The Art of Explanation: How to write an explanatory essay

Table of Contents

Welcome to our guide on how to write an explanatory essay! An explanatory essay is a type of writing that is used to explain a specific topic or concept. It is a useful tool for providing readers with a better understanding of a subject, whether it be a historical event, scientific principle, or even a personal experience. The ability to explain complex ideas clearly is an essential skill in today’s society, as it allows us to share our knowledge and understanding with others.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of writing an explanatory essay, let’s take a moment to talk about why it’s important. In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with information from all different sources. It can be hard to sift through it all and make sense of what’s important. An explanatory essay is a way to help make sense of the information by breaking it down into smaller parts and providing a clear and accurate explanation of the topic.

Now that we understand the importance of explanatory essays, let’s talk about the steps involved in writing one. The process can be broken down into several manageable steps, including researching, planning, writing, and revising. By following these steps, you’ll be able to write a clear and effective explanatory essay that informs and educates your readers.

Enhance your writing skills with this informative piece, which is just one part of our comprehensive guide, “Master the Art of Writing“.

In a hurry? Get a quick overview of the steps in our 2-minute summary

In this guide, we’ll take you through each of these steps in detail. We’ll talk about how to conduct thorough research, how to plan and organize your essay, and how to write an engaging and attention-grabbing introduction. We’ll also cover how to clearly and effectively explain complex ideas, how to write a strong conclusion, and how to revise and edit your explanatory essay to make it the best it can be.

So, grab a notebook and a pen and let’s get to the first step: researching. Conducting thorough research on your topic is essential for writing a clear and accurate explanatory essay. It allows you to identify key information and sources that will be used to support your main idea. When researching, it’s a good idea to use a variety of sources, including books, articles, and online resources. Make sure to take notes and organize your research so that you can easily access the information you need when writing your essay.

Next, we’ll move on to the planning stage. This includes outlining the main idea and key points of your essay, as well as organizing the information you have gathered. Creating an outline will serve as a roadmap for your essay, helping you to stay on track and ensure that your essay is logically structured.

With your research and planning complete, it’s time to start writing the introduction. The introduction is the first impression that readers will have of your essay, so it’s important to make it engaging and attention-grabbing. This can be done by using an interesting fact or statistic, asking a question, or providing a personal anecdote. The introduction should also establish the main idea and purpose of the essay.

The next step is writing the body of your essay. This is where you’ll provide a clear and detailed explanation of your topic or concept. It’s important to use evidence and examples to support the main idea, and to organize your information in a logical and easy-to-understand way. Use headings and subheadings to make the essay easy to follow and make sure to keep the tone friendly and engaging.

The conclusion of your essay is where you’ll summarize the main idea and key points of your essay. It’s also an opportunity to make a lasting impression on the reader. This can be done by providing a call to action, asking a thought-provoking question, or making a prediction. The conclusion should end the essay on a strong note and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Finally, it’s time to revise and edit your essay. This is an essential step in the writing process and will help you to identify and fix any mistakes, and to polish your essay to make it the best it can be. Read through your essay several times, checking for grammar and punctuation errors, and making sure that the information is presented in a clear and logical way.

And there you have it! By following these steps, you’ll be able to write a clear and effective explanatory essay that informs and educates your readers. Remember, the ability to explain complex ideas clearly is an important skill and writing explanatory essays is a great way to practice and improve this skill. So, don’t be afraid to take on a challenging topic, and don’t be discouraged if your first draft isn’t perfect. Keep practicing and you’ll be writing great explanatory essays in no time!

Research matrix

Identify key information using research matrix

What is an Explanatory Essay?

An explanatory essay is a type of writing that explains or clarifies a certain topic. This is distinct from other forms of writing such as persuasive, narrative, and expository essays. While these other types of essays often revolve around making a certain argument, an explanatory essay is meant to explain a topic to readers in a concise and straightforward manner.

At its core, an explanatory essay is all about breaking down complex topics into more manageable and digestible chunks. Rather than trying to persuade readers to agree with a certain point, the goal of this form of writing is to impart knowledge on the specified topic. It typically follows the fundamental structure of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.

