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How to Learn Expository Writing

As discussed in the last post, expository writing is all about presenting facts and figures in an organised and logical way in order to enhance understanding. While it is important to learn how to write effective expository articles, you don’t necessarily need to be restricted to writing about facts and figures. There are many other topics you could write about, including case studies, arguments, or even an analysis of a film or novel. We’re going to discuss some of the basic ideas that could be applied to any topic, no matter what your expository writing assignment is going to be about.

Start Small

When you’re first learning any new skill, it’s important to start small. Whether you’re writing an expository article or just need some longer written content for a business proposal, you can always begin by practising on a shorter piece. For example, you could read an introductory paragraph of a Wikipedia article for beginners and then compare it to the same paragraph in a more advanced English language learner’s dictionnary. Or, if you’re working on a business proposal, you could do the same thing with the summary of a news article or an executive summary from a business book. By starting small, you’re able to gradually improve your skill level and avoid overwhelm.

Know Your Audience

When you’re writing academic articles, you need to keep in mind that your audience includes not only your professors but also your peers. Since the purpose of an academic article is to add value by sharing new insights and presenting new information, it’s essential to ensure that the article is as well researched and well written as possible. In order to do this you need to know your audience and tailor your content to them. If you’re not sure who your audience is, ask yourself these questions: Who will benefit the most from this article? What do they need to know? What are their interests? When you answer these questions, you’ll know exactly what kind of information they need and how you can best provide it to them.

Present Your Ideas Clearly

If you’re not used to writing in this way, it can be hard to start with the right mindset. The first step is to make sure that you’re fully understand your topic before you begin writing. You can achieve this by either reading a lot of material on the subject or finding an expert to help you out. Once you’ve got a clear picture in your head, it’s time to start drafting. Even if you’ve put in the hard work to research your topic, you’ll still need to do a lot of preliminary work in order to present it effectively.

The beginning part of your article should contain your introduction and the outline of what you’re going to present. This will form the backbone of your piece and will help you to organise your information. The introduction should include three parts: Firstly, it should provide the necessary contextual information about the topic; secondly, it should present the problem or issue that the article is going to solve; and thirdly, it should briefly describe the various approaches that have been tried and tested (i.e. theory or strategy) in solving this problem.

Create A Roadmap

Once you’ve written your introduction, it’s time to start creating some structure. Just like with any other type of writing, you’re going to need to decide what you’re going to include in your article and what you’re going to leave out. This part should be as concise as possible and should include only the topics that you deem necessary to the understanding of the topic. The most effective way of doing this is by creating a roadmap. A roadmap is a concise list of everything that you need to include in your article and in what order. It will also help you to determine where you’re going with your article and whether or not you’ll need to expand on any parts of it. It should look something like this:

Problem – Approach – Conclusion – References

Now, you don’t need to write out the problem in full, but you should certainly explain what the problem is and why it’s important. After you’ve done this, it’s time to start presenting your solution to the problem. Of course, this is only the beginning of the process and you’ll need to continue expanding upon your idea as you go along. One important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not allowed to just throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks; you need to have a clear process of elimination whereby you can narrow your solutions down to one (or possibly two).

Be Creative

Writing an academic article can be a lot of work, and it can be difficult to get published. One of the best things that you can do for yourself though, is to be as creative as possible. Do you have an idea for an article that you think could solve a problem? Or, perhaps you’ve got an interesting case study that you’ve collected that could be turned into an academic paper? The worst thing that you can do is to copy another person’s work and pass it off as your own. To get published, you need to stand out from the crowd and be as creative as possible. When you are, you’ll find that it isn’t so difficult to get your work accepted by top tier academics and institutions. To start with, come up with some outlandish ideas and see how they sound. If you’ve got something that you’ve already written about, but you feel that you can add value by presenting it in a different way, do it! If you’ve got a novel that you think could be turned into an academic article, why not try and see if the academic world has something to offer? Or, maybe you’ve got a business plan and you feel that there’s a gap in the market for what you’re describing. In these cases, it may be an idea worth pursuing.

As you can see, there’s a lot that you can do to break into the world of academic writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult, as long as you put in the work and learn the craft. With a bit of luck and good sense, you may end up with a wonderful piece of creative writing that will help you to earn your keep.