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Providing enough background information without being too detailed is a fine balance, but you always want to ensure you have no gaps in the information, so your reader will not have to guess your intention.Again, we will practise this more in Section 4.9: Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content.
For example, even though some of your instructors may teach criminology, they may have specialized in different areas from the one about which you are writing; they most likely have a strong understanding of the concepts but may not recall all the small details on the topic.
If your instructor specialized in crime mapping and data analysis for example, he or she may not have a strong recollection of specific criminological theories related to other areas of study.
You may actually be doing this all the time; for example, when you are giving someone directions to a place or explaining how to cook something.
In the following sections of the chapter, you will practise doing this more in different expository written forms.
Sections versus Paragraphs Before looking at the general structure of an expository essay, you first need to know that in your post-secondary education, you should not consider your essay as writing being constructed with five paragraphs as you might have been used to in high school.
You should instead think of your essay in terms of sections (there may be five), and each section may have multiple paragraphs.
For example, if you are describing a process, you may use chronological order to show the definite time order in which the steps need to happen.
You will learn about the different ways to organize your body paragraphs in the next chapter.
If you divide the required word count by five paragraphs (1,500 by 5), you end with 300 words per paragraph, way above the number you should have in a paragraph.
If your paragraphs are too long, they likely have too many ideas and your reader may become confused.