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How to Write an Investigative Essay: List of Suggestions


Investigative essays work to find information about a topic or idea. It is basically learning as much as you can about something and presenting your ideas in a way to show you have uncovered something significant. Sometimes they work to investigate a question or they provide useful data related to the career field and subject matter of the content.

The essay finds answers through comprehensive research, similar to a research paper but with different guidelines. Once you understand the approach to take for the assignment, you can define your own plan or system for completing the task. The following suggests are useful for helping students to understand how to write a good investigative essay.

  • Select your topic you want to write about. Think about what you need to know regarding your topic versus what you already know.
  • Develop your thesis statement based on what you know about your topic. You may need to conduct some research on the topic to help you define it. Your thesis is the main purpose for your essay. This may be a question or general statement.
  • Conduct comprehensive research on your topic. You will do this using different sources such as interviews, books and collecting physical evidence. Use notecards or a notebook to gather information. Your notecards can help you organize your data.
  • Write a rough draft before completing your final. You should have a good introduction with 3 to 5 sentences on your topic. This will include your thesis statement and background information you know about the topic. Make sure you answer common questions readers need to know such as who, what, when, where and why.
  • You may want to have one paragraph devoted to explaining your investigation. This will be a simple statement written in third person as this content is should be formal.
  • As you include information about your topic provide detailed evidence to support your investigation. Each paragraph following your introduction and investigation statement should provide insight on your findings. For example, if you have 3 findings related to your main idea, you will have three paragraphs with one for each finding.
  • Your conclusion paragraph summarizes your main points and findings. You will provide a brief summary based on details learned throughout your investigation.
  • Take time to revise your work, edit and proofread.
  • Remember to check over formatting and citations to ensure references are correct.


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