Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Writing Effective Informative Essays
Take your pick:
Writing Effective Informative Essays

Writing Effective Informative Essays

Author: Mackenzie W

Distinguish between analytical and definition essays.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

314 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Video Transcription

Download PDF

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm McKenzie, and today we're learning about writing effective informative essays. Have you ever noticed that some topics are difficult to explain? In this tutorial we'll learn about the definition of informative essays, and we'll discuss analytical essays and definition essays.

Let's begin by discussing the definition of an informative essay. When I say informative essay, what I'm talking about is a piece of writing that aims to inform, describe, or explain some sort of topic to the reader. One approach to writing an informative essay is to think about what you want the reader to have learned after having read your piece of writing. In this tutorial, we're going to focus on two different types of informative essays, an analytical essay and a definition essay.

We'll now discuss an analytical essay. An analytical essay is when we analyze or think critically about a topic, and we break that topic down into smaller parts so that we can understand it better. Some things we might analyze include a lab experiment, survey results, movie or novel characters. For example, if I'm using the results of a survey about parenting qualities, I could analyze what it means to be a good parent. Or maybe I'm looking at a lab experiment about potential uses for sodium chloride. I could break that down and explain that. Maybe I'm looking at several short stories all written by the same author, and I want to analyze the author's usage of a sympathetic protagonist in his or her writing. These are all examples of potential analytical essay topics.

It's important to remember that when you're writing an analytical essay, we're not simply describing the different items that we're analyzing. We're making some sort of statement that adds some sort of value, meaning, significance, or purpose to the topic we're analyzing. And the way that we do this is we look at some or all of the components of the topic being analyzed, and then we draw our own conclusions. When we're drawing conclusions, we're using what we've found for our own analysis of the topic. And the way that we do this is we find facts, evidence, logic, data from drawing our own interpretations and conclusions.

It's important that it be based on fact, because we want the information to be unbiased. Because it's informative writing, we have to present the information objectively. And when we're analyzing something, we have to keep that in mind, because it's a combination of drawing our own inferences, being analytical, and presenting the information that we found when we analyzed the topic.

We'll now discuss a definition essay. When I say definition essay, I'm talking about a type of informative writing that aims to define or explain something in a new, interesting, or thought-provoking way. This isn't just a dictionary definition. This is a definition that allows us better insight into a topic. We could define a meaning of something, especially for a complex or abstract topic. We could define a new idea and explain to the reader what that new idea includes. Or we could even change or alter a definition to help the reader to think of something in a new way. Here are some examples of some definition essay topics.

Maybe I can provide a definition of what it means to be a citizen. I can talk about the legal ramifications of citizenship. Maybe I could talk about community involvement. There are different ways I could discuss that topic. Maybe I can change a definition. Maybe I can discuss beauty, and instead of talking about typical, standard ideas of beauty, I could talk about cancer patients, amputees, individuals with birth defects. It's a new way of thinking about the definition of beauty. Or maybe I can choose a broader topic and set parameters about specifically how I want to define that topic. Let's use the example of intelligence. This is a very broad topic. I can't just define intelligence in general terms. I need to have a specific goal in mind. Maybe I talk about book smarts versus street smarts. Or maybe I talk about emotional intelligence. These are all ideas that helped me to figure out what kinds of topics are best for definition essays.

When writing a definition essay, keep in mind that it's not just your opinion. Even though we are putting our own spin on it, we still have to provide facts, data, information, logic, reasoning to help the reader to understand why we're defining something in the way that we are. I mentioned that we put our own spin on it, and that's especially important for complex or abstract topics to help the reader to better understand what we're describing and how we're defining a topic or an idea. I also mentioned that one of the ways to do this is to set parameters. We have to set parameters when we're using a broad topic. If I want to talk about intelligence, there's a lot to be said about that topic. I cannot just define what intelligence is. I have to specify what exactly I'm saying about intelligence in order to define it. When we're using a definition essay, it's important that we think about all of these elements so that, not only we choose an effective topic, but that we define it in an interesting, specific, and easy to understand way.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of informative essays, and we discussed analytical essays and definition essays. Make difficult topics easier to understand. I'm McKenzie. Thanks for listening.

Terms to Know

Analysis is the intellectual process of breaking something (a text, data set, situation, etc.) down into smaller parts for the purpose of understanding it better.

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is a type of informative essay that analyzes parts of an item (text, data set, situation, etc.) and explains their meaning, purpose, or result in relation to the whole.

Definition Essay

A definition essay is a type of informative essay that explains the meaning of a complicated word or concept or alters—by complicating, adding to, or otherwise changing—the standard definition of a word or concept.