What Is an Informative Essay?
An informative essay is a form of writing that teaches the reader about a topic in an unbiased manner. Typically, this type of essay will include an introduction, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body of the essay generally will contain facts that are well-researched and come from reliable sources.
There are many uses for an informative essay. For example, it may be used to inform readers about a product, a process, a person, or an event. Although it may be used to discuss a controversial issue, it may not be used to express the writer's opinion about that issue. In those cases, the writer should present both sides of the issue in an unbiased manner — the reader should not be able to infer the writer's opinion on the topic after reading an informative essay.
The introduction section in this type of essay typically is the first paragraph of the paper and offers a brief overview of the paper's topic. It may also present a surprising fact, geared to hook the reader and encourage him to read the rest of the essay. The last sentence of the opening paragraph will usually contain the point of the informative essay, also called the thesis statement. Generally, it is the most important sentence in the entire essay, as it sets forth the direction for the rest of the paper.
The body paragraphs of an informative essay will typically contain the facts that support the thesis statement, presenting the reader with information about the topic in an organized manner. The facts may answer questions that the reader might have about the topic, for instance. This can be done through examples, step-by-step analysis, or by presenting expert opinions. Generally, each fact should refer back to and support the opening thesis statement. The writer must make sure not to express his thoughts or opinions, even in a subtle fashion, since all facts and discussion of the facts must be done in an unbiased manner.
At the end of the informative essay, the writer will have a concluding paragraph. This paragraph typically summarizes the facts that were discussed throughout the body of the essay. It can also restate the thesis sentence. The writer should make sure that he does not introduce any new points or facts in this paragraph — if there are additional facts that the writer feels are important for the essay, they should be included in the body paragraphs.
@David09 - Frankly, I don’t think bias is the main problem in the student papers I read when I was a teacher. It’s precisely the lack of facts that is the problem.
I found that students would make compelling theses statements but fail to back them up with solid facts that supported their arguments. In some cases, the facts they did choose seemed to reinforce the opposite conclusions than what they were writing about!
I saw more fluff and a lot less meat in the papers that I graded. I think it’s not so much bias that is at issue, but that we have become very opinionated, and students don’t dig deep enough to support their arguments, resting on mere assertions alone to carry them through the paper.
@Charred - Is it really that difficult? I don’t think so. The problem is that no matter what you write on, you will have to present facts. Those facts can be viewed as biased by one party or another, even though they are still facts. Your detractors would ask, why would you choose one set of facts and not another?
I think it’s impossible to continue with a rambling point-counterpoint-point-counterpoint exposition in your essay and so this is why bias is inferred when the author may not have intended it.
I don’t think that it’s impossible to write without bias personally. I just think that it’s impossible to write in a way that will please everyone.
In this highly polarized world in which we live, it’s very rare that you read an informative essay that does not betray some bias. That bias may be revealed in the turn of a phrase; it may be apparent from how opposing points of view are represented.
Whatever it is, in my opinion it’s almost impossible not to betray bias, regardless of the topic. Some informative essay topics deal with controversial issues as the article points out and in these cases it’s even more difficult to maintain a neutral stance.
I am speaking from experience as someone who has read other people’s essays. I can usually tell one way or another where the author is coming from. In my opinion, if you can really shoot straight when you write an informal essay you immediately gain instant credibility, because it’s so difficult.
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