Writing an academic essay is never an easy task. However, things get even more complicated when you have to look for your own topics to cover. Some students consider the freedom to pick your own topic a good thing – after all, you can control what you write about, so what is the problem? However, once you actually start looking for an interesting topic, you may discover that you had an easier time writing about something that was imposed on you.
The process can be even more troublesome if you have to write a less common essay type – for example, an expository essay. This kind of writing presupposes that you carefully examine the subject matter, analyze it, evaluate the existing evidence, and explain it to the reader in a way that makes things immediately obvious. Clarity, conciseness, and ease of understanding are of primary importance here. As you can see, writing such a paper is a tricky job – it is not so easy to pick suitable expository essay topics without preparation. So, how do you choose topics for such essays? Let’s try to understand it.
Many students are not quite clear about what expository writing is and how one is supposed to approach it. If you need help understanding this, you may have to read a few samples of such writing by other people, to better understand the rules and structure of such an essay and probably get some additional inspiration. One of the most important things to understand about expository writing is that you are not supposed to build up an argument in support of your own point of view. You have to present information on the subject, not your thoughts about it. This should be one of the primary influences on your choice of the topic.
You will have a much better and easier time writing an expository essay if you write it about something you are genuinely interested in. It is always easier and more fun to explain something you are truly enthusiastic about than something you are not invested in.
Before you make a final decision about what you intend to write about, make sure you will have sufficient evidence to cover and explain the topic in question. Look through the literature you have found on the topic and try to judge if it is going to be enough to fully explore it. While in expository writing you do not have to prove anything, you still have to support everything you say with materials from trustworthy sources.
What is your intended audience? Of course, if you answer, “My intended audience is my teacher/professor/instructor”, you will ostensibly be right; however, in reality, it is not exactly so. Chances are, you do not need to explain the topic in question to your professor – he/she is well aware of it. Instead, you write for a kind of hypothetical audience that needs the subject matter explained to them. The rule of thumb suggests that you should treat them as intelligent amateurs: that is, you do not have to explain the basics of the discipline you study, but everything beyond it should be covered in your essay. Consider this when you choose your topic.
When you are assigned to write an essay, usually you have to meet certain length requirements – the text is supposed to be not much longer or shorter than a certain number of words. This is also an important factor when choosing a topic for an expository paper. After all, you are supposed to fully explore and explain a topic using no more and no less than the space allotted to you. When choosing a topic, you should ask yourself, “Will I be able to find a sufficient amount of material to write an essay of this length? Will I be able to fully explore the topic in an essay of this length?” Choosing a topic that is too broad or too narrow for the number of words allotted to you is a rather poor decision.
Another poor decision you can make is selecting a topic that has already been done to death. For example, if you have to write about ecology, then explaining the mechanics of global warming is probably a not very good idea – it is the path of least resistance. By selecting it, you demonstrate your unwillingness to put any effort into your work.
Choosing a topic for an expository essay can be tricky – but with the help of these tips, you will be able to do it!