing your informative essay as part of a high school or college assignment, you have most probably been provided with a topic. In addition to that, you must have been assigned relevant details regarding the topic too including the word count, subject matter, and much more.
However, in case you have not been assigned any topic, you will be glad to know that there are a plethora of wonderful essay topic ideas for college essay assignments. So, a quick Google search may provide hundreds of results.
Before you begin your task, you should be aware of the following:
- How to correctly credit your sources so you are able to conduct your research properly.
- Are there any formatting requirements? For example, should the font size be 12-point, or font type be Times New Roman?
- What is the due date? So, you should remember to start as early as possible to avoid the last moment struggles.
Your professor usually assigns a topic for an essay depending on what you are currently learning. If they do not, you will have to come up with your own topic. A quick search on Google can provide a variety of interesting topics to write about. However, remember that providing oneself with too many alternatives may limit your performance.
Nevertheless, when selecting a topic for your paper, keep the following points in mind:
- The best topics for an informative essay are neither too broad nor too narrow. So, you should be able to gather sufficient knowledge about your chosen topic to produce an insightful paper.
- Your topic should be both fascinating and suitable. For that purpose, you need to consider your target readers and what matters or is relevant to them. For instance, if you are writing an informative essay for a class assignment, it is reasonable to presume that your target reader will be your teacher. But it is still important to keep a target reader in mind initially. So, consider what people will want to learn, as well as what they may not already know about the subject.
- Select a topic that fascinates you personally. After all, it will help you write an informative essay that you will not only get read but also engage your reader meanwhile.
Step 2: Conduct Research and Take Notes
Conducting thorough research is particularly important for works that are meant to be enlightening. As the author of an informative essay, it is your job to provide correct information.
For that purpose, make sure that you are using only reliable sources, such as those published or written by experts on the topic you have decided to write about. So, if you want to conduct reliable research for your informative essay, we suggest you visit your college library. There you can do your research using a variety of mediums, including the Internet, newspapers encyclopedias, magazines, and other relevant resources.
However, remember to verify your resources. Particularly, make sure that you verify the reliability of the information available on the internet. After all, it is filled with untrustworthy information. Moreover, while you are doing your research, make sure that you keep a notebook by your side. Write down every detail that you consider essential.
After all, it is essential to take accurate notes of each and every resource you examined while writing your essay. This also includes the resources that you even you may not cite in the body of your work. For this purpose, you can write down the author’s name, source title, publisher’s name, source material such as the website address of any online resource, and any copyright detail.
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Step 3: Put Your Ideas on Paper
Once you feel that you are satisfied with the information that you have collected so far, it is a good idea to write down your thoughts so you can start to develop the outline of your informative essay.
For that purpose, you need to create a mind map. Start by drawing a huge circle in the center of a sheet of paper and write down the most important information around the main circle. Then, connect each idea or argument to the main idea or circle and start adding specifics or additional material for further illustration.
Meanwhile, make sure that you allow your thoughts to flow. This process is also known as an ‘idea dump.’ And it is accomplished by writing your main topic in the center of a piece of paper and completing the gaps with whatever facts or thoughts come to mind.
Step 4: Create the Outline of Your Informative Essay
Once you know what you want to write in your informative essay, you start making the outline of your paper. For that purpose, keep in mind that it is at least a 5-paragraph essay. So, this means that the first paragraph is your introductory paragraph, the second paragraph is your first key argument, the third paragraph is your second key argument, the fourth paragraph is your third main point, and lastly, the fifth paragraph is your conclusion.
Meanwhile, you should remember that each paragraph has to begin with a topic sentence. Next, add at least three supporting sentences. Then, add a transition sentence to connect to the next paragraph.
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Step 5: Write Your Informative Essay
Once you know what you want to write in your informative essay and how to structure your paper, you can actually start writing your essay. This is indeed the longest part of writing an informative essay. Hence, take your time and just write. You do not need to worry about making any grammatical, spelling, or any kind of mistakes. Because you can reread and edit your first draft once you are done writing.
After all, the key here is to put the information on paper. Hence, concentrate on writing the essay. Besides, you may choose a pen and paper or a word document; the choice is yours.
Step 6: Edit Your First Draft
Now that you have written the first draft of your informative essay, it is essential to reread and edit your draft before handing it over to your professor. Make sure that you at least read the draft a couple of times. Besides, while reading, consider the following points.
- Have you been able to share every detail that you would need to know about your topic?
- Is each paragraph and argument related to the thesis statement of your informative essay?
- Have you crafted a clear and precise thesis statement?
- Does every paragraph in the body of your essay has a main idea and at least three supporting details?
- Is the conclusion precise yet strong enough to summarize the whole essay?
- Have you cited all the resources in your essay?
- Does your essay educate your reader enough?
In addition to these, read your paper to find out if there are any gaps that you need to fill. Moreover, make sure that all the facts, figures, spellings, and overall syntax of your paper are accurate.
Step 7: Write Your Final Paper
After you have successfully finished your rough draught and are certain that you have provided all of the information required to enlighten your reader and made sure that there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes, the last step is to craft a strong final version of your informative essay.
As you finish your final content, you should make sure the material is correctly arranged and presented in a simple and easy-to-understand way.