Informative essays are one of the most popular types of essays tasked to both high school students and college graduates. They aim to educate the reader on a specific topic and contain well-researched facts and valuable data without being argumentative, biased, persuasive, or opinionated. An informative essay has a particular outline upon which it is structured, which not only relays facts and data but makes it easy and enjoyable to read.
The outline of an informative essay will include three sections. These include an introduction and a thesis statement, which presents the main topic in an interesting way to catch the reader’s attention. This is followed by three body paragraphs that delve into the topic in more depth, and a conclusion that wraps up the essay.
Informative essays are easy to write if several steps are followed, beginning with a great topic and good research. Let’s take a look at informative essays, what they are, why they are written, and how to write an outstanding paper.
What is an Informative Essay?
An informative essay is a piece of writing that aims to educate the reader on a certain topic or subject. It can also analyze data, compare and contrast something, embelllish on a term, provide a “how-to”, or compare controversial viewpoints on a certain topic. This type of essay, however, does not present the information in an argumentative, biased, persuasive, or opinionated way.
An example of an informative essay would be a paper that discusses a topic such as pollution and how it is affecting the environment. The essay will basic facts and in-depth knowledge about the topic and how it is having an impact on the environment.
How to Choose a Topic for an Informative Essay?
If you have to choose a topic for an informative essay, be sure to select a subject that you are confident to write about. It is also important that you choose a topic that isn’t too broad to avoid your essay reading like a novel, or too narrow so that your essay is thin.
When choosing a topic for your informative essay, keep the following points in mind:
- Select a topic that interests you as this will help you to write a better essay.
- Choose a subject that is exciting and interesting and will grab and hold the attention of the reader.
- Make sure you have enough information to create a captivating and compelling essay.
The topic of the essay will be the central focus of the paper, so it is important to take time when deciding on a topic and go through the following steps:
- Brainstorm: Write a list of possible topics you would like to write about and any issues that may come across when writing about it.
- Research: Research your chosen topic thoroughly.
- Sources: Always make sure you have reliable and quality sources for your subject matter.
- Evaluate: Make sure you are familiar with the topic you choose and can comfortably write about it. This will make it much easier to plan and write your essay.
- Title: Decide on a catchy title for your essay. You want to grab the attention of your reader from the outset.
What are the Steps for Writing an Outline for an Informative Essay?
Now that you have chosen your topic for your informative essay, you can create an outline of the paper. An outline for an informative essay is a simple way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing it.
Your essay outline will include the three main sections of the essay, namely the introduction and thesis statement, the main body paragraphs, and the conclusion. For the main body paragraphs, you will jot down summary sentences or phrases for every point that you want to cover in the paragraphs, creating a picture of how your argument will unfold in the essay (source).
An informative essay organizational outline will look as follows:
|Introduction and Thesis Statement||The introduction paragraph serves to introduce the reader to the topic in a captivating and compelling manner.|
The thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. It tells the reader the importance of your subject matter and prepares the reader for what they can expect in the essay.
|Main Body||The main body usually consists of three paragraphs, each of which details the theme of the thesis statement in the introduction.|
Each paragraph will present a different idea that connects to the main topic of the essay.
|Conclusion||The conclusion will restate the main points of the essay and the thesis statement and wrap up the essay in a succinct and thought-provoking way.|
Let’s take a more detailed look at each section of an informative essay outline and what they involve.
1. Introduction and Thesis Statement
The introduction to an essay should grab the attention of the reader and this is done with a “hook.” A hook is made up of one to two sentences in the opening lines of the introduction that grab the reader’s attention. The type of hook will depend on the topic of the work and the intended audience. A hook could be one of several types, including:
- a proven fact
- a rhetorical question that aims to provoke debate
- a quote from a famous person
- a literary term or quote
- a funny joke/anecdote
- combination of several of the above
After the hook, give some background information on the subject, including a transition sentence leading to the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the central argument of your essay and is one of the most important parts of your informative essay outline.
A thesis statement for an informative essay discusses the topic without expressing any opinions or personal views on the subject. The statement should be clear, precise, and easy to understand, as well as appealing to the reader.
An example of a strong thesis statement would be as follows (source):
Essay Topic: Problems of Teenage Binge Drinking
Thesis Statement: “Cases of alcohol abuse in high schools across America have increased in number and severity over the last ten years.”
2. Body Paragraphs
The purpose of the body paragraphs in an informative essay is to elaborate on the thesis statement. The body paragraph will consist of three paragraphs that discuss three main ideas relating to the thesis statement. These paragraphs have a specific outline that needs to be followed to present the facts, data, or ideas concisely and succinctly.
Each of the three paragraphs in the main body should follow the same structure:
- Topic sentence: This sentence introduces the main point of the paragraph and links the thesis to your first main point.
- Claim: The claim is the main argument of the body paragraph and should contain reliable facts and data from research. Always make sure your information comes from solid sources.
- Evidence: These few sentences highlight the evidence and physical proof that supports your thesis, such as surveys, reports, facts, statistics, etc. You should always include a quote from one of your sources in this section to avoid the reader accepting your opinion as fact. You should also present an explanation of your claim and how the evidence supports your thesis statement as fact.
- Concluding sentence: The concluding sentence of the paragraph is a general synopsis of the facts presented and the significance of the main points of the essay.
In summary, each body paragraph will have three points: they need to make a claim, provide evidence to substantiate the claim, and provide an explanation about the claim.
The conclusion of an informative essay summarizes the main points of the paper and wraps it up clearly and cohesively. The conclusion has a set structure that should be written as follows:
- Rewrite your thesis statement
- Summarize the key points of the body paragraphs
- Conclude the paper clearly and cohesively
The first sentence of the conclusion will be a rephrased version of your thesis statement. This will help the reader understand your thoughts and allows for a smooth transition from the body paragraphs into the conclusion.
Then summarize the main points of the body paragraphs by highlighting the most significant facts from each, followed by an overall concluding statement that serves as an explanation for the significance of your argument and the “real-world” value of your paper.
Top Tips for Writing a Great Informative Essay
Writing a great essay isn’t only about connecting with your readers. A poorly formatted essay with spelling and grammar mistakes and be the difference between an outstanding paper and a dud. Here are some top tips to remember when writing your next essay:
1. Check for Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
There is nothing worse than reading an essay that is riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Double and triple-check your paper or give it to someone else to read and edit to be sure it is free of silly mistakes. If you are working online, use a grammar tool like Grammarly to double-check your work.
2. Double-Check Your Facts
Double-check your facts and figures and be sure you have referenced them correctly. Make sure the names of people you are quoting or referencing are correct, as well as the names of events and places. Pay attention to detail as small mistakes can cost a lot. Also, always check for plagiarism and avoid copying anyone else’s work. Online tools like Copyscape are good programs for checking plagiarism.
3. Read Your Essay Out Aloud
This may sound silly but reading your essay out loud is a great way of picking up little errors you may have missed before. It is also a good way to check the flow and the rhythm of your essay. Reading your essay out aloud allows you to become your own reader and hear your work from a different perspective, which can be invaluable.
An informative essay is a great way of introducing facts, data, and ideas to your reader through well-researched facts and valuable data in a non-argumentative, unbiased way. The outline of an informative essay follows a specific structure not only helps the writer to discuss their main points in a concise and organized way but makes the paper easy and enjoyable to read.