125 Informative Essay Topics Examples and Writing Prompts

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Written By Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

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Coming up with the best informative essay topic for an assignment often seems more daunting than it is. After all, in its nature, the informative essay is a curiosity essay – it answers the questions “why”, “how”, “when”, “what”. We ask questions like “How does X work?” or “What causes Y?” all the time. Of course, you should always consider who will read your essay and how knowledgeable you’re expected to be on the subject. But once you’re familiar with the guidelines for your assignment, you should be able to find inspiration all around you.

However, if you’re pressed for time and can’t explore your surroundings or social media for appropriate questions that will make a good essay topic for your informative essay, we have prepared a comprehensive guide with 125 example essay topics to help your inspiration flow.

How to Choose an Informative Essay Topic

If you’ve never written an informative essay before, you might be wondering how it differs from other essay types and why it follows a specific topic format.

What is the goal of the informative essay?

The informative essay (sometimes called “expository” essay) is the least “essay-like” variety of writing you could encounter. In fact, it’s closer to a research paper and the academic style, than the typical creative form of other essays. Unlike the narrative essay or the descriptive essay, in which the author is invited to introspect and discuss their personal experiences and inner life, the goal of the informative essay is to educate the reader about a particular subject. It aims to be objective and demonstrate the author’s knowledge about their chosen topic. This also makes the informative essay different from the argumentative essay. Remember, the aim of an argumentative essay is to present and argue a personal opinion or one’s position on an issue.

That said, there are several tell-tale signs that an essay topic would be great for an informative essay. 

How to choose a good essay topic for an informative essay?

  • Does it answer a non-directional question?

Typically, a non-directional question is exploring something. This could be a social issue, a cause-and-effect relationship, a concept, a theory, a process, and so on. More importantly, these types of questions do not ask the author to pick a side and to argue. Instead, they ask for examination and analysis of a subject. 

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A good example of an informative essay topic of this type would be “What is social security?” or “How do social security benefits work?” or even “What is the history of basketball?” These questions don’t ask the author to take a stance on an issue. The difference with argumentative topics like “Should immigrants receive healthcare?” now seems pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Essentially, if the essay question you’re considering has one of these question words: what, where, how, why, and when, then it’s likely a good candidate for an informative essay topic.

  • Does it ask you to compare and contrast?

An alternative approach to the informative essay is framing the topic as a compare-and-contrast. This invites the author to demonstrate their detailed understanding of the subject by elucidating subtle similarities, differences, misconceptions, and discussing information that is not typically available to the wider public.

  • Does it ask you to discuss pros and cons?

Choosing a compare-and-contrast informative essay topic, means analyzing the subject from at least two opposing viewpoints. This further corroborates that the primary goal of an informative essay is developing and logically showing familiarity with the topic.

Pros and cons essay topics are easy to spot (and come up with). Just look for the on-the-nose phrasing, for example, “What are the pros and cons of…” or “Discuss to arguments for and against…”. If the question is not this clearly stated, look for language that asks you to evaluate, analyze, or examine two sides of a conflict.

How to come up with an original essay topic?

As we mentioned in the beginning, “the great outside” is a great place to find a question for an informative essay topic. In addition, we suggest that you try engaging with the following:

  • History and popular science books are good for “analyzing” or “what caused” types of essay topics; comparison is also easily idone when we are viewing things in hindsight.
  • Documentaries are excellent for “how it works” and “why it happens” essay topics.
  • Quora, Reddit, and other social media platforms can be an invaluable source of issues on current affairs. Usually, it’s easy to get contrasting views on a subject just by checking comments and replies and therefore find inspiration for a compare-and-contrast or pros-and-cons essay there.

If you’re still unsure whether the topic you have in mind is a good topic for your essay, consider our upcoming comprehensive list of informative essay topic examples.

