Essay Writing Tips

A Simple Guide on How to Write an Informative Essay

May 12, 2021
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A Simple Guide on How to Write an Informative Essay

So, a teacher or professor has assigned you with an informative essay, what’s now? How to get started on this assignment and, most importantly, how to ensure the best result?

The task to write an informative essay may catch you by surprise and leave you wondering what to do next. But, even if that happened, don’t worry as we’ve got you covered! In this article, we are going to walk you through each stage of the process to help you understand how to write an informative essay with ease. Let’s dive in!

What Is an Informative Essay?

As promised, this guide will teach you how to write an informative essay quickly and easily. But, before we move on to our step-by-step guide, let’s take a moment to define what this type of work stands for and what is its key purpose.

An informative essay is quite different from other types of papers. In a nutshell, it is a piece of writing (typically short) that strives to inform the reader about a chosen topic. This type of essay is most often assigned to students of high school and college levels.

The core purpose of this task is to provide a concise but clear explanation of the topic so that the reader understands it. To achieve this goal, a student is expected to define the topic and answer the main questions.

The biggest challenge of writing this type of paper is that it is typically intended for people who are not familiar with the topic at all. That is, you will have to explain complex and broad subject matters in a manner that they are easy to understand. But, we’ll help you to cope with the assignment without a hassle.

Informative Essay Topic

If you were assigned to write an informative essay, there may be 2 different scenarios of how things will go.

In the first scenario, you will be assigned to explain the topic of the teacher’s choice or be given a list of topics to choose from. In this case, you can save time on selecting the topic and can get straight to the research and writing.

In the second scenario, you will be assigned to write an essay on the topic of your choice. If that’s the case, the first thing you’ll need to do is to choose a suitable topic yourself. Since choosing a topic is not always easy, let us give you a few handy tips.

The first thing you need to know is that the range of informative essay topics is almost unlimited. You can decide to inform the readers about an event, term, object, phenomenon, person, etc.

Now, here are a few handy tips for selecting a perfect topic for you:

  • Take your time to brainstorm, then write down your options to choose from them later

  • Define who might be reading your work and keep in mind the potential audience

  • Choose a subject that is relevant and engaging to your audience

  • Ensure that the chosen topic is not too narrow or, on the contrary, too broad

  • Be sure that you are well familiar with the topic

  • Choose something that you are genuinely interested in

Following these simple tips, you should be able to find a topic that will be interesting to you and your target audience as well. Once you do, you can move to the next stage of the process.

Research the Chosen Topic

Even if you follow our tips and pick a subject that you are well familiar with, you may still want to conduct research. It will help you gain fresh ideas for your essay and also provide you with some valid facts, examples, and evidence to back up your ideas.

To conduct your research effectively, consider going to the library. Books still remain the most trustworthy source of information, so we bet that you will find everything you need to write a brilliant essay in a school or college library.

However, if you prefer to research online, that’s up to you. The only thing you need to remember when looking for information on the Internet is that you have to critically assess every piece of information you find in order to distinguish the sources you can trust from the ones that contain invalid data.

Pro Tip: To save time and ensure that your essay will contain only valid information, search for sources using special academic search engines. This way you will automatically weed out untrustworthy resources.

Informative Essay Outline

Just like other essay types, an informative essay is also a short piece of writing. That’s why the standard 5-paragraph essay structure is the most common one for this type of work.

This structure implies that you will have a total of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Feel free to use the same structure for your essay. The only exception is if your teacher asks you to write a longer paper.

Now, to help you cope with this step, let’s look at a sample outline of an informative essay on the topic “The Impact Smoking Has on the Human Body”:

  • Intro

    • Hook to grab the readers’ attention (it can be a quote, shocking fact, rhetorical question, etc.)

    • Short definition of the topic: explain what smoking is

    • Background information: tell readers some background details such as why people obtain this bad habit, why it transforms into an addiction, etc.

    • Thesis statement: for example, “Smoking leads to the increased risk of various diseases”

  • Body Paragraph 1: The relationship between smoking and various health issues

    • Main idea (only one per paragraph)

    • An example or argument that supports the idea

    • A discussion of how the provided argument or example supports the idea

    • Transition to the next paragraph

  • Body Paragraph 2: Other harmful impacts of smoking on the human organism

    • Main idea

    • An example or argument

    • A discussion

    • Transition

  • Body Paragraph 3: Possible ways to quit smoking/reduce harmful impacts on health

    • Main idea

    • An example or argument

    • A discussion

    • Transition

  • Conclusion

    • Recall the thesis statement in different words

    • Make a quick summary of the core ideas and examples from body paragraphs

    • In a conclusion, stress the significance of further research on the health impacts of smoking and offer some forecast for the future

This is a basic outline that covers the main elements that must be inherent in your essay. Apart from the described five paragraphs, you may be also required to add works cited section in the required format (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.) This section is used to make proper references to the external sources you’ve used to write your paper. Please, check with your teacher (or the provided guidelines) to clarify whether you need to include works cited.

How to Write an Informative Essay in 5 Simple Steps

No matter how challenging it may seem, writing this type of essay isn’t that hard if you break down the process into five quick and easy steps.

Follow this step-by-step guide to cope with the task without a hassle:

1. Carefully Read the Task

Before you get started, be sure to study the prompts and guidelines thoroughly and check with your teacher if anything is unclear.

2. Choose a Topic That Works Best for You

If you weren’t assigned to write an informative essay on a specific topic, take your time to brainstorm the ideas and define a topic that will suit you. Remember that a perfect topic has to be relevant, engaging to your audience, not too broad or narrow, and interesting to you.

3. Search for Relevant Sources

No matter how deep your knowledge on the chosen topic is, devote some time to researching it and collecting valid data that can support your ideas.

4. Make a Detailed Outline

Earlier in this guide, we have shared a sample informative essay outline. Use it as a template to create your own outline and write a well-structured paper. And remember, the more detailed it is, the easier and faster you will write your essay. So, be sure to take your time to create a perfect outline!

5. Write Your Essay

With an outline, the writing stage shouldn’t be too hard to handle. All you have to do is to follow the plan and organize all your ideas and supporting evidence into a compelling and logical essay.

Pro Tip: In a nutshell, informative essay writing is a 3-step procedure - (1) make a claim; (2) present the evidence; and (3) provide an explanation. If you follow this procedure, you will create a top-notch essay worth the highest grade.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this guide will help you get on the right track and create a great informative essay. Following our tips, you should handle the task at ease. But, your work doesn’t stop there.

If you really want your essay to be flawless, you should allocate some time to proofread and edit your work after it’s written. Ideally, set your paper aside for a few days and get back to it after some rest. Don’t skip this step and you will be doomed to get a high grade!