The Multi-Source Essay
To Accomplish this Essay, you should:
1. Identify an issue that your readers need to know about or would like
to know about;
2. Evaluate and choose appropriate sources to define and explain the
3. Synthesize (the combination of parts or elements into a whole)
material from a variety of sources, including written texts,
experience, and, if appropriate, field research; and
4. Provide a clear, well-supported discussion of the issue.
• The purpose of the informative essay is to provide
information that is not generally known to readers in order
to teach them something or to update them on something.
• The goal of this essay is to surprise your reader either by
informing them about something they probably did not
know before or by clarifying commonly accepted
• Your audience is anyone who would be concerned with your topic.
• So ask yourself, who would be interested?
• What would they want to know?
• What is the education level of those who may be interested in the
information? Having an idea of their educational background will help you
as a writer to determine what kind of terminology or wording to use.
• Also why would they care about the issue anyway?
• Now that you know the purpose and the audience for this
essay, determine the tone that you want to take for this
essay. Is it a serious tone, a reprimanding tone? What
kind of tone would the proposed audience appreciate?
• Will the audience think your topic is a laughing matter?
Probably not. So, what tone will fit your audience?
The Informative Introduction
• In a subject-focused essay, you must be aware of your readers and
their need for context and adequate background on your topic
before you present your information.
• You need to excite their curiosity about your subject and help them
feel comfortable reading your material.
• One strategy for getting the readers' attention is to use a short
• You should also consider providing definitions of key concepts and
a brief historical overview before presenting a controlling idea for
the body of the essay.
• In your introduction apply the principle of "laying out the whole before the
parts" by having a clearly stated thesis.
• Your thesis should state the purpose of the essay and the point of view you will
• One interesting method of discovering a thesis is to ask a question: the essay's
thesis will be an explanation of your answer.
• By asking a question, you find the right rhetorical approach to the subject.
• For example, you could use key words which imply a rhetorical approach:
cause, effect, process, definition, example, compare, contrast.
• The body of the paper will be an explanation of your controlling idea. Use
information from your sources to support the thesis with specific details.
• By choosing focused rhetorical approaches to the subject (analysis of cause
and effect, process analysis, comparison and contrast), you will be able to
develop your ideas in depth and organize them clearly.
• Examples, definitions, narration and description may also help to strengthen
your explanation and help your reader understand the complexity of your
• In an informative paper, all rhetorical methods may be used to explain the
The Body Continued
• You need to have a coherent organization in the body of your paper.
• Use topic sentences to indicate which rhetorical approach will be used to develop a paragraph.
• Use transitions such as "first," "second,” "finally," and repeat key words and your controlling
idea as you develop your ideas in depth.
• Use compound sentences to link your supporting details and complex sentences to create
relationships between ideas.
• In short, be sure your essay has unity and coherence and can be outlined.
• Either outline your essay's organization before you draft, or plan to write a descriptive outline
after your first draft.
• In either case, you must be able to describe the purpose and the focus of each paragraph and
how it connects to the previous and the following paragraphs with smooth transitions. Every
paragraph must be directly related to the controlling idea of the essay.
The Body Continued
• Summarizing ideas from outside sources, both primary and
secondary, will also clarify your explanation.
• It is important that the essay is not a cut and paste of researched
information (Plagiarism). The controlling idea and its development
must be the writer's. The research is only the supporting evidence.
• Identify your outside sources, by using MLA.
• Make certain that the information you paraphrase or quote, as well
as all research results, is cited. Use handbook to document in MLA
• In your conclusion, try to relate your topic to a larger context.
• Give your readers a bigger perspective to make sure the
significance of your essay is apparent.
• You may refer to your introduction: use a "hook and return" to your
original ideas or story to frame the essay.
• You may need to briefly summarize the main points and call for
further examination of this topic.
• Remember that the Conclusion is not a restatement of your thesis
and it does not bring up new information.
In your Informative Research Essay, you should do the
• Introduce the issue you are addressing by providing appropriate context to the readers (e.g.,
an introduction that frames the issue and shows your interest in it). Explain the issue using
appropriate evidence and support.
• Select and use an organization that is appropriate for your audience and purpose.
• Conclude your essay by doing more than simply summarizing what you've said so far. In
general, try to leave your readers with something to think about after they have read your
• Design your document to enhance its effect on your readers and to make it easy for them to
• Document your sources using MLA.
• Revise to clarify and strengthen your argument and edit to remove errors in spelling, grammar,
and mechanics so that your writing is clear and readable..
• Multi-Source Essay
• Topic-Evaluate an approved topic.
• Length-This essay should be 1,000-1,290 words in length. This is at least
three full pages of text and no more than four.
• Sources-This paper will utilize three sources. Two of these sources must be
print sources. The other source must be an internet source.
• Your informative essay does not have to be all positive or all negative. You
can mix both positives and negatives in your essay!