Informational texts are texts designed with the primary purpose to inform, rather than to entertain, persuade, or perform any other purpose.
These texts are intended to be as objective as possible. As such, they’re often believed to be more authoritative and trustworthy than other text genres, such as editorials or comics.
Nevertheless, we always need to be cautious to ensure the text is remaining objective and free from biases, maintaining our media literacy skills at all times.
Below is a list of different types of informational texts, starting with the 10 most common, then a list of 50 total.
Informational Texts Examples
An encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference work that contains detailed information on a wide variety of subjects. Common prior to the internet, they’re now largely replaced by online databases like wikipedia.
Encyclopedias have many of the hallmarks of informational texts. For example, they structured systematically, they exclusively present facts, and often contain diagrams, graphs, or illustrations to further elucidate the provided information.
A key distinction that sets encyclopedias apart from other text types is their objective of enriching learner’s understanding of numerous topics. Rather than sharing a single perspective or narrative progression, an encyclopedia aims to compile factual data distilled from varying sources.
These texts are an invaluable tool for gaining a wealth of knowledge about different subjects, from the history of ancient civilizations to the complexities of quantum physics.
Real-Life Encyclopedia Example: Let’s consider the Encyclopedia Britannica as an example. Producing its first edition in 1768, it continues to be one of the most reputable sources of information worldwide, serving millions of readers. It covers diverse subjects, offering concise overviews and in-depth articles, making it a go-to resource for those craving knowledge. It fostils self-study by providing credible, high-quality content, effectively satisfying a reader’s quest for information.
A dictionary is a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words, with information given for each word, usually including meaning, pronunciation, and etymology.
As an informational text, dictionaries serve a distinctive function. They provide details about words – their definitions, usages, pronunciations, and origins.
The stark difference between dictionaries and other forms of text is their specific, focused approach. Dictionaries do not weave narratives or present arguments. Instead, they exist to provide straightforward, specific, and factual information about language.
For readers, dictionaries serve as an authoritative source, offering factual and definitive information about the words of a specific language.
Real-Life Dictionary Example: If we take the Oxford English Dictionary as an example, it is one of the most well-known and respected dictionaries worldwide. Its latest edition houses definitions for over 600,000 words, providing not just their meanings, but their pronunciation guides and etymology as well. The Oxford English Dictionary is a vital resource for linguists, writers, researchers, and anyone interested in the nuances of the English language.
A textbook is an informative manual or book on a specific subject, systematically designed to provide comprehensive knowledge primarily for educational and instructional purposes.
Textbooks fit squarely within the category of informational texts. They aim to disseminate a reliable, expansive pool of knowledge on a given topic, systematically dissecting its every aspect. This focus on detail-oriented, comprehensive coverage sets them apart from other types of text materials.
Unlike narrative or argumentative texts, textbooks generally lack a personal perspective or bias. Instead, they prioritize factual, thorough, and well-organized information. A textbook’s primary purpose is to aid in teaching or learning, making them a fixture in academic settings.
Real-Life Textbook Example: An example of a prominent textbook is “Gray’s Anatomy”, the go-to reference for human anatomy and physiology. Its reputation stems from extensive, medically accurate content organized for optimal understanding, complete with diagrams, images, and in-depth explanations. This textbook provides vital support for students and professionals in the medical field.
4. Scientific Journals
A scientific journal is a periodical publication designed to document and propagate the progression of science by sharing original research, methodologies, experimental results, and interpretations.
Scientific journals epitomize informational texts with their focus on imparting knowledge and new discoveries relevant to various scientific fields. Their unique attribute—separating them from other text types—is their aim to detail scientific research methodically, allowing for replication and further scientific exploration.
Unlike other types of texts, scientific journals follow a rigid structure, comprised of an abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. They cater primarily to professionals and academics in the scientific community.
Real-Life Scientific Journal Example: Consider the journal “Nature,” a renowned multidisciplinary scientific journal that publishes original, peer-reviewed research across different scientific domains. Throughout its history, this journal has played a pivotal role in sharing revolutionary scientific discoveries, facilitating dialogue and collaboration among researchers. From the earliest detection of DNA’s structure to the latest advances in quantum computing, “Nature” serves as a bridge, connecting the global scientific community with reliable and impactful research findings.
See More: How to Read a Journal Article
A biography is an informative document or book detailing an individual’s life history, illuminating significant events, accomplishments, failures, and influential relationships.
Biographies stand as a prime example of informational text. They offer an in-depth look into an individual’s life, painting a detailed picture from birth to death, or a significant period within that spectrum. What separates biographies from other text genres is their objective of shedding light on the chronological journey of an individual’s life.
Unlike many other texts, biographies strive to provide a comprehensive, fact-based narrative of someone’s life, examining it from multiple perspectives. These texts do not merely share dates and events; they delve into the personal and professional aspects of someone’s existence, offering insights into their character and choices.
Real-Life Biography Example: In the spotlight is “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank. Although an autobiography, it perfectly exemplifies the qualities of a biography. This book unfolds Anne’s life during World War II, providing intimate insights into her experiences and thoughts while hiding from the Nazis. Her vivid descriptions and observations have made the book an indispensable historical document, offering readers a human perspective on the horrors of war.
