Writing a Process Essay

A process essay aims at describing a particular process through a series of stages. Writing a process essay is not difficult. In fact, most of us read and write process essays without even realizing it! To know more about writing process essays, read on...

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Many of you, I am sure, have referred to recipe books; perhaps in an attempt to impress your partner by cooking his/her favorite dish, or probably during your process of learning to cook! If not that, you must have surely referred to user manuals for electronic gadgets and home appliances, after you first brought them home. While referring to all these, you were actually dealing with process essays; and not many of you were aware of this; were you? Rather, we seldom look at instruction manuals as essays and hardly consider writing recipes as a form of essay writing. Remember writing experiments in school and college journals? Remember writing the aim/objective of the experiment, the apparatus and then its procedure? The procedures that you wrote, were in fact, process essays! Now you know how early in life, you were exposed to process essay writing.

What exactly is a process essay? Let's define a process before we understand what a process essay is. A process is defined as a fixed or ordered series of actions that leads to a result. Consequently, a process essay aims at describing how something is done in a sequence of steps. In short, a process essay describes a procedure and gives a step-by-step explanation of a process (abstract or concrete) that has a planned outcome. There are two types of process essays; namely, directional and informational. A directional process essay gives the steps in a procedure, which the user can recreate and achieve the expected results. An informational process essay analyzes a process and gives information about how something happens or happened. Putting it in a nutshell, a directional process essay directs, while an informational process essay provides information. For example, an essay that guides the readers to find a particular university, can be called a directional essay while an article on how are waterfalls formed can be referred to as an informational essay.

How to write a process essay? Actually, the answer to this question, is in itself, a process essay. Yes! The answer to every 'how-to' is a process essay. 'How to save money', 'How to write a bibliography' and 'How to study' are some examples of process essays. Before you begin writing a process essay, you should thoroughly understand the process you are going to write about. You also need to understand the exact steps that need to be taken, for the process to achieve the desired result. It is not enough to know just one method of completing the process. As a process essay writer, you should know the different possible methods of process completion. You can make a reference to the various methods that you have studied. But it is advisable to focus on only one method of completing the process. Choose the one which you have understood best so that you can explain it well in your essay. Also consider, which method is most likely to be understood by your audience and focus on the same.

While writing a process essay, analyze the process that you are trying to explain and understand its significance. Write from the perspective of your readers, considering the knowledge they need to have, in order to understand the process that you are trying to explain. To write an effective process essay, you should know exactly, how many steps are there in the process, why each step is important, what is the time required for each step and what is its outcome. Provide your readers, with details of the precautions that need to be taken while performing the process. Warn them of the difficulties they may face while executing each step in the process and also furnish them with tips on making the process easier.

The process that you are trying to explain in your essay might be complex. You might need to use some technical or scientific terms in the essay. You might be required to give some complex definitions in the essay. Make sure you elaborate on the terms and concepts that need to be clarified. If you are handling a complex process in your essay, think of other processes that are similar to the one you are writing about.

Let us look at the standard format of a process essay. Ideally, the title of a process essay should inform the readers about the process you are going to explain. The introduction should give the readers, a background of the process and explain its importance to them. The body of the essay should consist of an explanation of the steps required to carry out the process. Each step should have a suitable description and a logical link with its preceding and following steps. The body text can also include a brief description of the significance of each step and its specific purpose. It is advisable to devote one paragraph per process stage. Use transitional words and phrases like 'after a few hours', 'in the mean time', during', 'finally', or 'in the end', to lead the readers from one paragraph to another. But, avoid excessive use of connectors like 'then'. Also, avoid excessive use of imperative statements, or your essay will turn out being an instruction manual. The concluding paragraph of a process essay presents the process results and attempts to reinforce the significance of the procedure. It is best to summarize the main steps of the process in the concluding lines of the essay. The conclusion of a process essay can also include some sources of related information that the readers can refer to.

Proofreading is an important step in essay writing and process essays are no exception. Do not forget to proofread your essay so as to eliminate punctuation and formatting errors. Put yourself in the readers' shoes and assess what you have written. If you like your essay, it's definitely your best and that means you can get ready for writing another!

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