The Basics of Effective Essay Writingby Becton Loveless
As you progress through school, you'll be required to write essays. And the farther along in school you get, the more complex and demanding the essays will become. It's important that you learn early on how to write effective essays that communicate clearly and accomplish specific objectives.
An essay is a written composition where you express a specific idea and then support it with facts, statements, analysis and explanations. The basic format for an essay is known as the five paragraph essay – but an essay may have as many paragraphs as needed. A five paragraph essay contains five paragraphs. However, the essay itself consists of three sections: an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Below we'll explore the basics of writing an essay.
Select a TopicWhen you first start writing essays in school, it's not uncommon to have a topic assigned to you. However, as you progress in grade level, you'll increasingly be given the opportunity to choose the topic of your essays. When selecting a topic for your essay, you'll want to make sure your topic supports the type of paper you're expected to write. If you're expected to produce a paper that is a general overview, then a general topic will suffice. However, if you're expected to write a specific analysis, then you're topic should be fairly specific.
For example, lets assume the objective of your essay is to write an overview. Then the topic "RUSSIA" would be suitable. However, if the objective or your essay is to write a specific analysis, then "RUSSIA" would be far too general a topic. You'll need to narrow down your topic to something like "Russian Politics: Past, Present and Future" or "Racial Diversity in the Former USSR".
If you're expected to choose your own topic, then the first step is to define the purpose of your essay. Is your purpose to persuade? To explain how to accomplish something? Or to education about a person, place, thing or idea? The topic you choose needs to support the purpose of your essay.
The purpose of your essay is defined by the type of paper you're writing. There are three basic types of essay papers:
- Analytical - An analytical essay paper breaks down an idea or issue into its its key components. It evaluates the issue or idea by presenting analysis of the breakdown and/or components to the the reader.
- Expository - Also known as explanatory essays, expositories provide explanations of something.
- Argumentative - These type of essays, also known as persuasive essays, make a specific claim about a topic and then provide evidence and arguments to support the claim. The claim set forth in argumentative (persuasive) essays may be an opinion, an evaluation, an interpretation, cause-effect statement or a policy proposal. The purpose of argumentative essays is to convince or persuade the reader that a claim is valid.
Once you have defined the purpose of your essay, it's time to brainstorm. Don't choose just one topic right of the bat. Take some time to consider, contrast and weight your options. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of all the different topics that fit the purpose of your essay. Once they're all down on paper, start by eliminating those topics that are difficult or not as relevant as others topics. Also, get rid of those topics that are too challenging or that you're just not that interested in. Pretty soon you will have whittled your list down to just a few topics and then you can make a final choice.
Organize Your Ideas Using a Diagram or OutlineSome students get scared to start writing. They want to make sure they have all their thoughts organized in their head before they put anything down on paper. Creating a diagram or outline allows you to put pen to paper and start organizing your ideas. Don't worry or agonize over organization at this point, just create a moderately organized format for your information.
Whether you use a diagram or outline doesn't really matter. Some people prefer and work better with the flowing structure of a diagram. Others like the rigid and logical structure of an outline. Don't fret, once you get started, you can always change formats if the format you chose isn't working out for you.
The following are useful steps for developing a diagram to organize ideas for your essay.
- Get started by drawing a circle in the middle of a paper just big enough to write in.
- Inside your circle, write your essay topic.
- Now draw three or four lines out from your circle.
- At the end of each of lines, draw another circle just slightly smaller than the circle in the middle of the page.
- In each smaller circle, write a main idea about your topic, or point you want to make. If this is persuasive (argumentative) essay, then write down your arguments. If the object of the essay is to explain a process (expository), then write down a step in each circle. If your essay is intended to be informative or explain (analytical), write the major categories into which information can be divided.
- Now draw three more lines out from each circle containing a main idea.
- At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle.
- Finally, in each of these circles write down facts or information that help support the main idea.
The following are useful steps for developing an outline to organize ideas for your essay.
- Take a page of paper and write your topic at the top.