Hint: if that doesn’t work, take a look at our argumentative research paper topics list. If there’s something that interests you, you can rewrite the question so it’s suitable for an informative essay by following the above-mentioned guidelines.

Informative Research Paper Topics

Informative Research Paper Topics

Depending on whether you’re writing an essay for college or for high school or middle school, the expectations on length and expertise can vary massively. Although sometimes the terms “essay” and “research paper” are used interchangeably, if you’re required to write a longer piece, consider choosing a topic that would require more research. Good news, those are more fun, too!

Our ideas for informative research topics explore subjects like history of music, psychology, and politics. Often, writing a good paper on these topics would require a more creative approach to research, including analyzing data yourself, so start writing on these only if you have enough time to devote.

1.     What are the factors that lead to the obesity crisis in the United States?

2.     What was considered as pop music through the ages?

3.     What are the factors that cause inflation and who benefits from it?

4.     What factors have led to the opioid crisis in the United States?

5.     What is confirmation bias and how does it impact our ability to find objective truth?

6.     What are the factors that led to the homelessness crisis in the United States?

7.     How did India’s caste system emerge and what are the economic and social implications for people today?

8.     How does long-term memory work and why shouldn’t we trust memories?

9.     What is the role of women in early civilizations?

10.  Compare the purchasing power of the last three generations; how does it differ and what factors contribute to this?

Informative Essay Topics for College

Informative Essay Topics for College

Informative essays are a very popular assignment at college level, and they typically focus on the material in the syllabus. Therefore, the example essay topics we’re suggesting are taking into consideration the knowledge level of first and second-year college students. If you’re looking for more advanced writing prompts, consider our list of argumentative research papers, especially the challenging topic examples.

1.     How do psychedelic drugs “change” our minds?

2.     How would universal basic income work?

3.     What is the Marxist philosophy? 

4.     What is object-oriented programming and how did it change the world of IT?

5.     What are heuristics and how do they influence/inform decision making? 

6.     What is the caliphate?

7.     Compare and contrast the political ideas of the Greek and Roman leaders

8.     How is black hair different from white hair and why is this difference important?

9.     How does positive reinforcement differ from negative reinforcement? Discuss the pros and cons of both in different contexts (e.g., parenting, machine learning, pet training, etc.)

10.  What is universal grammar?

11.  What is the mind-body problem?

12.  What is free will?

13.  Why do we experience attraction and what happens in our bodies when we do?

14.  What are cognitive biases and are they helpful or harmful?

15.  Compare existentialism and essentialism

Informative Essay Topics for High School

Informative Essay Topics for High School

Developing critical thinking cannot start soon enough and high school is the perfect time for students to engage in structured debate and analytical discussions. Research, concise and coherent writing style, and a keen eye for patterns are invaluable tools for a good presentation. Informative essay topics are an ideal method to develop these skills in students. In fact, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and exposition-style topics on current issues are typical examples of high-school level essay prompts. To browse more essay topic ideas specifically on cause and effect, you can find a dedicated list here

If you’re looking for great topics examples for verbal debate, explore our library of debate topics here. 

1.     What is the history of AI?

2.     What is the earliest word?

3.     What is the history and evolution of coronaviruses?

4.     What is anarchism?

5.     What is political correctness?

6.     Compare and contrast the doctrines of Islam and Christianity

7.     Compare and contrast a two-party political system and a multi-party system.

8.     What is the history of the European Union?

9.     What is the history of the vaccine? 

10.  Why do people procrastinate?

11.  How does a quantum computer work? 

12.  How to invest in cryptocurrency?

13.  What are the moral considerations about self-driving cars?

14.  What is machine learning and how do machines learn?

15.  What are the pros and cons of traditional vs Minerva-type of education?

Controversial Informative Essay Topics

Controversial Informative Essay Topics

Have you ever wanted to join a conversation about a controversial issue, but lacked the relevant examples to back up your position? (The author of this article has.) Whether you’re a reading/writing learner, or prefer to find your truth in a debate, writing on controversial topics is an extremely effective way to become familiar with key arguments and counter arguments. In addition, since the informative essay requires an objective approach, whereas writing on a controversial topic typically evokes a strong emotional reaction, tackling such issues helps students hone their writing and thinking abilities.