The body of the essay is where the majority of the information is conveyed. Here, the writer must organize their thoughts and ideas into clear, concise points that can be easily understood by the reader. Additionally, the writer should use simple language to ensure that their points are easily followed by all audiences.

Explanatory essays differ from other forms of writing in that they do not require the author to take a specific stance on the subject. Rather, they are meant to simply provide information and educate the reader on the topic at hand. By presenting facts and data in an easily digestible format, the writer can help the audience gain a better understanding of the subject.

How to Choose a Topic

When it comes to writing an explanatory essay, the most important decision you will make is choosing your topic. Selecting the right topic can be crucial to the success of your essay as it should challenge you while also providing value to the reader. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect topic.

Consider Your Audience

Take some time to think about who your readers will be and what they might be expecting from your essay. This will help narrow down the subject matter and allow you to focus on topics that your audience will find interesting and informative.

Ask Yourself Questions

Before you settle on a topic, consider the type of questions you can ask related to it. If the questions you come up with don’t have clear answers or invite further exploration, then it likely isn’t the right topic for you. Aim to select a topic that offers plenty of food for thought.

Narrow Down Your Choices

Once you have a few topics in mind, take some time to research each one and consider the amount of available materials. If there isn’t enough material to draw upon it might not be the best choice. Additionally, make sure your topic is neither too broad nor too narrow. Aim to strike a balance between the two.

Pick the Right Topic

Choosing the right topic is an important part of writing an explanatory essay. Spend some time considering your audience, asking yourself questions related to potential topics and doing research to narrow down your list of choices. Once you’ve done all this, you should have the perfect topic to write about.

Researching the Topic

Conducting research for an explanatory essay is a key step in the writing process. Research helps you to accurately and effectively support your argument, providing evidence and authority to back up your claims. To research effectively, follow these steps:

  • Decide on your topic. Be sure that it’s specific and can be explored in depth.
  • Gather resources. Use both online and offline sources such as books, articles, and interviews. Utilize reliable sources such as government websites and published materials.
  • Organize your research. Utilize a spreadsheet or other visual tool to keep track of all the relevant information for your essay. This will help you better understand the material and quickly locate the information you need.
  • Take notes. As you are researching and gathering information, take notes on the significant points of the material. It is important to stay organized and focused on the most important points so that you don’t get distracted while writing your essay.
  • Cross-check sources. Be sure to double check your sources and make sure that the information you are citing is accurate. Don’t forget to cite any sources you use in the essay.

Research is an important step when writing an explanatory essay. By researching your topic ahead of time, you can ensure that you have enough information to accurately and effectively support your argument. Taking the time to properly research and organize your material will go a long way in helping you write a successful essay.

Constructing an Outline

Constructing an outline for an explanatory essay is an important step to ensure that the essay is organized and structured. An outline provides a starting point and framework for writing, while allowing you to keep track of the main points and arguments you wish to make in the essay. It also helps you set the tone of the essay and focus on the topic.

Writing an outline can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. To begin, think about the overall structure of the essay and the topics or ideas you would like to include in each section. From there, start to break those topics down into smaller points. Once you have outlined the main points you want to make, create an introduction, body and conclusion structure.

The introduction should present the main topic of the essay and why it is important. The main body should contain the evidence and arguments that support the main topic. Finally, the conclusion should summarize all the points made in the essay and provide a memorable takeaway for the reader.

An outline is also a great way to make sure you are keeping your sentences and paragraphs focused and on track. Thinking through the sequencing of the essay in advance will help you avoid any potential confusion or disjointedness in the finished product.

After creating the outline, you can use it as a guide for writing the essay. This step-by-step approach will help you stay organized and focused while generating ideas and composing the essay.

Overall, constructing an outline before writing an explanatory essay is a valuable tool that will help you create a well-structured and effective essay. Not only will it help you stay organized and focused while writing, but it will also give your readers a clear and organized essay to read.

Writing an Explanatory Essay

Writing an explanatory essay can be a demanding task. It requires the writer to present and explain a particular topic in a clear and organized way in order to effectively communicate their ideas to their readers. To ensure success, there are certain best practices to keep in mind while drafting your essay.

