The answer to how to write an informational essay is nothing but simple. You need to learn as much information on the subject of your paper as possible and deliver this knowledge to your readers. However, as always, there are certain rules and expectations that you need to meet in order to create a proper academic paper. All good informative essay examples for college have much in common. They must have a certain type of topic that is appropriate for the given situation. They must have a proper structure, formatting, reference style, among other things.
All students need to learn those rules before they start writing an assignment like this. Fortunately, we have prepared a guide on how to write a good informative essay. These are all the steps to writing an informative essay that you may need for this assignment. Learn, apply, and succeed!
What Is an Informative Essay
Before we move on to learning about how to write an informative essay, we need to form a good understanding of what it is. So, an informative essay is exactly what it sounds like. It is a type of paper that provides readers with specific, new, and relevant information on the topic. This information has to be based on evidence and reliable sources.
Understand Your Topic
Now, with assignments like this, you can have the freedom to choose your own topic to write about or receive an assigned topic from your teachers. Either way, you’ll have to find a unique approach to your topic. Whenever your teacher gives you a specific topic, they want you to learn more about it. You may be absolutely clueless about the area of your future research or the topic as such. However, in some way, this is exactly the purpose of such an assignment.
An unfamiliar theme of your future work will encourage you to research, learn, and analyze new information. As a writer, you need to show a certain level of knowledge and expertise. Hence, whenever teachers give you a topic, they want you to learn and use your critical thinking skills. It may be a difficult assignment to receive, though, once you understand the topic, the rest is nothing to you. You just need to demonstrate how well you get the things you are writing about in your work. On the other hand, when you have the liberty to pick a topic of your own, you need to work twice harder.
When you write about something you know or maybe even interested in, you are expected to go deeper. A more narrow topic with a unique perspective or personal take on things will be most appropriate in this situation. Also, picking a theme for your paper comes with certain challenges as well. You need to develop an interesting topic with enough room for interpretation, research, ambiguity, and myths that you can debunk.
Make sure you have enough data on the topic you have chosen. You need to bring something new to the table. Yet, you must be sure you have enough sources to fish for that data. Also, think of your readers. Take into account their background and expertise in the field you are writing about now. You better not bore them with well-known information, but also don't over-complicate your work. You can use some informational essay examples online to see what kind of topics are popular in academia.
The Five Ws Rule
Whether you are in college or high school, you must already be familiar with the five Ws rule. The five Ws here stand for six questions:
You should use this rule during your preparations and actual writing process. Don’t even think about how to start an informative essay before you have all these six questions answered.
Now, you may not need to insert all the six answers in your paper. However, you need to know all this information for yourself before you move on to writing. This way, you can be sure that you know everything you need about your work. With this assignment, you need to be an expert who holds all the cards. It means that you need to radiate confidence and wisdom. Thus, your readers will have an easier time believing you.
Do Your Research
Doing your research first is the only right way on how to start off an informative essay. You need to collect enough information for the project before it even remotely looks like an academic paper. Hence, you need to create areas of search, fill all the knowledge gaps you may have, and make many notes that will guide you through the writing process further on. Write down all the key factors, crucial data, and major evidence that can support your thesis statement. See what other authors have found out about the subject of your paper.
Explore what theories are available for your use. The research stage of your process is also when you see what more you can add to the discussion. You need to come up with a new perspective on the topic. Hence, you have to know what has already been said in order to bring something new and unique to the table. For instance, if you want to write about the war in Afghanistan, you better look at existing informative essay examples to see what approaches they took and what has already been told. This way, you can avoid repeating someone else’s opinions or explore common misunderstandings around the issue.
Find the Right Approach
Now, an informative essay is not a report of a dry sheet with facts and data. It has to come in the form of storytelling. You need to have the purpose of your writing, a point to prove, a narrative to follow, and much more. In order to achieve all those elements of a good paper, you need to start with your personal perspective. Think of the main idea that you want to deliver to your readers. This main idea, thought, or fact must lie at the core of your narrative. This will be your thesis statement.
