Formatting and requirements:
- Times New Roman 12 pt font
- Double spaced
- Name, date, class, and professorâ€™s name in upper left corner
- Include a title (something other than â€œinformative essayâ€)
- 4-5 pages i.e. 4 full pages min â€“ not 3.5
- Make use of at least 3 sources, at least 1 must be a peer reviewed journal article or book
- Include at least 1 quote or paraphrase from each source
- Have a Works Cited page at the end of your essay in MLA format
The goal of an informative essay is to inform the reader of something.I didnâ€™t have to tell you that. But what does it mean to inform? I think the operative definition for our purposes is to deepen a readerâ€™s understanding of an event/person/movement that has been largely overlooked by the general public or about which there are popular misconceptions. Basically, you need to tell me something I donâ€™t know or correct some bad information I might have. You should inform your audience of the details (where, when, who, why, how, with special attention given to how and why) of the event you choose because you feel they probably do not know about the event or because most people have a flawed understanding of the event.
So think about your audience. Most people know the broad details of World War II, so an essay that tells us that Hitler was the leader of Germany and that he was defeated by an Alliance including the U.K, U.S, and U.S.S.R. does not really inform the reader of anything new.If you wanted to write about a widely studied topic like WWII, you would need to get into more specific details that the average reader probably does not know already. The other option is to write about an event/person/movement that people donâ€™t really know about at all or that has been avoided by the American educational system because it does not fit into historical narratives that support/justify the status quo. Some examples of this would be the slave revolt in San Domingo in the 1790â€™s and the subsequent founding of Haiti, the Paris workerâ€™s revolt of 1871 and the establishment of the Paris Commune, or the history of the Communist Party in America.
You can think of this assignment as providing a â€œlittle known historyâ€ of an event or idea. Consider C.L.R Jamesâ€™ purpose in writing about the Haitian slave revolt â€“ he knows most readers are not aware of this and thinks it is important to know about because it changes how we think about world history.
Sources â€“ you need them.A primary goal of this class is to make you comfortable conducting research and including it in your writing.This paper is something of a warm-up designed to (re)acquaint you with the research and writing processes.
As for specific topics, it is totally up to you.Pick something fun or interesting, you will be spending 4-5 pages with this topic.