Analyzing informational texts for a deeper understanding


The mention of text analysis typically brings to mind the examination of literary works, focusing on aspects such as figurative language and underlying themes. However, looking closely at non-fiction writings, like informational texts, is also very important. Even though these texts may lack literary components like metaphors and symbols, the authors make conscious decisions that influence the meaning and effect of their work. Learning to evaluate informational texts enhances one’s ability to read with a more critical eye.

Definition of informational text

When people study something closely, they look at it very carefully to really understand it. Readers can do this with anything they read to figure out what it means and how the writer put it together. When looking closely at texts that give information, readers try to understand why and how the writer is giving that information to the reader.

To figure out how to study a text that gives information, you need to know what that kind of text is in the first place. An informational text is a non-fictional text that, as the name suggests, informs the reader about a topic. Here are some examples:

  • Textbooks
  • Scientific journals
  • Instruction manuals
  • Encyclopedias
  • Biographies
  • Travel guides
  • Cookbooks
  • Business reports
  • Health pamphlets
  • Legal documents
  • How-to guides

In our daily lives, we constantly engage with informational texts, including the very text you’re reading right now. Studying these texts closely goes beyond merely understanding the words on the page; it involves delving into the writer’s intentions and the structure of the information. By recognizing what informational texts are and learning how to analyze them, readers can enhance their understanding of complex subjects, transforming from passive consumers of information into active, critical thinkers and lifelong learners.


Understanding the purpose

Analyzing informational texts serves to delve deeper into why the author has presented the information in a particular way. The intentions behind such texts usually fall into categories like informing, entertaining, or convincing the reader. By closely examining these texts, readers can gain a more profound understanding of the concepts and see how different ideas are interconnected.

When analyzing an informational text, readers may pose questions. These can guide you in their analysis, helping them to understand the text’s structure, content, and hidden purposes:

  • What is the main purpose of this text? Is it to inform, persuade, or entertain?
  • What is the main idea or thesis of the text?
  • Who is the intended audience for this text?
  • How does the author support this main idea? What evidence or examples are provided?
  • How does the author use elements like headings, illustrations, and bolded text to make a point?
  • What is the author’s tone or attitude toward the subject? Is it neutral, biased, or something else?
  • In what ways can readers apply the information found in this text?
  • Is the author using credible sources and citing them?
  • How does this text connect with other texts or ideas I know about?

In the age of information, it’s also crucial to be able to tell if different sources of information can be trusted. Analyzing informational texts, such as newspapers or magazine articles, allows readers to critically evaluate the content and identify trustworthy sources. The following table outlines the key aspects to consider when analyzing informational texts, helping to differentiate between credible news sources and non-reliable information:

AspectWhat to look forIndicates
informational texts
• How the author presents information
• What elements are used
• Structure of information
Trustworthy source or non-reliable
Credible news sources• Transparent, credible pieces of newsTrustworthy source
information signs
• Illogical presentation
• Lack of reliable sources
• Unclear and disorganized
Non-reliable information
Informational bias
in texts
• Claims based on personal viewpoints
• Statements without proof
Be speculative of the text’s credibility

Analyzing informational text elements and structures

In the analysis of informational texts, readers must concentrate on the components of the author’s reasoning and the overall structure of the text. This means finding the main goal, main idea, who the text is for, and the examples or facts that support the text.


A key part of analyzing informational text is identifying and evaluating the textual elements that the author used to present information to the reader. The following list features elements that writers frequently include in informational texts, along with examples.

  • Headings and subheadings. These would break down the chapter into sections such as “heart,” “blood vessels,” and “blood flow.”
  • Bolded or italicized text. Key terms like “artery” or “vein” might be bolded the first time they appear.
  • Charts and graphs. A chart might illustrate the different types of blood cells.
  • Images or illustrations. Detailed diagrams could show the heart’s chambers, veins, and arteries.
  • Maps. Though not likely in this context, maps could be used in other informational texts to show geographic data.
  • Glossary. Definitions for scientific terms like “capillary” or “plasma.”
  • Index. An alphabetical list of topics and where they are discussed within the book.
  • Tables of contents. An overview of the chapter sections.
  • Summaries. A recap at the end of the chapter to help students review the key concepts.
  • Footnotes or citations. These would provide sources for research or additional context for advanced readers.

Authors of informational texts select different elements to suit their goals. A few examples are presented below.

Example 1:

  • In a travel guide, you might see different sections labeled ‘Hotels,’ ‘Restaurants,’ and ‘Attractions,’ with pictures showing important places. There could be lists with important tips and maps to help you find your way. On the other hand, a travel blog might have more personal stories and colorful words, using pictures to share someone’s journey. It’s not as organized as a travel guide.

Example 2:

  • Consider a user’s manual for a new smartphone. It will likely include headings for different sections like “Setting Up Your Phone,” “Using Apps,” and “Troubleshooting.” There may also be pictures showing where buttons are and diagrams illustrating how to insert a SIM card. In contrast, a magazine ad for the same smartphone might only include an attractive image of the phone and a few key selling points, because its purpose is to persuade you to buy the phone, not teach you how to use it.
When exploring informational texts, it’s like a treasure hunt. The author uses elements like headings, images, or summaries as clues, and the reader’s task is to interpret them. Understanding these elements unlocks the text’s underlying meanings and insights. It transforms reading into a journey of discovery, enriching the understanding of the material.


Different kinds of informational texts, like news articles and guides that teach you something, usually use particular ways of organizing information to help you understand it effectively. They tend to have one of the following structures, such as cause and effect, problem and solution, or sequential order. Recognizing this structure is vital for understanding the content and for enhancing critical reading skills. It helps the reader to analyze the information, aiding in both comprehension and engagement with the text.