- Now, down the left side of the page, under the topic, write Roman numerals I, II, and III, sequentially.
- Next to each Roman numeral, write the main points, or ideas, about your essay topic. If this is persuasive essay, write your arguments. If this an essay to inform, write the major categories into which information will be divided. If the purpose of your essay is to explain a process, write down each step of the process.
- Next, under each Roman numeral, write A, B, and C down the left hand side of the page.
- Finally, next to each letter, under each Roman numeral, write the information and/or facts that support the main point or idea.
Develop a Thesis StatementOnce you have an idea for the basic structure of your essay, and what information you're going to present in your essay, it's time to develop your thesis statement. A thesis statement states or outlines what you intend to prove in your essay. A good thesis statement should be clear, concise, specific, and takes a position.
The word "thesis" just sounds intimidating to most students, but a thesis is actually quite simple. A thesis statement (1) tells the reader what the essay is about and (2) what points you'll be making. If you've already selected an essay topic, and developed an outline or diagram, you now can decide what points you want to communicate through your essay.
A thesis statement has two key components. The first component is the topic, and the second is the point(s) of the essay. The following is an example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
The life of a child raised in Pena Blanca is characterized by little playing, a lot of hard work and extreme poverty.
An example of an analytical thesis statement:
An analysis of the loan application process for citizens of third world countries reveals one major obstacle: applicants must already have money in order to qualify for a loan.
An example of an argumentative (persuasive) thesis statement:
Instead of sending tax money overseas to buoy struggling governments and economies, U.S. residents should be offered tax incentives for donating to companies that provide micro loans directly to the citizens of third world countries.
Once you're done developing a thesis statement that supports the type of essay your writing and the purpose of the essay, you're ready to get started on your introduction.
IntroductionThe introduction is the first paragraph of the essay. It introduces the reader to the idea that the essay will address. It is also intended to capture the reader's attention and interest. The first sentence of the introduction paragraph should be as captivating and interesting as possible. The sentences that follow should clarify your opening statement. Conclude the introduction paragraph with your thesis statement.
BodyThe body of your essay is where you explain, describe or argue the topic you've chosen. Each of the main ideas you included in your outline or diagram will become of the body paragraphs. If you wrote down four main ideas in your outline or diagram, then you'll have four body paragraphs.
Each paragraph will address one main idea that supports the thesis statement. The first paragraph of the body should put forth your strongest argument to support your thesis. Start the paragraph out by stating the supporting idea. Then follow up with additional sentences that contain supporting information, facts, evidence or examples – as shown in your diagram or outline. The concluding sentence should sum up what you've discussed in the paragraph.
The second body paragraph will follow the same format as the first body paragraph. This paragraph should put forth your second strongest argument supporting your thesis statement. Likewise, the third and fourth body paragraphs, like the first and second, will contain your third and fourth strongest arguments supporting your thesis statement. Again, the last sentence of both the third and fourth paragraphs should sum up what you've discussed in each paragraph and indicate to the reader that the paragraph contains the final supporting argument.
ConclusionThe final paragraph of the essay provides the conclusion. This paragraph should should restate your thesis statement using slightly different wording than employed in your introduction. The paragraph should summarize the arguments presented in the body of the essay. The last sentence in the conclusion paragraph should communicate that your essay has come to and end. Your concluding paragraph should communicate to the reader that you're confident that you've proven the idea as set forth in your thesis statement.
Having the ability to write effective essays will become increasingly important as you progress through high school and into college. If you'll internalize the format presented above, you'll develop the ability to write clear and compelling essays.
The student would not make his piece of writing impressive without being involved in academic essay writing for years. Do you think that writing an informative essay is easy? It provides specific information on a subject-related topic without any attempts to persuade the reader in the author’s truth, but it offers some challenges. The list of possible informative essay topics is endless. The article shares the top-quality essay topic ideas based on the best academic papers submitted by the students worldwide.
