Writing an informative essay requires excellent research skills to educate your audience; I know this from first-hand experience. But creating an outline for your paper is easier said than done. I promise!
I created this guide to show you the correct outline for writing an informative essay with examples. Follow my tips so you can organize your thoughts and ideas.
What Is an Informative Essay?
An informative essay’s purpose is to inform and educate readers on a specific topic. Some reports seek to define a term, while others compare and contrast different objects. Some informative essays analyze data or provide procedures for doing something.
It’s the type of essay that should present something other than an opinion. That means you should omit personal pronouns “I” and “me” on the paper. You should also not persuade your reader in an informative essay.
Informational Essay Outline
Most essays and speeches follow four parts: an introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion. The main purpose is to help the writer connect all the information and support their thesis statement. Below is an outline for an informative essay structure with examples.
The essay introduction is where you introduce the topic of your choice. It should be shorter than the body paragraphs because it merely provides a background of your informative essay topic. Give the readers an overview of the body paragraph.
This part also includes the relevance of your topic. Ask yourself why you are writing about this subject. What makes it timely?
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Here’s an example:
“Tobacco, a plant that contains an addictive drug called nicotine, kills over 8 million people worldwide annually. It occurs as individuals inhale and exhale the burning plant material’s fumes.”
The thesis statement is often part of the introduction. It’s a complete sentence at the end of the first paragraph discussing what the informative essay will inform its readers. The thesis should be brief, concise, and written in simple terms.
“Smoking is the major cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and stroke.”
- Body paragraphs
The main body of the essay includes a paragraph for every supporting detail. Teachers usually require students to have three points in this section. For every target point, the writer should support it with facts.
The target point is also known as the topic sentence. This statement will serve as the basis of the paragraph for cohesion. After that, support the sentence with facts and studies. Don’t forget to cite your sources to avoid plagiarism.
Don’t forget to summarize each point after every body paragraph to tie everything together.
Below is an example of a body paragraph about one target point.
“Smoking can cause cancer because it weakens the body’s immune system or damages a cell’s DNA. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (2014), nearly 9 out of 10 deaths caused by lung cancer are caused by smoking cigarettes or exposure to second-hand smoke. Although treatments are advancing, it continues killing more people than other types of cancer.”
The informative essay conclusion summarizes the entire essay, highlighting the key points. Here, you should restate your thesis statement and the paper’s purpose. Do not introduce any new ideas or recommendations.
Here is a quick sample informative essay conclusion.
“Smoking is responsible for a majority of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. It increases the risk of cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Nevertheless, people consume it because of the adrenaline rush that creates short-term energy and pleasure. With an effective action plan, anyone can quit this bad habit for good.”
How to Write an Informative Essay: The Writing Process
Now that you know the correct structure of an informative essay, here are some tips for writing one.
Review the Instructions
If you’re writing an informative essay for school, the teacher might have specific instructions for the activity or topic. Find out what you should write about and what they want to read from your paper.
Then, learn the required word and paragraph count. Some professors also have instructions for the writing style guide you should follow.
Formatting guidelines are also common among high school and college professors. Make sure to follow the font style, spacing, and size instructions.
A good essay is about more than just content. Teachers also grade these aspects to help you practice formality in writing. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unclear about the instructions.
Choose a Narrow Topic
Broad themes like love, weather, music, and technology are not recommended when writing an informative essay. Pick a topic that does not include general knowledge.
Consider smoking, for example. This topic is too broad for a 500-word essay. Try focusing on a subtopic, such as the diseases it causes or why people smoke. Perhaps you can also write about the correlation between smoking and poverty.
Create a Logical Thesis Before Writing the Body
You can only create subtopics for your informative essay if you already have a solid topic and thesis statement. Consider what you want your reader to know and why you choose this subject.
Start with a question in mind and write an initial answer. Research the topic, then formulate a tentative response. Make sure it’s based on facts with credible sources and summarizes your overall exposition. A logical thesis statement for this essay type also doesn’t include an opinion.
Create Several Drafts
Whether you’re asked to submit drafts or not, making several versions of your paper is crucial to ensure its quality. After every draft, you should create a more improved version of it with a better structure and fewer errors.
If you have to submit every draft, the lecturer may write their comments and return the paper for revision. Revising is the process of adding or removing information, fixing sentences, rearranging, or changing your evidence. It helps make your writing more understandable.
Here are some guide questions when revising your informative essay.
- Are some parts of your informative essay in proportion with others?
- Do you spend too much time on general knowledge and less on evidence?
- Does the paper follow the thesis statement?
- Is the formality appropriate?
- Does the essay follow a logical pattern?
- Are all the facts accurate?
- Have you cited all information appropriately?
Write a Successful Conclusion
Your outline for an informative essay should include a successful conclusion. It wraps up what you have been informing your readers. You can take from general to specific information while focusing on restating your topic.
Do not add extra information to your conclusion unless it’s a call to action for possible future research. In general, this part of the essay should restate your thesis statement, explain why the topic is essential, and address your main points.
One tip for writing a successful conclusion is to use your introductory paragraph as a guide. It also contains the thesis statement and main points. So, you can reword it and add a closing sentence. Provide closure to the reader, leaving them with a significant impression.
Proofread Your Paper
Proofreading is the final stage in the essay writing process before submitting your informative paper or persuasive essay. This step is crucial because professors also grade your essay or academic paper based on a technicality in informative writing. Check for grammar, punctuation, formatting, and spelling errors to make your writing more precise and accurate.
Review from the larger aspects of your text to the narrow ones. Check your complex sentence constructions, variety, vocabulary, and repetitive phrases. You also want to review your list of references. Are you using the correct style guide?
Learn More Writing Tips for Essay Writers
Writing an informative essay takes more than just research skills. You also need to ensure clarity, organization, and coherence in your work. Take a moment and read some informative essay examples you can find online.
The best method to write an informative essay is to have a specific thesis statement which you can expand in the body paragraphs. Revise, edit, and proofread your work before submitting the final draft. I hope my guide and tips helped you on your way!