I. The purpose of an informative essay is to present information in an organized and coherent fashion, but without expressing an opinion about the information. Points of views, pro and con, can be included, but they must be presented in an unbiased fashion. Your paper should do the following:
A. Enlighten your audience or give them usable material.
B. Present sufficient information for the needs of your audience.
C. Make clear from the beginning the purpose(s) of your presentation.
II. Before you begin writing your informative essay, you should do the following:
A. Sufficiently research your topic to gain a solid understanding of your subject. (Your instructor may make specific suggestions for this background research.) Librarians can help, too.
B. Make sure that the opinions, facts, and figures which you intend to use are reliable and up-to-date.
C. Decide on the best way to present your information based on what your audience wants or needs to know.
1. Should you organize the information on the basis of chronology, importance, or geography?
2. What must be included and what can be eliminated?
3. Do you want to set up a comparison? a cause and effect relationship? a process? a classification?
III. Your informative paper should be presented in essay form and contain the following elements:
A. A clear statement of purpose early in the paper.
B. Citations for all quotations, paraphrases, or summaries of another author; facts and figures. See Online Writing Resources
IV. Your essay could be evaluated on some or all of the following points:
A. Quality and accuracy of your research. Librarians can help you find good, scholarly sources.
B. Clear presentation of the information.
C. Clear, logical, and appropriate organization of the information.
D. Appropriateness and thoroughness of your information in light of your stated purpose, including the effective use of quotations, figures, and background material.
E. Documentation of sources. See Online Writing Resources.
A. Using another person's work without giving them credit.
B. Presenting a list of facts rather than organizing material into a single, coherent essay.
C. Presenting a biased view of controversial topics.
D. Dealing with too many facts rather than limiting the scope of your presentation.