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Informative Essay: Definition by Essay Writing Guru
An informative essay is a type of academic assignment, given to high school and college students to test the way they can provide information on a specific topic (global warming, hate crime, discrimination, fast-food, obesity, etc.). Compared to other popular forms of academic essays (persuasive/argumentative), the student should not try to convince the reader of his truth in an informative essay. It is the most effective academic tool of the high school/college teacher. It is used to evaluate various criteria:
- Knowledge of subject
- Set of skills
- Awareness of formats
- English proficiency
The greatest reward is the highest possible grade and improved great point average (GPA).
How to Write an Informative Essay?
The integral part of scientific/academic essay writing is a research, which refers to the systematic, smooth investigation of primary & secondary sources to present the facts on a specified problem. Modern students have a unique opportunity to use the Internet. It takes less time, nerves, and efforts than high school/college/university libraries used to several decades ago. The approach is the same.
How to Handle Research Process
While studying the available sources, it is important to notice the date of publishing (old sources are those that were published more than 5 years ago), whether the authority accredited the source, and how relevant the displayed information is. It is better to exclude sources that provide an opinion on the matter (for example, reviews or critical articles). It is better to choose the primary sources. They include:
- Books & e-Books
- Academic journals
- Scientific magazines
- Official reports
- Print newspapers
- Accredited websites
- Documentaries & movies
- Research papers
Remember to find & use facts alone. To provide a corresponding evidence in the context of your informative essay, insert either a direct or indirect quote with the help of quotation marks and narrowed reference in the parentheticals. Write down notes highlighting the main ideas. The goal is to inform. Save your time on providing facts & detailed descriptions instead of trying to persuade the target readers that your position towards the researched problem is correct while the opponents are wrong.
Professional Advice from Our Academic Company
“Split the entire information into 3 different categories. Those would be the history of research, the process of it, and the benefits of the discovered materials related to the field of study. Every category will become the focus of the corresponding body paragraphs. Omit any details that no longer fit into your informative essay. Send your ready draft to the professional online essay writing services to avoid any grammar/spelling/punctuation mistakes, plagiarism, issues with formatting, or other factors, which may prevent your informative essay from being excellent”.
Prof. Lesley, online tutor & essay editor from EssayPro
How to Write Informative Essay Outline
Once you decided on the topic, it is time to sit down and spend a couple of hours or more depending on the assignment’s volume on the informative essay outline.
What’s an informative essay outline? By having a clear plan of action, it is possible to avoid problems with an informative essay writing. Like a traveler lost in the forest without his compass, a student will be lost between the lines of his text without having an outline in front of his eyes. The instructions do not always tell to prepare an outline. If it does not say to insert a table of contents, the author should still carry out an outline to recall it each time he starts falling off the topic. The goal is to provide meaningful descriptions to educate the reading audience on the given topic. To understand how to write an informative essay, it is important to introduce data void of any type of bias.
Have a look at each stage of professional academic essay writing (an outline).
How to Write an Informative Essay Introduction
Introduce the topic by developing a shocking, engaging hook sentences in the beginning to grab the reader’s attention. It would be a great idea to insert a literary quote or famous people saying in the opening sentence. Try beginning with the statistics/fact. Another nice option is adding a simile or metaphor.
Work on a powerful thesis statement (include the main informative essay’s idea). Check whether the rest of the arguments relate to it. End your initial paragraph by stating the predictions for the future, rhetorical question, link to the next passage, or anything else to make the reader move to the second section being intrigued. Various transition words & phrases help to build links between paragraphs. Here is an example of informative essay introduction:
“It is 7 AM on a hot day in June, and I have already showered and taken my meal. I realize that the rest of the students are having dreams spending their best summer days the way an average student should when it is sunny outside. I do not envy them. With the huge enthusiasm, I hurry to my part-time job as an editor’s assistant at the local art magazine to gain new exciting writing experience!”
How to Write an Informative Essay Body Paragraphs
Do not come up with more than three body paragraphs & 3 main arguments to defend. Each claim included in the work should be supported by the meaningful, strong evidence retrieved during the process of in-depth research.
