How To Write A Well-Structured Essay

One of the most common assignments you’ll get in high school and college classes are the informative essay or essay about something factual. This type of essay requires you to research information about your topic and then write about it. Here are some tips on how to write an informative essay that will not only get you the grade you need but will also help you learn what you need to know about your topic in the process.

Define the topic

To start, define your topic and make sure it’s narrow enough for you to handle within an essay format. We’re talking about one cohesive piece of writing with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion—not an eight-page research paper. Research: Find out what others have written on your topic, but don’t be limited by their work; you want to show off your own perspective on things and provide new information for readers. If you find yourself stuck after researching, try skimming over your notes or jotting down ideas from books and articles. But don’t put pen to paper yet.

Pick your strongest arguments.

Rather than simply listing facts and information about your subject, choose two or three of your strongest arguments and back them up with evidence. That way, you’ll be able to focus on those points more deeply and tie other details into them more logically. You’ll also make it easier for readers to understand why you chose those particular points—and that makes your essay stronger.

Writing Strategy: Pre-Writing

As an essay writer, before you start writing, outline your informational essay. When writing an essay for school, it’s crucial that you organize your ideas in a clear and coherent way. In order to do so, map out all of your points before you start. For example, consider using bullet points or numbering each point. This method will make it easier to stay on track while writing. This pre-writing strategy will also help with editing once you complete your essay. Start off by listing three things: 1) What is my thesis statement? 2) What are my three main points (or claims)? 3) How can I further develop these claims?

Writing Strategy: Creating an Outline

Outlines can serve as great guides for your essay. They help you organize your ideas and get your thoughts in order. Writing an outline can also be very useful when you’re writing an essay about something that has a specific structure, like a scientific experiment or historical event. An outline makes it easier to write each body paragraph because you already know what information will go into it and how it relates to other parts of your essay.

Writing Strategy: Starting the First Draft

How you start your essay matters. If you don’t grab your reader’s attention in paragraph one, he or she will probably stop reading your essay and move on to someone else’s. Your introductory paragraph is designed to hook your reader into what you have to say and serve as an example of how well you can write. Try writing an introduction that answers So what?

Writing Strategy: Revising

So once you have your first draft, you’ll want to go back through it and revise. This process will serve several purposes: it will help you focus on your thesis statement, it will allow you to cut any extraneous information, and it will prepare your essay for its next stop in peer review. Be sure that each paragraph directly supports your main idea. And make sure there is no extra text at the end of each paragraph – every point needs to be clearly stated. If one sentence doesn’t add anything new, delete it! You should also use transitional words like therefore or because of these reasons to connect points.

Once you feel like you have done everything possible with your essay, send it off to someone else (ideally another student), either an essay writer, who can provide their own opinions on your paper.

Writing Strategy: Editing

Spend time editing your work so it’s error-free. I’m not suggesting you need to have a perfect essay before turning it in, but make sure all spelling errors are corrected, and any grammatical errors have been fixed up. Make sure that your essay flows well from one idea to another and that you cover each point without rambling too much or leaving anything out. Re-read your essay aloud as it will help you pick up on awkward phrasing and repetition that isn’t clear.

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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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