Sure, you can write a thesis statement and outline your argument. But if it’s not compelling, dynamic, and interesting to read — the kind of essay that keeps your teacher up late turning pages — you’re going to have a hard time pulling off an A+. Here are some tried-and-true tips for writing informative essays that knock your teacher’s socks off.
When it comes to writing good informative essays, you need to hook your audience right off the bat with a title that piques their interest. You want to grab them with a sentence that makes them want to read more. Ideally, the title should be short, simple, and should make the reader ask a question. There are various ways to write a challenging title.
These titles may seem like a bit of overkill. But, if used sparingly, they can pack a thunderous punch when used in conjunction with a clever, compelling introduction and hook strong enough to land your reader in the middle of an intriguing story.
Life is shorter than you think. This one is so important, I repeated it four times in a single paragraph.
So what’s your message exactly?
A great title subtly tells the reader what your message is about. Do your informative essays have an interesting hook? Great, now tell us your point!
If you want to convey a sense of urgency, use a world-building hook. Imagine stepping into a scene from your favorite good book. How does your essay give you that same feeling?
Demonstrate how something or someone made a life-changing decision in your life.
People react strongly to externally validated knowledge, especially those products or decisions people proudly share. Expose people to inspiring or instructive content—whether it’s true or not.
It’s easy to believe the things we read online are true. If your informative essays contain a true story, you’re going to get plenty of confirmation in the comments. Plus, your instructor will get an inside look at how it was created.
The number of times I see an essay about how two friends became instant best friends was mind-blowing. No, sitting in a room no one could see, they didn’t dine at each other’s homes, they didn’t hang out at their college frats, and they certainly didn’t sneak into each others’ houses.
However, the actions people took back then played a starring role in what happened.
A thesis statement is the main point you want to convey in an essay. It’s the point of your argument or the main claim you’re making. Your thesis statement should be specific, debatable, and well-written. It should be specific and convey exactly what you’re trying to prove. Debatable? It works both ways. If you think you understand a subject well enough to write an essay on it, you probably do. Check out this question and answer on beneficial learning for more on the subject.
Your thesis statement should be at least 300 words long, don’t quote anyone in excess of 300 words, and make sure the first and last paragraphs are jam-packed with relevant, credible sources.
To make your thesis statement compelling, you want to be able to point to specific reasons why your thesis statement is true or why it challenges something your reader already believes. Here are a few tips:
Use general statements, informative essay examples, and compelling premises whenever possible. I’m a big fan of using bullet points to make my case; asking myself what I can prove as I write notes down bullet points — and I end up writing way more succinctly.
Contrast your thesis statement with that of an existing scholar. Did you know research shows that 98% of quantitative information often conflicts with prior artistic depictions of climate change? Now, talk about it!
Consider including a preface for each chapter. Try to include at least two preface paragraphs and a conclusion before anybody jumps inside of your chapters. This while capping off your points before you get to the humor section.
I like to divide my chapters into two sections. For one, I’ll address what I think the reader should take away. Then I’ll explain why I think that’s important. Then, I’ll dive into my take on that issue. Generally speaking, I don’t write the side that the reader should take away; I just want them to have that thought. One bonus? My informative essays preface and conclusion make room for my humor.
Make your argument easy to follow by giving it structure. Readers will follow your argument more easily if it has a structure. A logical structure for your argument is to start with the most important point, then present the supporting points, and finally wrap it up by summarising what you’ve said.
Avoid long paragraphs in your informative essays. Lengthy paragraphs introduce extraneous information that can confuse the reader and turn him off. Avoid needless wordiness by using a few words and phrases to encapsulate your argument.
Mention your key supporting points right off the bat. Make the most important point in the essay around which all the supporting points are built. How do you do this?
Finish your essay with why (and what) you’re telling the story. What do you love about or find compelling about this particular issue? Why should your audience care?
Use key takeaways. Each bullet or paragraph should lead with a subset of the key information that the reader can remember seeing in the essay that preceded it. Remember, if you can sum up the most pertinent point in each bullet or paragraph, you’re on the right track.
Highlight supporting facts. Show how your points are consistent with and reinforce each other. So, using supporting facts will hopefully lead to a more logical informative essay.
Answer the questions. “Why do you care?” is a great opening to an essay that presents a message for the reader. Answers to the questions, however, are fantastic to include at the end of writing your informative essay after the point you made in the beginning. Include your answers in the last paragraph or two (make sure to summarise the answers).
Use imagery. Imagery is so much better than text! Go through an example of informative text to grasp the concept better.
Try dense words in your informative writing. The best informative essay isn’t the one that uses lots of words. The best essay is the one that makes you think. Use dense words to paint a picture: strong statements used to justify points slide into and surround your other information.
The most powerful way to persuade people is to back up your statements with evidence and facts. People are more likely to believe you and take action if you can prove what you’re saying. When you want to persuade people, you need to tell them about the pain they’re feeling and how you can help them solve that pain. I’m sure most first-year college students have studied this topic in-depth and have memorized the complete works of O. Henry, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Roston, and David Brooks. But you don’t need to read this stuff. You can get insightful information about this subject by learning scientific studies about how people form beliefs and opinions. The information is also available in persuasion text examples. Primarily, what you want to know are five things people imagine when they think of something scary.
Many times, our brain’s electrical activity makes up the triggers for these images in our memory. For instance, when we see a pile of old clothes in our closet, our brain sends a message to our body. Without being aware of it, our body then realizes there’s nothing to put into our body waste and frees up the space to send that message to our brain.
Here are a few studies where you can learn more about these five uncomfortable thoughts: The comfort figures below are split according to the year in which they were published, so this article won’t include any studies published in 2015.
Still in college? Good. Because by this point, you’ve probably been forced to take a mathematical analysis course. Like other useful skills, this subject can sharpen your thinking skills and improve your reading comprehension. For instance, you can learn how percentages and percentages-based formulas are created and used, and how to spot when a ratio is a ratio of 1 and not a ratio of 2. This can be applied in writing your informative essays.
Want to sharpen your science and math skills? Take a course on statistics. Most universities have statistics-related majors and minors. If you can’t take a formal stats class, you can still take a broad class on the subject that covers topics such as probability and probability distributions.
To be a good informative storyteller, you have to know how to wrap things up in a way that leaves the audience with a memorable takeaway. End your story on a strong note and bring things to a close in an interesting way that’s relevant to the story you’re telling. Here are a few tricks to remember to keep the audience hooked as they’re leaving your paper.
Put yourself in the shoes of your reader. What would you like your professor to say?
It sounds like a simple task but doing research for your essays can leave you feeling like you’ve come up empty when it comes to having a realistic understanding of how your reader will experience your paper. In other words, you don’t want your reader to come away feeling as though they didn’t learn anything important.
Some writers have compelling hooks (“What kind of plant is this?” Or “Remember the scene when Harry met Sally in Denmark?”) while others just get across the gist of their points (“Show us how to take a risk.”), but when it comes to informative writing, decide which part of your paper makes your reader want to think, “I wish I had written that!”.
Don’t go overboard on your research section. What is the point of spending dozens of pages on the history of Tetto compounds if your paper isn’t asking anybody how to use them for their chemistry project? Invest in a few resources so that you can reach the audience that will show up to your paper. Here are some guidelines:
Don’t dive into ancient history just because you can. If you go too deep into ancient history, you risk putting your readers off even more. Finding new and/or engaging ways to write about things the modern reader is interested in will help connect you to your audience better.
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