Keep in mind the structure below:
How to Write an Informative Essay Conclusion
It is necessary to finish the whole informative essay on an epic note in case the author wants the reading audience to remember his brilliant ideas and go on researching the problem. A conclusion should have a restated/rewritten thesis statement in one sentence. Add a meaningful summary based on 3 main points discussed in the body. It is a good idea to finish the informative essay with the exclamation, forecasts for the future, innovative ideas, rhetorical question, or quote of a famous person. It is all about leaving the last impression! Do not forget about one more page at the end – Bibliography!
How to Format & Reference in Academic Essay Writing
Combine the list of great informative essay topics above with these helpful tips & tricks to have an insight on how to write an informative essay every teacher will love!
It is time to say several words about formatting. Every informative essay instruction will have this point among the rest, so do not hurry to relax. Any format is made of 2 main parts. Those are direct/indirect in-text citations inserted in the body text & list of references, which appears at the end of the informative essay after the conclusion part. It is sometimes called References (in APA style), Bibliography or Works Cited page (in MLA).
An example of the properly referenced list of sources.
Heaney, Seamus. “Beowulf: A New Verse Translation.” W. W. Norton & Company; 1st
Edition, 2001. Print.
Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” Watchmaker Publishing, 2010. Print.
2 Informative Essay Examples
One more thing that a student might lack after reading the article is the informative essay examples. It would take a while to include the entire essay. Read some of the extracts from the most inspiring informative essays written by high school & college students.
It is a good example developed based on one of the top informative essay topics.
Bonus Informative Essay Example on Business
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Deciding on the Top Informative Essay Topics
It is a good chance to demonstrate a personal area of competence if the tutor does not assign a specific topic, leaving the right to choose one. It is not easy. The student has to conduct in-depth research on the most recent news to discover the widely discussed/debated problem in the society. An interesting title supports the right choice of topic.
The best students & professors from the top-rated colleges agreed to share their most effective informative essay topics with the readers of this post. We have divided the topics into separate categories to make it easier to follow.
Informative Essay Topics for College Students
- Informative essay topics associated with vegetarianism
- Computer viruses: types, causes, & consequences
- The usage and outcomes of surprising-reversal strategies
- Great Depression: Its role in history, causes, events, & results
- Shakespeare’s influence on the development of modern British literature
- Football vs. soccer: Their differences & role in sports
- How does the United States handle racial issues?
- Is it possible to minimize the level of pollution in towns?
- Stressful situations in the student’s life
- Measures people can take to reduce the level of domestic violence in the US
Good Informative Essay Topics
- Simple ways to decrease the rates of poverty in the United States
- Information students should know to conduct in-depth research
- Does placebo help to overcome real-life threats?
- How can one write a speech to persuade the audience?
- Why is thesis statement important in academic essay writing?
- Things people should create in XXI century
- Introduction to the world of Stephen King
- How to choose the best idea out of a pool of good ideas
- The time does not change population for better
- New world’s order
Informative Essay Topics for Middle School
- General information on how to compose music
- Interesting facts about the world’s wonders of nature
- Everything related to cooking a fish
- Words that can best describe summer time
- Example of using mobile apps in the process of learning
- Plastic surgery: pros & cons
- Photography: Its history & development
- Several ways to stay healthy with the help of popular foods
- Drug addiction and how to get rid of it
- What defines the best friend: A philosophy of friendship
Relatively Easy Informative Essay Topics
- Three things every business startup should keep in mind
- Ways to find a way out of any legal situation
- Gun control: General information
- Methods to release from drug addiction
- Main causes of child obesity and its treatment
- Traits that make people with bipolar disorder stand out from the rest of the population
- Bullying in high schools
- Do preventive disciplinary measures in school help to improve students’ behavior?
- Who can help with informative essay writing?
- Will humanity ever create a machine capable of cloning people?
We have covered the best informative essay topics along with the essay’s structure, research process, and some other tips that help students around the world to succeed in their academic performance. Do you have any questions left? It does not matter whether you are a high school or college student – if you have no idea how to complete a specific informative essay, make an order at the official website of the leading online essay writing company in the United States!