Below is a table showing the different structures of the information text. It also explains the definition of each, gives an example, and lists the main keywords that help to identify an information organization structure

Cause and effectShows how one event leads to anotherSmoking leads to health problems; Deforestation leads to erosion“Because”, “since”, “as a result”, “due to”, “leads to,” “causes”, “effects”, “resulted in”, “therefore”, “consequently”
Problem and solutionPresents a problem and offers solutionsProblem: Pollution; Solution: Recycling programs“The problem is”, “a concern that needs addressing is”, “to solve this”, “an effective strategy to solve this is”
Compare and contrastHighlights similarities and differences between subjectsCompare cats and dogs;
Contrast democratic and autocratic systems
“Similarly”, “in contrast…”, “on the other hand”, “both… and…”, “in the same way”, “contrasting with”
Chronological orderDescribes events in the order they occurred or steps in a processHistorical timeline; Recipe instructions“First”, “next”, “then”, “finally”,
“at the beginning”, “in the middle”, “in sequence”, “step by step”, “during”, “after”, “before”
DescriptionProvides a detailed explanation of a topicProfile of a famous person;
Detailed description of a painting
“For example”, “in fact”, “in-depth analysis”, “gives an overview of”, “depicted as”
SpatialDescribes a subject in terms of physical locationTravel guide;
Describing the layout of a room
“Physical layout”, “describing the layout of”, “mapping out”, “describing the structure of”
ClassificationGroup related ideas or objects into categoriesAnimal classification;
Categorizing different types of literature
“Categories into”, “groups by”, “organized into categories”, “segments into”, “grouping criteria”, “classified according to”

When analyzing informational text, it is also important to ask readers the right questions, which depend on the structure chosen:

  • Cause and effect. What is the primary event or action being described? How does the way the text is set up help you understand how one thing leads to another?
  • Problem and solution. In what way does the text’s structure influence how the reader understands both the problem and the possible solutions?
  • Compare and contrast. What are the subjects or topics being compared and contrasted? In what manner does the structure of the text assist readers in understanding the differences and similarities between the concepts?
  • Chronological order. What events or steps are presented in the order they occurred? How does the author present the information so that readers understand their order? What transitions or signals are used to indicate the sequence of events?
  • Description. What is the main topic or subject being described? How does the description provide a detailed and thorough understanding of the subject?
  • Spatial. What physical location or space is being described in the text? How does explaining how things are arranged in space help readers understand the place or surroundings better? What key features or landmarks are highlighted in the spatial description?
  • Classification. What is being categorized or grouped in the text? How does the classification system aid in organizing and clarifying the information presented?

The questions that readers pose about various text structures contribute to a thoughtful consideration of the subject matter. In essence, This way of doing things changes reading from just looking at words to becoming an interesting and active experience. Moreover, it helps people see and like the different ways information is organized and the important things they can learn from it.

Grasping text structures is key to effective reading. By recognizing and understanding the patterns underlying various types of text, you open the door to a deeper appreciation of their details and importance. Mastering these structures not only improves how you absorb information but also hone critical thinking skills, fostering a holistic approach to interpreting texts.

Analyzing an example of informational text

This article is an example of an informative text. It is an excellent opportunity to analyze the article, thus improving the absorption of information.

Read the article again, noting highlighted information such as the main idea, key definitions, significant elements, and structure.

For example:

  • The main idea can be found in the first paragraph. The author has likely included it there to give the reader an immediate idea of what the article will be about and to ensure that they have a context for the topic before reading more about it.

After reading the text, consider what elements the author has used to convey information. You can ask yourself the following questions: What techniques has the author employed to convey this information? How do these aspects of the text influence a person who is not familiar with the subject to understand the information? What motivated the author to select these particular elements of text?

For example:

  • The author of this article uses headings and sub-headings to present information clearly and logically. The headings make the article easy to follow and allow readers to skip certain sections if they only need information on one aspect of the topic.
  • The author also uses elements such as bold and italic text to highlight key terms.
  • The article uses lists and tables to provide the reader with structured, easy-to-read information. The inclusion of such elements makes it much easier for the reader to assimilate the information than to analyze “dry” paragraphs.
  • Imagines are incorporated into the article to enhance its visual appeal and add color. Additionally, these images are specifically selected to resonate visually with the target audience, in this case, students.

Besides examining textual components, pay attention to the structure of the text. Ask yourself: How does the author utilize this structure to convey the main idea?

For example:

  • This article is a description article. The writer talks about different parts of the subject in clear sections. This helps readers understand many sides of the topic. Knowing how the article is put together can help readers make sure they understand all the smaller topics and important facts. For instance, the author’s organization of the descriptions for each type of text structure simplifies the process for the reader to verify their comprehension of each unique form.

Improving your text analysis skills with our platform

In addition to practicing text analysis, our platform offers specialized services to further enhance your skills and the quality of your written work. For instance, our proofreading service can help ensure that your academic or professional writings are clear, error-free, and effectively communicate your ideas. Furthermore, our advanced plagiarism-checking tools provide an extra layer of confidence, confirming the originality and integrity of your work. These services are invaluable for students, researchers, and writers who seek excellence in their written communications.


Embarking on the journey of analyzing informational texts is not just about improving your reading skills; It’s about opening the door to a world filled with knowledge and insight. As you explore these texts more deeply, you learn how to confidently and carefully find your way through the vast amount of information out there. This journey transforms the everyday task of reading into an enriching expedition, sparking a lifelong passion for discovery and understanding. It’s not just learning to read better—it’s learning to understand our world more deeply, one text at a time.

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