65 Explanatory Essay Topics

Any essay writing meant to define, explain, compare, or present is usually deemed an explanatory essay.

Most commonly an assignment in journalism, history, and civics courses, these essays provide an insight into how something works, how it came to be, its effects on a population/person who created it, or its function and purpose.

There are several different types of explanatory essays that can be written, but the most common include:

  • biographical
  • historical
  • journalistic
  • instructional/how-to
  • personal experience
  • political analysis
  • product analysis
  • social guidance

Each type of explanatory essay is employed to answer a specific question about these topics related to a person, event, or situation.

Is Writing an Explanatory Essay Hard?

Writing an explanatory essay may or may not be difficult for students depending on their ability to:

  • come up with a neutral topic
  • research and gather relevant information and facts
  • outline thesis and examples into a logical format
  • stay unbiased in the writing

If a student has strong research and writing skills, then writing an explanatory essay may be somewhat easier. However, it may be more challenging for students who struggle with these skills to complete this type of assignment.

Regardless of ability level, students need to take the time to plan and organize their thoughts before beginning the writing process. This will help ensure a more successful outcome.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay?

When writing an explanatory essay, many students struggle with the first most crucial step, coming up with a topic. Fortunately, this article concludes with a list of 65 explanatory essay topics perfect for any level of writing ability or grade.

But before students jump to the bottom to check out the list of explanatory essay topics, it’s important to understand how to write an explanatory essay so that they know how to approach their topic and research.

When it comes to explanatory essays, students need to ask three key questions:

  • What is the best way for me to learn about this?
  • What information or facts should I gather or find?
  • How do I structure my explanations and examples into a logical essay format?

Often, asking these questions allows students to more effectively come up with a topic suited to their abilities and interests.

Once a topic is selected, it’s time for students to research their essay. Students should look to history or current news sources for factual information and statistics for topics that deal with people, events, or devices.

To make writing an explanatory essay easier, it’s recommended to choose topics that are non-fiction or can easily be backed up with facts or resources. This is because the overall tone of an explanatory essay should be unbiased and neutral – not a representation of the writer’s personal thoughts or feelings.

Once the research is complete, it’s time for students to start organizing their thoughts and information into a logical format. This is usually done by creating an outline that has three major sections: introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction should introduce the topic of the essay with an interesting hook statement such as:

“In the early 1900s, people who wanted to travel from Europe to America would have to board a ship and endure an extremely long journey.”

The hook statement draws readers in by explaining the main topic. After the hook statement, students should include a brief bit of background information on the main topic and define any key terms the reader should know. Continuing the example from above:

“Today, the process of traveling from Europe to America is much easier and can be done in a matter of hours. However, this was not always the case.”

This background information will help set up the rest of the essay by explaining why it is important or relevant to the topic at hand.

After introducing the topic and providing relevant background information, the student should lay out the essay’s thesis statement or overall point. Continuing with the current example, a good thesis statement would be:

“The process of traveling from Europe to America has dramatically changed over the years due to technological advances.”

This thesis statement states the essay’s main point and will be further developed in the body paragraphs.

The body of the explanatory essay is where students will provide detailed explanations and examples to support their thesis statement. Each paragraph should have one main point that is explained and supported with evidence.

The conclusion of the essay should summarize the main points that have been made and leave the reader with a final thought on the topic.

By following this structure while writing an explanatory essay, students can ensure that they can stay on topic and provide the information required in an unbiased, neutral, and informative way.

65 Explanatory Essay Topics

Any of the following 65 explanatory essay topics will be instrumental in helping students craft a well-written and informative explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Topics About History

  1. What was the cause of the American Civil War?
  2. What were the effects of the Black Plague on medieval Europe?
  3. How did Ancient Greece influence western civilization?
  4. What was the fall of the Roman Empire like?
  5. What caused World War II?
  6. How has terrorism changed over the years?
  7. What caused the Cold War?
  8. What is the impact of the Industrial Revolution?
  9. How did the fall of the Berlin wall impact European governments?
  10. Why was the Treaty of Versaille so important for its time?
  11. What was the significance of The Great Depression in America?
  12. How did World War I impact European countries?
  13. What is the role of the United Nations today, and how has it changed over time?
  14. How did human rights policies change after World War II?

Explanatory Essay Topics About Science

  1. What is the difference between a galaxy and a universe?
  2. How does the human brain work?
  3. What is an element?
  4. What are the three states of matter?
  5. What does photosynthesis do for plants?
  6. How do earthquakes happen?
  7. What are black holes?
  8. Why do we have seasons?
  9. What is the difference between a meteor and an asteroid?
  10. How does light travel from one place to another?
  11. Why do humans need sleep?
  12. How do fireworks operate?
  13. What causes tsunamis?
  14. What are four ways to treat illness or disease in the body?

Explanatory Essay Topics About Literature

  1. What is the difference between a protagonist and an antagonist?
  2. What is the difference between a fiction and a non-fiction text?
  3. How does point of view affect a story?
  4. What are the different types of literary devices?
  5. How does symbolism create meaning in a text?
  6. What is the difference between a monologue and a dialogue?
  7. How does the setting impact a story?
  8. What is the difference between plot and theme?
  9. How does genre affect a story?
  10. What is a literary device?
  11. How does character development occur in literature?

Explanatory Essay Topics About Technology

  1. How did social media change the way we communicate?
  2. What are the benefits and drawbacks of new technology?
  3. How has the Internet changed the way we live our lives?
  4. What is the future of technology?
  5. How will artificial intelligence impact the world?
  6. What are the effects of technology on children?
  7. What are five ways that technology can help the environment?
  8. How has social media changed politics?
  9. How has social media impacted local news stations?
  10. Why should students learn how to code?
  11. How did video games change over the years?
  12. What are the effects of technology on our mental health?

Explanatory Essay Topics About Everyday Life

  1. What is the best way to clean a swimming pool?
  2. What are the three best recipes when cooking for one person?
  3. What does it mean to be a successful student?
  4. How can people save money when grocery shopping?
  5. What is the best way to pack for a trip?
  6. How can people stay healthy during the winter?
  7. What is the best way to study for exams?
  8. Why is it important to volunteer in your community?
  9. How can people reduce their stress levels?
  10. What are the best ways to stay organized?
  11. How can people make time for themselves?
  12. What is the best way to develop a budget?
  13. How can people build good credit over time?
  14. What are the three benefits of exercising regularly?

With these topics, any student can research and craft a well-informed explanatory essay that will earn them a good grade.

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