informative essay writing homework help

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Informative (and Surprising) Essay Materials

  • Purpose of the Informative and Surprising Essay

    Rhetorical Aim = To explore or explain

    Focus of writing = Subject matter on which you present new or needed information based on your own experience or research

    What writers do =
    You provide information your readers need or want, or you arouse curiosity and then present new, surprising information

    Relationship to audience = You, as a knowledgeable teacher, surprise your readers by enlarging their view of a subject; you expect readers to trust your authority and information

    Form = Usually has a closed-form structure

  • Pattern, Purpose, and Goal of the Informative and Surprising Essay

    You present the problem, the common answer for your imagined audience, and a surprising reversal.

    Your purpose is to enlarge your readers’ views on a topic by providing new information or to teach them something they didn’t know about the topic.

    The surprising-reversal pattern occurs when you contrast your readers’ original view of a topic with your own new or surprising view.

    Your goal is two-fold:

    1. to discover unique knowledge or experience that will give your audience an uncommon perspective on a topic; and

    2. to consider both your topic and your audience (persons who have a mistaken or narrow view of your topic).

  • Informative and Surprising Essay Assignment

    For this assignment, you will write an informative (and surprising) essay. In your paper, you will be required to use 3 outside sources from which you either quote or paraphrase, using the correct parenthetical citation techniques when needed. You will also need to attach a Works Cited at the end of the essay.

    The essay must be at least 2 ½ pages in length (double-spaced, typed, with 1-inch margins) and use MLA format throughout.

    The essay will be graded for the following:

    1. Correct grammar/punctuation/spelling
    2. Correct quote introduction, paraphrasing, parenthetical citation, and works cited
    3. Appropriate sources acquired through research
    4. Correct focus (informative and surprising) and structure (closed-form)

    Please follow the steps listed below when writing:

    1. Read and review notes on Introductions, Thesis Statements, and Points and Particulars.
    2. Brainstorm for topics and do exploratory writing.
    3. Write a rough draft.
    4. OPTIONAL (but strongly encouraged): Ask one of your classmates to review your draft (and review one for a classmate).
    5. Proofread and edit the final draft.
  • Getting Started on the Informative and Surprising Essay

  • Exploration
  • Consider the following:

    · Based on my personal experience, reading, research, or observation, what information or knowledge do I have about X that is different from the common view of X held by an imagined audience?

    · Although people within my imagined audience commonly regard X this way, my personal experience, observations, or research show X to be this way.

    You don’t have to surprise everyone in the world, just those who hold a mistaken view.

    Your surprising view doesn’t necessarily have to be diametrically opposed to the common view.

    Your surprising view also doesn’t have to be shocking or earth-shattering! It just needs to be different from the common view.

  • Structure for Informative Essay
  • Intro – Catch the reader’s attention, establish common knowledge or attitudes, state the reader’s current level of understanding. End with the thesis—surprises, gives new perspective, leads the reader in a new direction with new knowledgeFirst point – tell what the point is (topic sentence). Support it with particulars from research or my own knowledge. Include citations.Etc. – for as many points as you haveConclusion – review points or give advice to the reader (what to do with new knowledge) or suggest actions for the reader to take or ….

Informative Essay — Rhetorical Issues

  • Posing and Solving Problems

    Few writers discover “answers” in a blinding flash. They clarify their ideas in the act of writing.Serious writers are not only problem solvers but problem posers. They realize that they can’t bring anything significant to the audience if they don’t bring up something new or challenging. Writers Pose Two Sorts of Problems1. Subject Matter Problems – questions about the mentally ill, abortion, gun control, etc.; for example, “should the mentally ill who are homeless be involuntarily placed in mental institutions?”2. Rhetorical Problems – questions about audience, purpose, form, and style

    • how much background about my subject does the audience need?
    • what is their current attitude about mental institutions?
    • what form and style should I use?

    Types of Subject-Matter Questions1. Pure-knowledge questions: Is it possible to split the atom?2. Practical-application question: How can we use our knowledge of splitting the atom to build an atomic bomb?3. Values question: Should scientists build an atomic bomb? Should the US drop it on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?Types of Rhetorical Problems QuestionsWriters have to say something to an audience, for a purpose, in an appropriate form and style. Before you think about content, consider the following:

    1. Who am I writing for?
    2. What does my audience already know?
    3. What effect do I want my writing to have on the audience?
    4. How should I structure my essay?
    5. What tone of voice should I adopt?

    Most writing projects begin with subject-matter questions and then move toward rhetorical issues as the writer considers how to best address the problem for the reader.

  • Distinctions of Closed Forms of Writing

    Closed forms are top down, thesis-based proseClosed forms have the thesis as an implicit themeIn writing classes, the closed form is mostly used.Closed form is the most appropriate for an academic audience.Closed form will have

    • an explicit thesis in the introduction,
    • a forecasting structure,
    • cohesive and unified paragraphs with topic sentences,
    • clear transitions between sentences and between parts, and
    • no digressions.

    Showing Why Your Question is ProblematicA question is said to be problematic if it has no apparent answers or if the answers that first come to the reader’s mind can be shown to be unsatisfactory. Showing Why Your Question is SignificantWriters often need to show why a problem is worth pursuing in order to keep readers from saying, “who cares?”

  • Subject Matter Problems

    The subject matter is the problem/issue that the writer is wrestling with. Example issues include the mentally ill and the declining supply of fossil fuel.It works like this: Writers start with a problem; next, they pose a question; and then they answer the question (thesis statement). See the example below:

    • Problem — the declining supply of fossil fuel
    • Question — Should the government force people into smaller cars?
    • Answer — The government should/should not place size restrictions on the cars that people purchase.

    Characteristics of good subject-matter questions include the following:

        • They should be problematic.
        • They should be significant.
        • They should be interesting to the writer.

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