What is a process essay?
Writing Tips & Guides

What is a process essay?

If you are searching for information on how to do a task or to carry out a particular activity, then a process essay is the best way. A process essay is an essay that tells us something about how something is done or a process is carried out or how to do something. A process essay is used to describe in detail how to perform a particular task and what is the sequence of operations in it.

Process essays help bring clarity about processes, events, and helps in clearing confusion and doubts. Hence, it is essential to know how to write a process essay, clearly and unambiguously. All essays require a central or unifying theme, and process essays are no exception from that. The process essay has to have a thesis statement that expresses this fact.

Types of process essays

Process essays are of two kinds. If you want to provide directions and how-to tips on how something works, then you need to write a directional essay.  A direct process essay should indicate in its thesis statement, the outcome the reader will obtain if they follow the specific steps. If you want to provide information on how something works, you would be needing to write an informational essay. An informational process essay does not specify the particular outcome; rather they provide information on how a process happens.

Regardless of the kind of process essay you need to write, you can follow the following steps to write an effective essay:

  • Divide the process into its various parts or steps.
  • Arrange these steps in a time-bound sequential manner. You can use an outline to organize the paper.
  • Use of effective transitions: use of transition words also helps in a smooth transition between the different parts of the essay. Use transitions that indicate the successive nature of the steps as they occur.
  • Brief process essays are not to be written on the topics which need a considerable amount of detailed instructions. It also excludes processes that are too complicated to be squeezed into a single essay. Avoid writing process essays for material that can be easily conveyed or demonstrated through visual aids. Hence, topics for process essays must be carefully chosen.

Some of the essentials which a process essay should focus on are:

  • What is the process and why is it important that this process should be explained in detail? How would doing this, help the reader?
  • What are the different ways of doing this process? What are the reasons you have selected this particular process for?
  • Identify the target audience
  • Identify the requirements you need for the process, if it is a direct process essay
  • Challenges you may face while carrying out the process.
  • Avoid using bullet-ed paragraphs and sentences. Mix and match the use of transitional phrases.
  • The style of writing needs to be command oriented. The use of “you” has to be minimized; it should be understood from what the essay contains. Transition words “first” and “second” can be safely used at the beginning of the essay; further use of transition words which indicates numerical progression is best avoided.
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