An informative essay is written with the main purpose to inform others of a specific topic or idea such as technology, air pollution, child labor, terrorism or numerous other topics. This style of essay writing is commonly used for school or work-related assignments as well as for online information. With an informative essay it is important to present facts more than personal opinion and to stick to the main point of the essay.
Just as with any other essay, an informative essay will need to start with an introduction paragraph. The topic and main point of the essay will need to be clearly laid out in this paragraph. This may be done in the thesis statement. An overview of what will be discussed throughout the rest of the essay may also be included in the introduction paragraph, if desired. About five to eight sentences long is sufficient for the length of an introduction paragraph.
The body of an informative essay does not have a specific number of paragraphs it must contain. It is up to the writer how long or short the essay will be. On average, essays usually contain three body paragraphs. Each paragraph of the body normally presents and discusses a different fact relating to the main topic. The writer's opinion or ideas should not overpower the facts but may be included in this part of the essay.
A conclusion paragraph will close off the essay with a short recap of what has been discussed as well as a reminder of the main topic or point the essay addresses. The writer's opinion and views of the topic fit well in this paragraph. The conclusion does not typically need to be lengthy, though it is up to the writer to choose. A few sentences are commonly enough to adequately recap and conclude the essay.
Informative essays normally contain a number of facts, quotations or resources referenced specifically in the text. If this is done, it is very important to cite these references in a works-cited page. This page is not included in the main setup of the essay but is done on a separate page of its own. The author, title of the book, page number or website where the information was found will need to be listed. Websites such as owl.english.purdue.edu offer help on how to correctly cite a reference.