How do you select your topic for an informative essay?

You should definitely do the following -

  • pick a topic that interests you
  • pick a topic about which you know something
  • pick a topic for which it is relatively easy to obtain information
  • pick a topic that you think will interest your reader

reformated from Bitesize (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/english/writing/informative_writing/revision/1/)

Where do you find information for this type of essay?

Write down some ideas before you check the suggested list!

You could try the following -

  • any relevant books from any library you can reach (check the non-fiction and reference sections)
  • the Internet
  • magazines and newspapers
  • television and video
  • moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends... long lost cousins!

Other point

If you choose to write the informative essay which is about you, look no further than yourself and your immediate surroundings - just tap into your own mind and experiences and assemble your information from there.

How do you prepare for this type of essay?

Making notes involves putting together information in a shortened (or abbreviated) form in advance of drafting your essay. Even in the examination you should prepare for your piece of writing by making notes once you have decided upon your chosen essay.

This means that you do not write down information in sentences - that comes in the essay.

This is essential to any good piece of writing!

A Second Titanic Essay Example

The Titanic (Information essay B)

Check out this second example of an informative essay about the Titanic. Read it over then jot down notes which identify the key points of information. After you have done this, check your notes against the sample notes provided

The Titanic (Information essay B)

     The Titanic had an iron hull. She also had a double bottom. The outer skin of iron was an inch thick. It was thought that even if this was pierced, the inner skin, also made of iron, would keep the water out.

     It was one of the first ocean liners to have its own swimming pool and squash courts. Passenger comfort was of prime importance and everything about the ship was on a grand scale.

     Nicknamed the 'Millionaires' Special', the Titanic started her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on Wednesday, 10th April 1912. Edward J. Smith was chosen to captain her. This was to be his final voyage as he was due to retire from the White Star Line after 38 years of service.

     In the darkness a huge iceberg crossed the path of the Titanic. The ship's starboard side struck the iceberg a glancing blow and her decks were coveredwith several tons of ice. Water poured in through a gaping hole in the Titanic's hull. The divisions between the watertight compartments did not reach the ceiling and water was overflowing from one to the next. The ship could stay afloat if four of these compartments flooded - but 20 minutes after the accident, a fifth was already filling up. At about 12.30 a.m. Captain Smith ordered people intothe lifeboats - women and children first. There were not enough lifeboats for everyone on board.

     By 2.00 a.m. all the lifeboats had left the stricken vessel, but over 1,500 people were still on board. Some jumped into the icy water, while others huddled together at the stern.

     At 2. 17 a.m. the water flooded the forward compartments and the Titanic lurched forwards. The ship could not take the strain of having her stern in the air and snapped in two between the third and fourth funnels, and sank.

     Of the 2,227 passengers and crew aboard the ship that night, 705 escaped in the 20 lifeboats. Many were picked up by another ship, the Carpathia, which heard the distress calls and raced to the Titanic's aid. But, the remaining 1,522 people, including the ship's captain, drowned.

Check your notes/Compare them below. . .

When you have completed your notes, compare them to the ideas which follow. Check how accurate you have been.  The process of making notes is meant to assist you in working out and organizing your ideas. When you prepare to write any essay, you should make notes.

The Titanic (Information essay B - exemplar notes)

  • T - iron hull - double skinned - outer skin one inch thick
        The Titanic had an iron hull. She also had a double bottom. The outer skin of iron was an inch thick. It was thought that even if this was pierced, the inner skin, also made of iron, would keep the water out.
  • passenger comfort vital - built on grand scale
          It was one of the first ocean liners to have its own swimming pool and squash courts. Passenger comfort was of prime importance and everything about the ship was on a grand scale.
  • maiden voyage - April 1912 - captain's final voyage - retiring
        Nicknamed the 'Millionaires' Special', the Titanic started her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on Wednesday, 10th April 1912. Edward J. Smith was chosen to captain her. This was to be his final voyage as he was due to retire from the White Star Line after 38 years of service.
  • iceberg struck - tons of ice on decks - torn hull - water flowed over bulkheads - crucial fifth one filled up - captain ordered 'abandon ship' - not enough lifeboats for all
        In the darkness a huge iceberg crossed the path of the Titanic. The ship's starboard side struck the iceberg a glancing blow and her decks were coveredwith several tons of ice. Water poured in through a gaping hole in the Titanic's hull. The divisions between the watertight compartments did not reach the ceiling and water was overflowing from one to the next. The ship could stay afloat if four of these compartments flooded - but 20 minutes after the accident, a fifth was already filling up. At about 12.30 a.m. Captain Smith ordered people intothe lifeboats - women and children first. There were not enough lifeboats for everyone on board.
  • 2.00 a.m. - all lifeboats launched - over 1,500 still on board
         By 2.00 a.m. all the lifeboats had left the stricken vessel, but over 1,500 people were still on board. Some jumped into the icy water, while others huddled together at the stern.
  • 2.17 a.m. - ship lurched forward - snapped in two
        At 2. 17 a.m. the water flooded the forward compartments and the Titanic lurched forwards. The ship could not take the strain of having her stern in the air and snapped in two between the third and fourth funnels, and sank.
  • only 705 survivors - 2,227 total - 20 lifeboats - Carp rescued many - 1,522 drowned
        Of the 2,227 passengers and crew aboard the ship that night, 705 escaped in the 20 lifeboats. Many were picked up by another ship, the Carpathia, which heard the distress calls and raced to the Titanic's aid. But, the remaining 1,522 people, including the ship's captain, drowned.

How do you plan the order for an informative essay ?

There are a number of ways of doing this. You could -

  • organize your paragraph areas according to a chronology, which means that the information is presented in an order of time, from the earliest to the latest date (for example, if you were writing about a topic such as the development of the modern computer)
  • organize your paragraph areas on the basis of a person's achievements or the landmarks in someone's life (if you are writing about a famous person, like a politician or a film star)
  • organize your paragraph areas according to the aspects which are most important in outlining a topic (for example, if you are writing about your hobby, you might structure your essay along the lines of the hobby's 'history', when you first became interested in it, what it actually involves (this might comprise a few 'component' paragraphs), how often you engage in it, what 'rules' it has, why you enjoy it so much, and so on)

The main point, however, is that you should decide on an order and give your essay a clear structure.

Look over the example above and try to work out what order it has been given. Does the order reflect any of the examples given above?

What does each paragraph contribute to the overall topic?

Listen to this audio clip for more about how to write an informative essay.

How do you draft an informative essay?

You should definitely do the following!

  • Refer to your notes
  • Decide the best order for your information
  • Organise your essay into clear paragraphs
  • Write in sentences
  • Try to use effective vocabulary
  • Think carefully about how you express yourself and how you phrase your ideas
  • Try to link your ideas from paragraph to paragraph

The examples of various information essays you have had the chance to read throughout this revision bite are not intended to be seen as perfect examples of their kind. They are good, but they could still be better!