Essay 2 Assignment Sheet
The Informative Essay
Purpose – The purpose of your assignment is to write an essay that educates, interests, and surprises the reader about a specific place in South Florida. Your essay should present your reader with first hand observation and description of your location – this is known as primary research. Your essay will also require secondary research in order to obtain background and/or historical information about your location.
In the first essay, you were asked to explore yourself through a literacy narrative. You used rhetorical contexts, such as audience, purpose, and genre, and rhetorical appeals, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, to compose your essay. In the second essay, you will be using these same contexts and appeals, but you will be writing with the aim to inform or educate the audience on a given location.
Topic – A place in South Florida
Since you will be required to observe this place, the location you choose should be accessible and close enough to visit.
Your location should be small enough for a focused essay. For example, do not choose an entire city or large area. Your location should be specific. Some examples of specific locations include, but are not limited to: a part of a beach, a restaurant, a house of worship, or any other interesting and significant location. You may choose a location at FIU, but make sure that your location is small and focused.
Your essay should be interesting and surprising. For the purpose of this essay, you must make use of the “surprising reversal” technique (see The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing, Ch.7 “Writing an Informative Essay or Report”) to capture and hold your reader’s attention.
Audience – Your classmates and instructors, and the larger FIU community
● An observation log. You will use your observation log to help you record the details that you
observe, and to write about your location in a descriptive, interesting, and significant way.
● At least one secondary source. This may include but is not limited to local newspapers, local
magazines, scholarly journals, and books. Do not use encyclopedic sources and only use Internet
sources if they are credible. You will use your source to deepen your understanding of your location.
You may discover new and surprising things about your location through your research. Your location may have an interesting history or cultural significance, or
you may find that an interesting event takes place in your location. For example, did you know that the Bahamian Coconut Grove Cemetery is a historical location
where the very first Bahamian immigrants were buried, and that it was used in Michael Jackson’s Thriller?
Developing Your Essay
After conducting your research, you will use your research and analytical skills to find the most interesting information you have uncovered, asking yourself: “What surprises me? What did I learn that I did not already know? Is there new information that may surprise my audience?”
After completing this assignment, you will learn how to:
1. Effectively observe and incorporate your observation into your essay using descriptive language
2. Compose a logically structured essay
3. Navigate successfully between open and closed forms
4. Design a surprising reversal thesis that gives shape and purpose to your informative essay
5. Understand rhetorical contexts: audience, purpose, and genre and rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos and logos
6. Develop an understanding of style that is appropriate and effective in your informative essay.
7. Understand and incorporate primary and secondary research in the essay effectively
8. Demonstrate your writing process: drafting, revisions, editing and proofreading
Length and Format
Final Draft Length: 1500 – 2000 words (4-5 pages), 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced.
Assignment Due Dates (tentative)
1st Draft: 2nd Draft: Final Draft:
Please select a place for your subject as soon as possible. Selecting an interesting location takes careful planning. Give yourself enough time to complete your observation logs and collect your research.
You must submit your writing portfolio with your final draft. Portfolio submission includes copies of journals, homework, peer reviews and group activities from the informative essay unit, as well as your 1st and 2nd informative essay drafts with instructor comments.