A report is a concise, structured document that presents specific information about a particular topic, usually as a result of an investigation or research endeavor.
Reports readily fit the mold of informational texts. Their primary objective is to present facts, findings, and recommendations based on the comprehensive analysis of a particular issue or topic. One standout characteristic of reports that separates them from other text types is their format—the use of headings, subheadings, bullet points, tables, and charts to organize and present information clearly and succinctly.
Reports are often devoid of any subjective content or personal opinion, making them an efficient tool for conveying factual, evidence-based information.
Real-Life Report Example: Consider the annual reports produced by companies. For instance, Apple Inc. publishes an annual report detailing the company’s financial status, market position, business strategies, challenges faced, and prospective plans. This document provides investors, stakeholders, and other interested parties with a dependable and comprehensive overview of the company’s performance and future directions.
A glossary is a list found in a book, report, or website that contains definitions or explanations of specialized or unfamiliar words or phrases used in the text.
Much like other forms of informational text, glossaries tackle specific information, in this case, terminology or jargon within a document or a field of study. A unique feature of glossaries that sets them apart from other text types is their function to clarify terminology, assisting the reader in understanding a specific term or phrase better.
Glossaries lack narrative structure or subjective input. Instead, they organizationally enlist specific terms matching with concise explanations, making them an asset for information-seekers.
Real-Life Glossary Example: Turning to the medical field, we find the “MedTerms Medical Dictionary”. This glossary serves as a go-between for medical professionals and laypeople, deciphering medical jargon into easy-to-understand language. It encapsulates over 16,000 terms, providing clear, concise definitions to save readers from the confusion that medical terminology often induces. Thus, the glossary becomes an essential tool for patients, medical students or anyone seeking to understand medical content.
A cookbook is a collection of recipes, usually centered around a particular theme, such as a type of cuisine, dietary preference, or a specific ingredient.
Cookbooks are a specialized form of informational text. Their focus is on providing detailed instructions for preparing a variety of dishes, alongside additional information like required ingredients, expected preparation time, and nutritional value.
One aspect that differentiates cookbooks from other text types is their function to guide the reader step-by-step through the cooking process. They primarily provide instructive content, often supplemented with images showing the final dish or various cooking stages.
Real-Life Cookbook Example: “The Joy of Cooking” serves as an excellent representative of a cookbook. Authored by Irma S. Rombauer, this book has been a trusted staple in many kitchens for decades. It presents a wide variety of recipes, covering everything from simple salads to complex baking delights. Each recipe is presented with clear instructions, ensuring even novice cooks can find their way around the kitchen.
9. Travel Guides
A travel guide is a publication that provides detailed information about a specific geographical location, showing tourists or travellers what sites to visit, where to eat, how to get around, and more.
Travel guides are quintessential informational texts. They deliver a wealth of practical information for travelers, from historical context and cultural insights to logistics like transportation, accommodation, and dining.
What makes travel guides different from other text forms is their focus on delivering a comprehensive overview of a specific location, aiming to enhance a traveler’s experience. They also typically include maps, suggested itineraries, and tourist attraction ratings.
Real-Life Travel Guide Example: Let’s take the “Lonely Planet” guidebooks as an example. Known worldwide, they offer detailed and up-to-date information on numerous destinations. Their books help travelers to navigate local customs and traditions, suggest offbeat paths to explore, and provide practical advice on transportation, accommodation, and eating options. By doing so, “Lonely Planet” guides play an invaluable role in making travel accessible, informed, and enjoyable.
10. News Articles
A news article is a written piece published in a print or online newspaper, magazine, or journal, primarily aiming to report on recent events or developments.
News articles are clear-cut illustrations of informational text. They address current events, social issues, political matters, cultural events, and more. Their unique aspect lies in their timeliness. Unlike other texts, news articles respond to ongoing situations, making them a valuable source for up-to-date information.
News articles strive to provide facts and figures, eyewitness accounts, expert statements, and other pertinent data that detail an event or situation, opting to provide readers with an unbiased perspective.
Real-Life News Article Example: Let’s take The New York Times as an example. They produce news articles on a wide array of topics, from international events to local incidents. An example could be a report on the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference. The article would delve into the key points of the conference, list the participating countries, detail the agreements made, and provide interpretations from various experts. These reports allow readers to stay informed about global events and developments.
Full List of Informational Texts
- Scientific journals
- User manuals
- Travel guides
- News articles
- Business reports
- White papers
- How-to guides
- Instructional pamphlets
- Historical documents
- Research papers
- Safety guidelines.
- Case studies
- Annual reports
- Fact sheets
- Legal documents
- Medical journals
- City or country profiles
- Census reports
- Environmental impact statements
- Conference proceedings
- Workshop handouts
- Real estate listings
- Product reviews
- Job descriptions
- Press releases
- Market analysis reports
- Weather reports
- Product catalogs
- Flight schedules
- Meeting minutes
- Grant proposals
- Technical bulletins
- Investment prospectuses
- Owner’s manuals
- Exhibition catalogs
- Course syllabi
- Field guides (e.g., for birds or plants)
- Museum exhibit descriptions
- Health brochures
- Nutrition labels
- Financial statements
- Technical specifications
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]