What is Non-Fiction Writing?

Non-fiction writing can take many forms, be expressed in many different media, and be used for many purposes. Over your lifetime, you will almost certainly write non-fiction far more than fiction. From a report for an employer to a presentation for a volunteer organization, we write non-fiction in every aspect of our lives.

Non-fiction Writing and Research


The culminating task in your research project is your chance to communicate what you have learned. There are four things you should consider when planning your culminating task.

What is the purpose for your writing?

The more compelling your purpose is, the more effective your writing will likely be. Is your purpose to meet the minimum requirements for the assignment, or is your purpose to convince a wider audience about what you have learned?

Who is the audience for your writing?

Whom you are writing for relates directly to the purpose for your writing. For example, if the purpose is to provide information for reducing energy consumption in the school, then your audience is members of the school community – staff and teachers. If the purpose of your writing is to advocate for protecting an environmentally-sensitive area that you have been researching, then your audience may be a government agency or the citizens of your community.

What text form will you be using?

There are six basic text forms: being clear in your mind about what text form you are using will help you to use the most appropriate style. A set of instructions will be written in quite a different form (procedural / sequential) than an editorial in the school newspaper (persuasive/expository).

Text Form For Example…
Personal Journals, opinion pieces, reflections, personal blogs, memoir
Procedural/Sequential Timelines, lab reports, instructions, itinerary
Descriptive Comments, observations, connections, predictions
Informational Reports, essays, research papers
Persuasive Letters to the editor, resumés, proposals, advertisements
Comparative/Explanation Analogies, consumer reports

What is the best medium for the text form that will appeal to your intended audience, for the purpose you have chosen?

This is the last thing you should decide. Your choice of medium gives you the best chance to connect with your intended audience. For example, if you are advocating to improve protection for that environmental area, you might choose different media for different audiences. Your presentation to a government agency might be best done with a PowerPoint slide show. Your appeal for support in the community might be better expressed through a video.

Use the Non-Fiction Writing Template

Here’s an example of how the template can help you sort out what text form and medium best suits the purpose of your writing and your target audience.


Download the Non-Fiction Writing Template: Non-Fiction Writing

Find Out More