The Process Analysis Essay
Definition: A process analysis essay either tells us how to do something or tells us how something works. What’s a process? The step by step movement from a beginning point to an end point. A process happens in real time. Examples of a process analysis are recipes or how to instructions: how to make toast or how to change the oil in your car.
Parts of a Process Analysis Essay
A successful process analysis essay will do more than simply identify the steps. It will also:
Explain the steps in great detail
Define any terms/concepts that readers may not be familiar with
Offer clear descriptions of tools, materials, or actions
Explain any possible problems or difficulties
Warn readers of what NOT to do
Structure: A process analysis essay will be structured with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Each section should do the following:
Introduction: Does NOT identify any steps. Its purpose is to introduce the subject (the process) to the reader, identify why the process can be important, and, possibly, explain how you came to understand this process. End the intro with your thesis (the main point of the essay) which should identify the process and your main point about it.
Body: Explains the process step by step. Do NOT simply list the steps. Each one gets fully explored using the list above. Also, use transitional expressions of time. (first, second, after, next, then, finally, etc.)
Conclusion: Does NOT include any steps. Instead, close out the essay by getting more general and explaining, if you have not already, the importance of the process or how it could help/affect the reader or some other closing strategy.
Steps for Writing a Process Analysis Essay
(Note: these directions ARE a process analysis!)
Step 1: Pick a subject. Be sure the subject is a process (something you can order by steps) and not something that needs defining.
For ex: How to Plan a Vacation (a process—it has steps in time)
For ex.: How to be a Successful Student (a definition—you will identify characteristics
rather than steps. This is not a process.)
Sample processes: How to find the perfect roommate
21 Days to get in Shape
How to plan the perfect party
How to pitch a tent in the rain
How to housebreak your dog
Step 2: Do an outline in which you organize the steps.
Step 3: Write a first draft. Be sure to include not just the steps but also definitions, descriptions, warnings or possible problems, and lots of details!
Step 4: Re-read and make changes to content, adding details and transitions, cutting unfocused
discussion, re- organizing and adding paragraph breaks as needed.
When finished, save as Process Essay Draft 1.