1.     Who are “incels” and what is the evidence that this subculture has given rise to terrorist ideology?

2.     How do corporations profit from prison labor?

3.     Discuss the historical roots of transhumanism.

4.     What are the pros and cons of mandatory paternity leave?

5.     Why do men have nipples?

6.     What is China’s one child policy and what makes it controversial, especially in comparison to alternative approaches to family planning?

7.     How is sex discrimination manifested in higher or specialized education?

8.     What is the Tuskegee syphilis study and what wider observation can be drawn from it?

9.     How do major crises in the United States affect xenophobia and what’s the role of the government in these attitudes?

10.  What has Covid-19 shown us about systematic racism in the United States?

Interesting Informative Essay Topics

Interesting Informative Essay Topics

If you’ve looked for informative essay topic ideas in your immediate surroundings, such as asking friends for help, looking through social media, or being truly inquisitive about the state of things on your way to school, you may have missed some unique essay prompts. We’ve tried to remedy this by compiling a list of (mostly) truly unique essay topics of our own concerning art, business, biology, and culture. We advise students who choose to write about one of the following topics, to approach it with heightened curiosity and a great open mind.

1.     What is the history of the birthday celebration?

2.     Where and when did the anti-vax movement originate?

3.     How does music affect brain function and emotion?

4.     How is evil coded in movies?

5.     What role does color play in cinematic storytelling?

6.     What is the history of animation and how did it evolve?

7.     What do bees do all day?

8.     Why does Australia have more venomous animals than Iceland? 

9.     Why do metronomes synchronize and how is this relevant to our lives?

10.  Why do people have non-laborious animals?

11.  How did Amazon’s business model evolve?

12.  How and why do birds of paradise differ from migratory birds in terms of mating habits?

13.  Why is the death of one person more impactful than the death of thousands?

14.  How do plants communicate?

15.  Why do many major services transition to a subscription model payment?

Advanced Essay Topics for an Informative Essay

Advanced Essay Topics for an Informative Essay

To write an impactful essay requires a proportionate effort and a compelling topic. Luckily, because of their factual nature, informative essays are excellent vessels for strong academic writing and clear argument structure. That said, the topic ideas here demand meticulous research and attention to detail to yield an effective piece. 

To find an expanded list of advanced essay topic examples, visit our argumentative research paper topic list or college essay topics list.

1.     What is language (as opposed to a dialect)?

2.     What are the linguistic and social challenges Deaf people face?

3.     What is game theory and how does it apply to the fields of economy and evolution

4.     What is Simpson’s paradox and how is it relevant to the way we understand data in news and media?

5.     What role has philosophy played for the advancement of science?

6.     What is the role of art in times of crises?

7.     What are dreams and why do we have them according to different cultures?

8.     What can we learn from nervous systems that are different to mammals? 

9.     What is the attitude towards surrogacy in different countries, including the perspective of the surrogate mothers?

10.  What does a national dish say about a country’s history or cultural heritage?

11.  The Agricultural revolution is discussed as both a blessing and a curse to the human race. Why is that?

12.  Compare three social apps of your choice and discuss the amount of personal data each one offers access to.

13.  Why do some anthropologists argue that early humans practiced polygamy and raised children in a communal manner, while others insist that monogamy is inherent to human nature?

14.  What are the differences and similarities between the social structures of social insects (like ants and bees) and the societal structures of humans?

15.  What is the role of AI in creativity?

Informative Essay Topics for Teenagers

Informative Essay Topics for Teenagers

Originally called “easy”, this category includes essay topic ideas that are suitable for teenagers and middle school students. These are topic examples that inform the younger essayist about relevant concepts but are also fun and develop general knowledge. 