Using Clear Language

The language you use should be direct and easy to understand. Avoid unnecessarily complex words or phrases that may confuse the reader. It is also important to use language consistently throughout your essay; if you introduce a particular term make sure that same term is used each time you refer back to it. This is especially true when referencing sources as they often use their own specific terminology.

Organizing Your Ideas

Organizing your ideas helps to ensure that the essay flows logically and makes for easier reading. To start, map out the main points of your essay with an outline. This can be done using bullet points or diagrams that organize your thoughts into categories. Doing this also helps you to identify any areas of your argument that might need more development or explanation.

Developing Strong Arguments

Your arguments should be supported by facts, evidence and other sources. Make sure to provide context and explain the reasoning behind your claims. If possible, include counterarguments and explain why they are incorrect or incomplete. This will help to strengthen your overall argument. It is also important to reference any sources you used in your research. Not only does this build credibility, it also prevents any allegations of plagiarism. When quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s work, make sure to cite them properly and include the source in your bibliography.

Proofreading and Editing

Proofreading your essay is an essential step before submitting it. It is important to review your work for any errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling that may have been overlooked. Re-read your essay to make sure that it is clear, consistent and persuasive. Editing is also useful for shaping the structure of your essay and developing stronger arguments. By following these tips and best practices, you will be better equipped to write an effective explanatory essay. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect and don’t forget to take frequent breaks as writing can be an exhausting task. With enough dedication and hard work, you can craft a well-structured and highly convincing essay. The introduction of an explanatory essay is essential for capturing your reader’s attention and introducing them to the topic. Crafting a strong and effective introduction is the key to setting the foundation for the rest of the essay. When writing your introduction, it is important to remember that your primary goal is to capture your reader’s attention and introduce them to the topic. You can do this by creating an engaging and creative opening sentence or phrase. This could be a thought-provoking statement, a rhetorical question, or an interesting fact. After your opening statement, you will want to provide your readers with a brief overview of what you will be discussing in your essay. You can do this by including a few sentences that cover the main points of your argument. Make sure that you provide enough information so that your readers can get a good understanding of your overall argument but not so much that they become overwhelmed and lose interest. Finally, you will want to end your introduction with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is essentially a sentence that summarizes your main argument and outlines the key points you will discuss in your essay. Your thesis statement should clearly state your position and provide your reader with a sense of focus and direction as they read the rest of your essay. By taking the time to craft an effective introduction, you can ensure that your readers stay engaged in the content of your essay and understand the main points of your argument.

Creating a Strong Body

Once you have finished drafting your essay’s introduction and have an outline that you are satisfied with, it’s time to move onto the body paragraphs. The body of your essay is where you’re able to provide evidence, detail and further explain the points you make in your introduction. It’s important to structure each body paragraph in a logical and organized way to ensure they are strong and effective while supporting the main points of the argument.

Key Points To Consider:

  • Structure each paragraph logically and clearly around one specific idea.
  • Provide supporting facts, examples and quotes to back up your main point.
  • Ensure you include a transition phrase at the start of each paragraph.
  • Link the paragraphs appropriately using strong transitional words.
  • Analyze and evaluate evidence to provide effective support for your argument.
  • Maintain focus on the topic throughout the body paragraphs.

The first step in creating strong body paragraphs is to structure them properly. Each paragraph should cover one specific main idea or point and be made up of a single sentence. You should then elaborate on this point by providing evidence, facts and quotes to back up your claim. This will help to make your argument more convincing and compelling.

It is also important to ensure that you use appropriate transition phrases at the beginning of each paragraph to make sure they are connected effectively. This can be done through the use of connecting words and phrases such as ‘nevertheless’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘in addition to’, ‘as a result’ etc.

Throughout the body of your essay, you should analyze and evaluate the evidence you are providing to ensure it is effective. This involves discussing any counterarguments or opposing viewpoints and refuting these accordingly. By doing this, you show that your argument is well-rounded and demonstrate that you have thought about the issue thoroughly.

