Informational Essay Prompt

Essay prompt: Informational Essay Prompt

Often the way we fully understand a definition or concept is through exploration of other perspectives; this is where having a variety of texts comes in handy. As you have seen in the readings, many of our authors define the concept of the American Dream and explore what it “looks like” or how it is defined, especially in using specific examples. Using at least 2 sources plus your own ideas, please define the concept of the “American Dream” and what it “looks like” in America. For this essay, you are not necessarily making an argument, though your goal is to go past simply summarizing sources and moving on to analyzing them especially in light of your own definition.

Formats & Minimum Requirements

Written response: 5  pages typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman or Calibri 12 pt. font

Two Sources required to be used for the essay!

First source:

second source:,American%20Dream%20that%20excluded%20others.

Main idea/Organizing focus

Informational: Make a claim about the information you are presenting

Use of evidence in building out your ideas

Personal examples

Textual examples

Observational examples

Hypothetical, “If…then…” style examples

MLA style citation

in-text citation

Works Cited page

Signal phrases

Organization: Introduction –> body paragraphs–> conclusion


Gives some context for the topic

introduces a source (or sources)

leads to your thesis

Thesis should occur at the end of the introduction, it should be arguable and able to be supported by the body paragraphs

Body Paragraphs

Use strong topic sentences to guide your paragraph development

Claims (arguable statements) and evidence (see next page) that build on the topic sentence

Analysis that ties claims & evidence to the thesis, thereby attempting to prove the thesis

Analysis explains the connections between the claims and evidence, as well as tying the body paragraphs to the thesis


Leaves the reader with a call to thought or a call to action

Call to thought: Leaves the reader with something to think about

Call to action: Urges the reader to act in some way

Holistic goals:

A clear summary of/context for the main ideas from the source you choose.

TSIS Signal phrases like, “The author writes” or “The author goes on to write” help to acknowledge that the ideas you are summarizing are your own.

A logical progression of main ideas from the source; you don’t have to go in the same order as the original text, but you do have to think about what the most important ideas are and how you might tell those important ideas to others in your summary.

A clear response.

Your reader should be able to tell when you shift between your ideas and the idea you are summarizing.

Your response should be your own argument, and should use the text to develop and support (or challenge) your ideas.

The response should be focused and should not try to respond to every idea in the text you are summarizing; rather, you should choose a main idea that you want to develop in more depth with your own response.

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