How do I write an expository essay? The topic is the environment.

Expert Answers
gojsawyer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Developing strong expository essay writing habits can serve as a springboard to other types of nonfiction writing, including research papers.

Begin by researching the topic with the goal in mind of developing ideas for writing. For example, a topic like “the environment” is a good starting point for research ideas. Yet, “the environment”  is too broad for one essay. In order to narrow down the topic to specific ideas about which to write, it may be helpful to brainstorm, to read current and historical literature and information, and to identify current hot topics and trends. If one or several specific aspects of the broad topic seem exciting, interesting, or warrant further investigation, all the better in terms of writing the essay.

After focusing on a specific idea or a few from which to choose, analyze what has been read. The goal of analyzing what others have written on a specific topic is twofold. First, it helps to gain a foundation of understanding the topic in-depth before writing about it. Second, new writing should offer fresh interpretations and insights on what has already been written about the topic.

Once gaining a firm grasp on the subject, organize the essay around a strong thesis statement. The insights gained from research should contribute to and develop the thesis. For example, to develop a thesis statement about the environment after a specific topic is identified, decide a position that the new essay will articulate relative to what has already been said.

The final expository essay on a topic such as the environment should demonstrate an understanding of the topic as well as challenge, inform, and illuminate the reader’s own ideas about the topic. As such, writing that examines pros and cons, identifies relates causes and effects, or shows problems and solutions are excellent methods for writing expository essays. A few links writing those types of essays are included on Enotes. Happy writing!