Purpose and Audience in Informative Writing

Purpose in Informative Writing

Informative writing shares information in an informative instead of persuasive manner. What that means is a writer whose purpose is to “inform” should be delivering their message to their readers without bias (opinion). They should be educating their readers on a particular topic by providing information and accurate facts, but without the added goal of achieving a specific reaction or change within the readers.

Because of these guidelines, informative writing tends to serve five basic purposes:

To illustrate, let’s look at a few examples of each of these five purposes within the context of different writing topics. As you review these examples, consider the main differences between the good and bad examples. Specifically, consider what role the temptation to turn informative topics into persuasive topics plays in the bad examples you see below. Also consider how you can avoid that risk as you write your own informative essay.

Sharing New Information- Introducing your reader to information he or she may not be familiar with

Sharing New Information- Introducing your reader to information he or she may not be familiar with

Describing a Process- Walking your reader through a step-by-step process or procedure

Clarifying a Concept- Looking at the similarities and/or differences between seemingly related topics

Giving an Explanation of Why or How- Introducing the reader to how or why something works the way it does

Detailing Smaller Parts- Offering details and clarification on smaller parts of a greater whole or topic

Ponder and Record

As you review the five purposes above, consider what you want your own informative writing to accomplish and:

    • Decide which informative writing purpose most closely aligns with your own writing purpose (a good place to begin would be to review the prompt question you are answering)
    • Ask yourself, “How can I ensure that I answer my essay prompt question in a way that doesn’t take sides? What specific information can I share with my reader and how can I present it in a way that is not persuasive but informative?