Expository Essay Assignment Instructions

English 1201 Expository Essay Instructionsnote: your final essay is due in Week 9 

YOUR GOAL: An expository essay is a type of academic writing where you seek to inform and explain. For this assignment, your objective is to select from one of two provided topics, investigate the chosen topic closely by examining a total of two articles on the topic, and then describe and explain that issue to your readers in a five-paragraph essay.  

THE PROCESS:  First, in Week 5, read the two readings assigned this week and reflect upon each issue. While both are linked below, each article is also provided in Module 5 in RealizeIt, where you will read and show your knowledge on the article.  As you decide which topic to choose as the subject of your Expository Essay, ask yourself which issue you are drawn to or most curious about. You might even want to do some freewriting on both topics to generate ideas. You must know your article well. If not, you will have a difficult time explaining the specifics of the issue to your reader.  For Week 5, the two articles/topics are:

  • Social Media & Relationships: “,” by Summer Allen 
  • The Marriage Trend: “” by Jay Zagorsky

Once you have decided which of these topics you will write about, you will move into Week 6, where you will read a second provided article on your chosen topic.  In Week 6, you do not have to read the second article on both topics, but can focus your efforts only on the topic of your choice.  You will use these two sources to draft your essay. Remember, you must know your issue well in order to inform your readers adequately. You are not required to do further research beyond the provided two sources, but, if you chose to use additional sources, be sure to include them within your References page.

Here are the additional readings assigned in Week 6 (remember: you only need to read the article on the topic of your choice):

  •  If you choose to write about social media, your second article is: by Yalda T. Uhls, Nicole B. Ellison, and Kaveri Subrahmanyam
  • If you choose to write about the marriage trend, your second article is: by Richard Reeves and Christopher Pulliam

Finally, write your essay.  

Weekly Breakdown:

To guide you through this process, we’ll work through several steps these next few weeks.  Here’s how they will break down:

Step 1/Week 6 – Read both provided articles and choose your topic – either 

  • Social Media and Relationships OR 
  • The Marriage Trend

Step 2/Week 6 – Read the additional article assigned for your chosen topic, and construct an annotated bibliography using both of your provided sources. 

Step 3/Week 7 – Complete the first draft of your essay and submit it to a Smarthinking tutor. 

Step 4/Week 8 – Taking your Smarthinking tutors comments into consideration, revise your draft and submit it to your instructor. 

Step 5/Week 9 – With your instructors feedback, revise and edit your essay.  Submit the final, polished draft.

Step 6/Week 9 – After youve completed your essay, take some time to reflect on the revision process. In a one-page document separate from your essay, include the following: 

  • Paragraph 1: Explain the changes you made to your essay after receiving the feedback from your Smarthinking tutor. (75-100 words) 
  • Paragraph 2: Then, discuss the changes you made after receiving your instructors comments. (75-100 words) 
  • Paragraph 3: Reflect on the overall revision process. Describe what was difficult and what you found most effective(75-100 words) 


  • One introductory paragraph that reveals a broad knowledge of your issue. You must include a thesis statement that identifies the main point or purpose of your essay. Your thesis statement will alert your readers to what issue is specifically being investigated. 
  • Three body paragraphs that isolate the most relevant parts of the issue youve explored using both provided sources for your topic. This section will be the lengthiest portion of the paper, and you must provide detailed information so your readers can become knowledgeable. 
  • One conclusion paragraph. Your conclusion should revisit the main points of your issue. You may choose to include your perspective here as well. 


  • APA formatting, including a title page, page numbers, 12-point Times New Roman font, and double-spacing. Dont forget to use the APA Template and resources provided in the module.  
  • A reference page that includes citations for all sources youve used (you must use the two provided). 
  • 3-4 (750-900 words) pages of content (excluding title and reference page). 
Do it on marriage.

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