Finally, you should maintain focus throughout your body paragraphs. Making sure you stick to the main points of your argument and don’t drift off track is key to keeping the reader engaged. If you find yourself going off-topic, simply return to the main point and refocus on it.

Creating strong body paragraphs that support the main points of your argument is essential to writing an effective explanatory essay. With the right structure, evidence and analysis, you will be able to provide compelling arguments to your readers and ensure your essay has the desired impact.

Developing a Memorable Conclusion

Once you have written the body of your essay, it’s time to craft a memorable conclusion. This is often the most challenging part for many writers. It’s important that your conclusion not only summarizes the main points of your argument and leaves a lasting impact on the reader, but also ties together all the strands of your essay. Here are some tips for writing an effective conclusion:

  • Restate the main points of your essay in a concise way. This can be done in one or two sentences.
  • Reflect on the significance of your argument. Why is this topic worth discussing? What can the reader take away from your essay?
  • Provide a thought-provoking statement or question. This can be used to stimulate the reader to think of potential solutions or implications.
  • Avoid introducing new information. Your conclusion should only include information that has already been discussed in the essay.
  • Connect the conclusion back to the introduction. This can help bring the essay full circle and create a sense of closure.

A well-crafted conclusion should leave the reader with something to think about and make them remember your essay. If you put in the effort to write a compelling conclusion that ties the entire essay together, you will be sure to make a lasting impression.

Editing the Essay

The editing phase of writing an explanatory essay is essential for achieving a successful final product. Editing allows writers to ensure that their essays are effective and make sense to the reader. It also provides writers with the opportunity to improve the flow and quality of their work.

When it comes to editing your essay, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Check your essay for any spelling or grammar errors, and make sure all your facts are accurate.
  • Make sure the essay has a strong introduction and conclusion that appropriately connect to each other.
  • Be sure to eliminate any unnecessary language or passages that distract from the main point.
  • Look for ways to make the essay more engaging and readable, such as using active voice, varying sentence structure, and including vivid narrative details.
  • Read over the essay several times, paying attention to areas where more explanation or evidence may be needed.
  • Have a friend or fellow student read over the essay, and ask them to provide feedback.

By making the most of the editing phase, you can create an explanatory essay that accurately expresses your message and impresses your readers. While this task may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that editing is an essential part of the writing process.

Staying Motivated and Pivoting When Challenges Arise

Writing an explanatory essay is a rewarding and challenging project. Although it can seem daunting, setting yourself up for success from the beginning will make the journey much easier. Here are some strategies for successfully completing your essay:

  • Set goals and break your essay down into manageable chunks: Instead of overwhelming yourself with the entire essay, break the project down into smaller tasks such as research, outlining and drafting. Setting specific, achievable goals will help you stay motivated and track your progress.
  • Reach out for help: Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Ask friends, family or teachers for assistance if things start to feel overwhelming. Having a second set of eyes review your work can also be beneficial for catching mistakes.
  • Find ways to stay inspired: If you find that you are getting burned out, take a break from your essay and do something else that inspires you. Take a walk, watch a movie or read a book to give yourself time to recharge.
  • Be flexible: When challenges arise, be open to shifting gears and exploring different approaches. As you write, you may realize that your original plan was not the best course of action. Be prepared to pivot if a roadblock appears.

These strategies can help you stay motivated, focused and inspired while writing your essay. With the right amount of effort and the right attitude, you can create a successful explanatory essay.

Conclusion: Summarizing Our Guide to Writing an Explanatory Essay

Writing an explanatory essay is a great way to build your knowledge, strengthen your writing skills and present your point of view in a clear and concise manner. This guide has covered the essential steps of the process, from choosing a topic, researching the material and constructing an outline all the way to crafting a memorable conclusion.

We have discussed the importance of properly researching your topic and understanding the main points you want to make before structuring your essay. We also touched on the best practices for drafting, editing and proofreading your work for accuracy and clarity. Finally, we offered strategies for staying motivated throughout and finding balance in the creative process.

We hope that this guide has made the task of writing an explanatory essay much easier by providing all the information you need in one place. By following the steps outlined in this guide and utilizing the tips and techniques provided, you will be well on your way to successfully completing your next essay assignment.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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