How to Write an Informative Essay: Full Guide

An informative essay is a piece of writing that aims to educate an audience about a certain topic. From the informative essay definition, this is not an essay that is persuasive or argumentative. The end goal is to ensure that the audience has learned new and interesting information. Often, informative speech essays are also called expository essays, and it is not for convincing someone to change their beliefs.

Informative essays contain well-researched facts on a topic and relay it to the reader in terms that they can understand. An informative essay thesis statement is a single sentence that breaks the topic into its constituent parts. A thesis appears at the end of the introductory paragraph.

What Is An Informative Essay?

Informative writing is the process or method of developing a piece of literary work, usually an essay, aimed at educating readers regarding a certain subject. As seen in a definition essay, this technique is used when the writer wants to elaborate on the meaning of a topic and help their readers make sense of it. In addition to being informative, it should also be interesting.

As one of the types of expository writing, informative essays can take various forms depending on their purpose. These include five-paragraph essays, compare and contrast essays, descriptive essays, and cause/effect essays, among other kinds of expository writing pieces. Depending on what the writer wants to convey or focus on, it may also be written in different styles, such as narration or description.

The goal of an informative paper must always be backed by solid evidence from valid academic sources. Well-written informative essays contain facts about their subject matter that are presented in such a way that it helps readers gain new knowledge or understanding regarding said topic. An informative paper focuses more on educating readers rather than persuading them to agree with your point of view over others.

Different types of Informative Essays

An informative essay is an academic assignment given to high school and college students. This essay should provide basic information and understand some particular issues.

However, not every type of paper can be considered an informative one. Different types differ by their nature. The most common ones include process, problem and solution, cause and effect, and compare and contrast essays. Each of these has its peculiarities:

  • A process essay explains how something works or how to do it yourself;
  • A descriptive essay gives the reader information about the appearance or features of a person, place, or thing;
  • A problem-solution essay analyses a specific problem and suggests ways to solve it;
  • Cause & effect essays explain what happens as a result of something happening/not happening;
  • Compare & contrast essays describe the characteristics of objects being compared (for example, two countries).

A cause and effect essay

In a cause and effect essay, your goal is to make the causes and effects of a particular event or situation clear to the reader. You could write about how drinking coffee can cause insomnia. Or you could write about how moving to a new apartment caused you to get sick due to stress. In both cases, there’s a relationship between two events that are being explained.

Like other writing assignments, informative essays have some basic features common across all sub-types: introduction paragraph with thesis statement; body paragraphs with topic sentences; conclusion paragraph; works cited page; headings when appropriate (and most often required at higher levels); etc. The main difference between different essays will be evident in the thesis and body paragraphs.

A descriptive essay

A descriptive essay is an essay that describes something – an object or person, an event or place, an experience or emotion, or an idea. This kind of essay aims to provide readers with enough detailed description to enable them to visualize or imagine what is being discussed. Descriptive essays can be about a tangible or important thing like a favorite toy or food, but they are often about intangible things such as feelings and emotions. For example, a descriptive essay can describe your best friend; the first day of spring; your mom’s apple pie; your dream vacation; what you think you’ll do after high school (e.g., traveling the world); how it feels to drive a car for the first time; what it’s like to live in poverty in a big city.

The writer creates an image using sensory information (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell), which appeals to the reader’s senses (sense of sight, hearing, touch, etc.) to become immersed in the writing and make sense of it.

A process essay

A process essay involves a sequence of events. That is, it details a process from beginning to end. In this sense, its purpose is somewhat similar to that of an expository essay—to inform. However, in a how-to essay, the main point differs from that of an expository essay because instead of simply explaining something, the writer must also explain how to do it.

For example, if your topic were about roller skating for beginners, you would break down the steps involved in learning how to roller skate: finding skates and safety gear (wrist guards and knee pads) and trying on equipment; finding a place to practice (like an empty parking lot or gymnasium); learning how to balance while standing still; learning forward motion; then beginning backward motion; then stopping; etc.

Once all steps are detailed with sufficient detail and presented in a logical sequence, there is also usually some discussion regarding ways one might experience difficulty following these steps or suggestions regarding what else might be required depending on circumstances.

A compare and contrast essay

A compare and contrast essay is an informative essay that analyzes the similarities and differences between two or more topics. It discusses how the topics are similar, how they are different, and how they compare. For example, you may compare and contrast two different types of dogs or compare/contrast two characters from a novel.

To write a compare/contrast essay, you’ll need to make NEW connections and express NEW differences between two things. The keyword here is NEW! Choose two things that could go in the same category but are also quite different.

