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Writing an Informative Essay

The goal of an informative essay is not to present your opinion, but "to inform or educate the audience on a given topic" (The KU Handbook for Writers, 2008, p. 102).

Your informative essay might

•  explain something most readers won’t know

•  present the latest research on a topic

•  define a complex term

•  compare and contrast opposing viewpoints

•  analyze a cause-effect relationship

•  teach readers how to solve a problem or apply knowledge

For this course, your informative essay should be 3–5 pages in length and use at least four sources. You should also use a formal academic writing style, avoiding contractions like won't and presenting evidence objectively instead of saying I think or relying on personal experience.

Sample Informative Essays
One of the best ways to understand how to write an informative essay is to look at how someone else has already done it.

The KU Handbook for Writers (2008) has a sample informative essay on pp. 136–142. This essay is also available in the Kaplan Writing Lab under 1.2F. You can also follow the links to these examples:

Requirements for CM107 Assignment

  • Read the Final Project Information (on KU-ACE, Unit 1)
  • Follow rubric (on KU-ACE, Unit 1)
  • Use at least four (preferably more) outside sources
  • Give an overview of what others have said about your topic, including different points of view.
  • Adapt the 5-paragraph structure to fit your topic.

Internet Resources on Writing Informative Essays

Informative or Expository Writing

What is an expository essay? (Purdue OWL)

How to Use Exposition in Writing (eHow)

Types of Expository Writing (InfoPlease)
Definitional Techniques (Prof. Whitburn)
Informative Essay (Metropolitan State)

Essay Structure

Essay Structure diagram (JCU Study Skills Online)
Alternatives to Outlining (JCU Study Skills Online)
Wizard: Create-a-Paper template (Maricopa)
Outline for Five-Paragraph Essay
Basic 5-paragraph essay with plan of development and outline (.html)
Basic 5-paragraph essay with parts labeled (.html)
Developing an Outline (Purdue OWL)
Beyond the 5-paragraph Essay (Dartmouth Writing Center)
Find the organization that's best for your topic: Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns (U Maryland)














Copyright in these materials belongs to C. Munzenmaier © 2010.
Teachers are free to reproduce or modify them for educational use.

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