Now, a thesis statement gives you the motive for writing. It is the reason why you have even chosen your topic in the first place. It is all because you want to prove something. A paper without a clear thesis statement doesn’t carry much weight. Hence, you need to find what about your topic that needs additional research, explanations, and conviction. Once you find this area, see what your stand is.
You need to find a personal approach to the topic. Pick something that you find interesting, neglected, or worth further exploration, and offer it to your audience. Your approach to the topic defines the nature of your future work. You get to develop your writer’s voice by telling your side of the issue, exploring opinions, and emphasizing certain facts and data.
Structure and Format
Once you have all the needed information for the paper, you need to start thinking about how you want to deliver it. Obviously, you can’t just mix all the data and facts together and leave it on a page. Instead of doing anything like that, you should take your readers on a journey. Be patient and gentle when you are trying to convey or inform your audience about the subject of your writing. You need to ensure smooth sailing. So every major point of your telling is easy to spot, process, and believe in as long as you emphasize it right.
A rightly chosen structure and format should help you achieve such results. With an essay like this, you need to create a solid structure that can hold your readers’ attention. A traditional five-paragraph structure can do the job for you. This way, you can have a logically structured work, where all your first points contribute and enhance the next ones.
Thus, you should start with an introduction. Explain your topic, the general theme, and the thesis statement. Next, move on to the body paragraphs. You can have as many as you want and need, as long as you can meet the paper’s instructions. Each body paragraph must have the main idea, supporting statement, and evidence to back up your opinion. Add transitional sentences at the end of each paragraph. The information in each paragraph should be relevant to the purpose of the paper.
Finish your work with a conclusion. Briefly recap your main points throughout the paper. Remind your thesis statement and see whether you have achieved what you intended to do with it. Thus, you can confirm a thesis statement, adding that more additional research is needed, or else. Your conclusion should draw a line to your work, so it looks complete and finished.
Outline for Informative Essay
As always, before you start writing your paper as a whole, you should start with an outline. An outline will serve you as a great map of everything that should make it to the final cut. Now, there is a large difference between an outline and a draft. Still, many people confuse these two definitions so let’s have a quick breakdown of those terms.
A draft can be your prior vision of the paper you are about to write. You can include all kinds of information, data, opinions, and thoughts in your draft. Overall, it can be anything you’d love to tell in your work. However, not everything makes it to the final version of your work. Also, a draft doesn’t have to have a clear structure, format, or transitions.
Now, an outline is the core of your future essay. It serves you as a guide to how your future work will look like. Hence, whatever structure you have chosen for your work, your outline should show it. An outline is basically the collection of all your most important points written down in a logical, effective order.
This is also a perfect time to plan every little detail in your work. You get to see whether you have enough evidence to make a strong point and confirm your thesis statement. See whether your reader can follow your flow of thoughts and whether you make it easy for them to do that. Also, an outline can show any gaps or errors in your judgment if you have any at all. This is also your last opportunity to re-evaluate the tone and voice of your work.
Once you have your topic, research, and outline done, you can move on to the final part of your work, which is writing. Overall, since you have already completed all this work, your writing shouldn’t be as hard as it could have been without it. However, you still need to be careful about not making any unnecessary mistakes within your text. Hence, we have made a list of the final essential tips on how to write a strong informative essay.
1. Use strong evidence in every statement
Leave no room for doubts. This type of essay is not about sharing your personal opinions. You need to provide strong evidence, such as data or research, to back up every new opinion.
2. Add supporting details in each paragraph
Once you have made your statement and given it enough evidence, support it with additional statements. Offer examples, secondary opinions, or debunk popular but inaccurate opinions about the issue.
3. Keep coming back to your thesis statement
Every opinion and evidence you use in your test must be relevant to the thesis statement. Your thesis is like an anchor that must keep your entire ship afloat. Don’t neglect it. You can avoid spreading attention to irrelevant information as long as you focus on the purpose of your paper.
4. Use only reliable sources
Use only reliable academic sources. These can be academic articles, journals, and books. In rare situations, your teacher may also allow the use of credible news outlets.