The first step to informative essay writing is to choose a topic that applies to the given prompt. Do this by brainstorming, which means producing thoughts or ideas in a spontaneous matter. Write everything down, then look over what you wrote for common themes or subjects you can use as your topic.

A problem-solution essay

You can also write a worthy informative essay about a person, an event, or any other important subject. In this case, you will be writing a problem-solution essay. Your task is to identify the problem and develop a solution that will address it. For example, in a problem-solution essay about air pollution, you could discuss how it has become so bad that residents of Los Angeles have to wear masks when they go outside. Then you could discuss what could be done to improve the air quality in L.A., such as by building more parks or planting more trees.

The first paragraph of your essay should define the problem clearly and concisely. It would help if you made sure that there is no doubt in your reader’s mind about what needs to be solved before explaining the solution.

Informative Essay Outline

Your next job is to write an informative essay outline. Outlines may seem like a waste of time, but since the organization is essential for every type of essay, it will be worth the extra effort to write a good informative essay. What information goes into an informative essays outline?

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Hook
  • Background information
  • A thesis statement or a sentence explaining the main purpose of the essay
  • Transition sentence
  • Body paragraph 1
  • A topic sentence about the first main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the second body paragraph
  • Body paragraph 2
  • A topic sentence about the second main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the third body paragraph
  • Body paragraph 3
  • A topic sentence about the third main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the conclusion
  • Conclusion
  • Summary of the main ideas
  • Restate the thesis statement or main purpose
  • Final thoughtsaragraphs
  • Conclusion

Informative Essay Introduction

The introduction is an important paragraph for both readers and writers. First and foremost, a writer should attempt to hook the audience’s attention. A hook is to grab your reader’s interest using an interesting fact, question, or quote. An essay writer may use one of the multiple literary tools like metaphors or allegories to start an informative essay. A good introduction paragraph should accomplish the following: it should grip readers’ attention, inform them about the essay, and provide an applicable thesis.

In this type of paper, you need to tell your readers what you will describe and what point you will prove; do not forget to formulate your statement in one sentence – that is, your thesis serves as a mini-outline for your introductory section.

An informative essay thesis can be defined as a summary of all the information you will discuss in your paper. It includes three main points: topic + claim + subpoints (it could have more subpoints).

Informative Essay Body

The body of an informative essay breaks down the thesis and presents the information to support your thesis statement. It would help if you thought of each body paragraph as an argument that supports it. The first sentence in each body paragraph should be a topic sentence that ties back to your thesis sentence.

After writing these topic sentences, you should provide evidence from outside sources (your research) to support each point. Finally, you need to write an analysis of this information and explain how it supports your point. Include at least three pieces of evidence for every body paragraph.

Informative Essay Thesis Statement

The thesis statement for an informative essay should be unbiased and focused.

  • It should provide a single, specific argument that is prominent throughout your essay.
  • The thesis should be clear so the reader knows exactly what to expect from your paper.
  • It must be concise. This means that you need to convey a lot of information in just one or two sentences.

An informative essay is the best way to explain something complicated – in an uncomplicated way. Even though you’re (hopefully) writing on a topic of interest to you, be sure to back up each claim with substantial facts and statistics. If you’re not sure how to handle formatting, grammar, or research properly, use Cite This For Me’s free APA reference generator & guide, or start citing with our Chrome extension today!

Informative Essay Conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph of the informative essay. Make sure you don’t write hurriedly but carefully. The conclusion should be clear and precise to become a powerful ending for your informative paper!

Here are some effective tips to make your conclusion impressive:

  • Summarize all main points, arguments, and evidence;
  • Tie all ideas together;
  • Bring closure to your paper;
  • Don’t introduce new information or arguments;
  • Avoid vague language like ‘in conclusion’ or ‘in summary’;
  • Avoid restating only the thesis statement;

Informative Essay Topics

Here is a list of great informative essay topics to inspire you. A full list of topics is available here. Check them out before selecting your specific topic and writing your informative essay.

