What Is Information Writing?
The word 'information' comes from the Latin informare, meaning 'to shape or form an idea; to mold someone's mind.' This is a great way to understand information writing. A genre of nonfiction writing, information writing is that which seeks to inform or help the reader to mentally form ideas about a subject.
It's important to understand what makes information writing different from other genres of writing. Fiction, poetry, memoirs, and celebrity gossip columns generally have the goal of entertaining the reader. Conversely, the purpose of information writing is to inform readers about processes, procedures, topics, and research. Writers of this genre are expected to be experts on the subject, or else to have received their information from credible sources. Therefore, when writing informatively, the writer must focus on real information, and not just realistic information, because the readers of information writing assume that they are reading truth.
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Examples of Information Writing
Information writing is a very common genre of writing. It can be found in numerous everyday sources. Here is a list of places you can find examples of information writing:
A newspaper is a great example of information writing. The purpose of a newspaper is to inform readers of current social, political, and natural conditions. While a newspaper may try to be entertaining, its main goal is always to be accurate and informative.
A scholarly journal is another example of information writing. These are written by scholars or experts in a field in order to inform the readers of their research results. The articles and essays within a scholarly journal always strive to be accurate, with evidence to support the information.
A lesson plan is typically information writing. The purpose of the lesson plan is to educate the readers, or in this case, the students, about the lesson's subject. The lesson plan must be accurate and clear in order to educate the students. Study guides also incorporate information writing.
An encyclopedia also contains information writing. The purpose of encyclopedic entries is to inform readers about specific subjects. Each entry is direct and accurate, without any extravagant or excessively creative writing.
Style of Information Writing
There are certain characteristics found in information writing. In general, this writing is meant for social or natural topics - not for entertainment or to service individualistic goals. Some information writing, like newspaper articles, is meant to serve a general audience, while other types, like lesson plans or scholarly journals, are geared towards a specific group (students of a certain age or professionals), so the writing must be appropriate for the intended readership.
Information writing follows certain rules. Firstly, it is necessary to describe the subject accurately, objectively, and concisely. The information must be presented clearly and truthfully. To do this, it should include definitions, summaries, and descriptions. This makes the text seem complete and well rounded. Secondly, the writer must explain personal knowledge or include credible sources. Readers have to feel confident in the writer's knowledge in order to be open to learning. Lastly, the information must be 'timeless' or unchanging. Information can grow and evolve, but it should never become invalid or inaccurate. This is why writing about gossip or unsupported evidence cannot be considered 'information writing'. Note that information writing should never include opinions or personal philosophies; information writing is not meant to persuade readers but instead, present the information.
If you are trying to write an informative text and you're unsure about whether or not your writing follows the rules, ask yourself three simple questions:
- Is the writing as accurate as possible?
- Is the writing as clear as possible?
- Does the writing avoid opinions and flowery descriptions?
Make sure you can answer 'yes' to all of these questions.
Information writing is a genre of nonfiction that is used strictly to inform readers of a topic and never to entertain or persuade. Characteristics of information writing include accuracy, concise descriptions, definitions, summaries, and credible sources. The information should be timeless and should not consist of personal opinions. You can find information writing in newspapers, encyclopedias, scholarly journals, and lesson plans.
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Information Writing: Definition, Style & Examples
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