Please note that this list is specifically compiled to help students write a good informative essay. If you’re looking for more teenage-appropriate essay topic ideas, explore our library of controversial essay topics for teens.

1.     Who were the suffragettes?

2.     Why and how are the first 12 years of a child’s life exceptionally formative?

3.     What is the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom?

4.     Discuss the pros and cons of caffeine intake

5.     What is daylight savings?

6.     What is the history of Santa Claus? 

7.     What are the pros and cons of attending a liberal arts college?

8.     Why do non-athletic sports such as chess, speed cubing, or online gaming qualify as sports?

9.     What are the most common fears (and why)?

10.  What are the pros and cons of starting higher education immediately after graduating high school?

11.  How do spiritual practices (e.g., yoga and meditation) improve mental and physical health?

12.  Why can’t some animals be domesticated?

13.  What is gaslighting and how to recognize this behavior?

14.  Why is social media linked to increased anxiety in specific age groups?

15.  Why are human beings the deadliest species on our planet?

Political Informative Essay Topics

Political Informative Essay Topics

For those of you who’ve chosen to study political science or international relations in higher education, this list may seem like an oversimplification of issues. However, the essay topic prompts we’ve considered here aim to help students develop fundamental understanding of core political entities and key practices, and are best suited for senior high school students or first year college students.

To do well on an informative essay on these topics, you should consult original sources as well as different authoritative interpretations of these texts. It will also be beneficial to become familiar with the subject vernacular; sources like The Economist and The New York Times are a great start for this.

1.     What is the history of the LGBT movement in the US?

2.     What is election hacking?

3.     What is gerrymandering and what are its effects?

4.     How does the Electoral College work?

5.     Discuss the pros and cons of a capitalist system

6.     What does it mean to go bankrupt?

7.     Who do countries owe their national debt to?

8.     What is the difference between Federal land and State land?

9.     Discuss the pros and cons of different voting methods (e.g., voting by mail, machine voting, etc.)

10.  Why do filibusters exist and what are their applications (and to what results)?

11.  Discuss instances of when music was used as a political weapon (i.e., for propaganda, or to glorify certain liberties)

12.  When does a market crash occur and why?

13.  Define the three waves of feminism; is there a fourth?

14.  What is the difference between liberalism and libertarianism?

15.  What is the difference between radical politics and extremism?

Informative Essay Topics about Environmental Issues

Informative Essay Topics about Environmental Issues

It could be discouraging to know that the climate is changing whether we like it or not. But it could also be empowering to consider our role in these changes, both positive and negative. Interestingly, the environment is one of the best suited subjects for the informative essay format. This is because nature is impartial and there is little conflict regarding the role of human intervention in its natural course. In addition, much of the literature is observational, rather than speculatory (unlike, for example, in philosophy, psychology, economics, etc.), which makes writing about one of these topics easier.

Of course, writing about environmental issues is an extremely effective way to develop sustainable habits and minimize our negative impact.

1.     Why are ice caps important?

2.     How did vegan diets become popular?

3.     What is greenwashing and how do brands benefit from it?

4.     Compare and contrast electric, hybrid, petrol, and diesel cars and discuss which is better for the environment

5.     How does eating affect brain chemistry and how to eat better “brain” foods?

6.     What would the extinction of bees mean for life on our planet?

7.     How does climate change affect aquamarine life?

8.     Who is at risk from the planet’s diminishing water supplies?

9.     Discuss the pros and cons of industrial farming

10.  What are the effects of a global pandemic like Covid-19 on biodiversity?

11.  What are three direct and indirect effects of pollution?

12.  How are greenhouse generated?

13.  What is anthropogenic climate change and how does it directly affect humans?

14.  What is the promise of “clean tech”?

15.  Compare and contrast three environmental NGOs and their impact.

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