  • Obesity in America
  • The role of the American Red Cross during wars and other crises
  • The effects that video games have on children’s behavior, both good and bad
  • How to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft
  • The most effective ways to save money on a small budget

Tips for Writing an Informative Essay

  • Select an interesting topic that would be appropriate for your target audience.
  • Do preliminary research on the topic you have chosen to determine what information is available and what is already being said about the subject.
  • Create a thesis statement, a concise sentence or two that summarizes the main points you will make in your essay.
  • Write an outline of your essay by writing a summary of each paragraph you plan to write and organize them in the order they will appear in your essay.
  • Write the body of an informative essay using informative language and credible details, examples, statistics, and expert views to support your main idea or thesis in each paragraph. Make sure each sentence flows smoothly into one another by using transition words such as “however,” “for example,” “in addition,” or “therefore.” Include clear explanations of concepts, facts, and opinions so readers understand how they relate to the topic without interjecting personal viewpoints inappropriate for an informative essay.
  • Write an introduction that entices readers to read further by putting forward concepts or questions that make people want to learn more about them; state the thesis sentence clearly within this section as well as any other necessary background information needed for readers to understand the main points discussed in the body paragraphs of your essay.
  • Please do not include any new information within this section. Instead, focus on summarizing key topics outlined in your paper so readers can easily understand what will be described further throughout it.
  • Use concise language so ideas flow smoothly from one point to another, as sentences should not typically exceed 20 words long unless presenting data or sources written by others within it.
  • Keep sentences simple with varying lengths and structures, so paragraphs are appealing when visually viewed on-screen or on paper without becoming too hard for readers to follow due to complex grammar structures used throughout it;
  • End with a strong concluding sentence (or two) summarizing all major points made within these paragraphs while keeping focus focused back on central topics discussed earlier within their respective

Before Writing

Before you start working on your essay, you should first consider drafting the informative essay format. If you are wondering how to write an informative essay outline, it’s no different from any other paper outline. Just remember that the body paragraphs should correspond with your key arguments. For example, when writing an informative essay about the spread of Ebola in America, begin by briefly outlining the history of the disease in Africa. In this case, it would be logical to describe the symptoms and methods of treating the virus briefly.

After completing these steps, make sure you have enough information to write about each key idea. If not, conduct research or change your thesis statement so that it’s easier to write on your topic.

While Writing

Make sure your essay is informative, not just a generic topic.

  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Use different words to describe something or someone, e.g., Charismatic Johnny Depp is an actor, or The Volkswagen Beetle is an odd-looking car.
  • Write in the third person unless otherwise told in the instructions.
  • Please do not use the first person (I, me, my, we, us) or the second person (you).

How to Write an Informative Essay

Congratulations on making it to the writing part!

You’ve completed the first steps, and now you have a good idea of what you will write about. Now, you get to start writing your essay.

Use your outline to guide you as you write the body of your paper. If you find that a certain part takes up too many words or pages, try introducing it in a different spot in your essay. It may be just as effective earlier or later in the essay. The same applies to any additional evidence that doesn’t quite fit within a particular section; consider moving it somewhere else where it can contribute.

How to Write an Informative Essay Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of an informative essay. It requires three main components: a hook, background information, and a thesis statement.

Your hook should grab the reader’s attention right away. You can do this in several ways, such as stating a fact or statistic, presenting a quote, or asking a rhetorical question.

Background information is necessary to give your essay context and let the reader know why you’re writing about your topic. You should explain exactly what you’ll be informing the reader about and why it is important to them.

Your thesis should answer the “why” question: why is this topic important? It is the last sentence of your introduction and lets readers know what they will learn by reading your essay.

How to Write an Informative Essay Body

Now that you have written the first draft of your informative essay, you’re ready to create a strong and engaging final draft! In your final draft, you should include transitions between paragraphs and sections. Transitions help guide the reader through your writing. In addition, ensure that all of the points in your thesis statement are included in each body paragraph by connecting them with transitional sentences.

To understand how to write an informative essay body paragraph, remember these three key points:

  • State the main points of each paragraph clearly
  • Explain each point with detailed evidence
  • Ensure that all of the points connect back to the thesis statement and support it

In this type of essay, it is important to ensure that there is a balance between different aspects of your paper. Be sure that any transitions between sections or paragraphs are smooth and logical; they shouldn’t disrupt or confuse readers.

How to Write an Informative Essay Conclusion

Your conclusion should give your main point or a short idea of the subject matter. This will help your reader understand what you are going to talk about. Also, it should create interest in them to continue reading the rest of your essay.

The thesis statement is restated, though, differently from the introduction. It also summarizes the evidence provided and reinforces why these facts are relevant to the topic. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel, on the whole, suggests that such an integration is (or isn’t) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay: Don’t simply summarize your essay. A summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long–more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.

Avoid phrases like “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “in summary,” and “to sum up.” These phrases can be useful–even welcome–in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You’ll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.

Final thoughts

There are several common types of informative essays. What you write depends on your teacher’s instructions and what you know about the subject, but there are common elements to all informative essays.

If this is your first time writing an informative essay, you’ll need some basic tips. Luckily, we’re here to show you how to create an amazing essay that will impress your teachers. We also have sample essay templates that can help you create your outline.

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