A process paper either tells the reader how to do something or describes how something is done.
WARNING THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS A NARRATIVE WHERE A WRITER TELLS A STORY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.
What process are you trying to explain Why is it important
Who or what does the process affect
Are there different ways of doing the process If so what are they
Who are the readers What knowledge do they need to understand this process
What skills/equipment are needed for this
How long does the process take Is the outcome always the same
How many steps are there in the process
Why is each step important
What difficulties are involved in each step How can they be overcome
Do any cautions need to be given
Does the process have definitions that need to be clarified
Are there other processes that are similar and could help illustrate the process that you are writing about
If needed tell what should not be done or why something should be done.
Process papers are often written in the second person (you) but I prefer that you avoid this. Dont use you in this paper.
5 Sample Thesis Statements
(General introductory material comes before the thesis)...Once those decisions have been made the difficulty of learning all the steps involved in diaper changing comes preparation procedure and clean-up.
...There are many delicious shrimp recipes. However I enjoy preparing a French appetizer called Shrimp Bordelaise.
...to maintain a healthy attractive and happy Shih-Tzu a regimen of weekly grooming is required. (Regimen indicates a process something repeated.)
...To make this popular Y shaped necklace several easy steps must be followed.
After selecting the theme of the party preparations focused on planning the invitations designing the games and choosing the food. (Also notice that active verbs such as preparations focused on planning is better than the next step was. To be verbs are usually boring.
1. State what the process is and why it is important.
2. Give background information and define the process.
3. State the thesis sentence to include the purpose and the main idea of the essay.
7 A sample (creative) introduction
The rain pours down as if running from a faucet lightening streaks across the dark restless sky and thunder pounds the roof and walls of the house. Abruptly the wind kicks up. Trees sway madly back and forth loose objects are picked up and thrown all around. The house creaks and moans with every gust of wind. Windows are broken by pieces of shingle from a neighbors roof or by loose objects picked up by the wind. Power lines snap like thread. The unprepared house and its occupants are in grave danger as the awesome hurricane approaches. Had they prepared for the hurricane they might not be in such danger. Indeed careful preparation before a hurricane is essential to life and property.
8 Body Paragraphs
First major step
Definition and purpose
Special conditions needed for the specific step
Second major step
Third major step
9 INTRO Recently we accomplished the American dream of owning our own home. Walking through the house for the first time we knew that there was going to be quite a bit of work involved. Our goal was to own a place where we could put our personality into each room. The room that we picked for our son had faded yellow paint with a baby duck border along the top of the walls forty year old sash windows that refused to open without a fight and carpet that smelled like a wet dog had rolled around on it for about three years. For my sons third birthday his grandparents purchased several matching primary colored bedroom pieces that have a transportation theme. We converted his dismal bedroom into a delightful and wildly imaginative little boys room. 10 Body paragraphs
Organize the series of steps.
Regardless of whether you write an informational or directional essay it is critical to organize the steps in the most logical order. The two most widely used methods for organizing a process essay are chronological order and order of importance.
Offer concrete explanations.
This is another type of writing which requires strict attention to details--concrete details. You cannot be too specific as a writer with this type of writing. A writer should assume when writing process that the audience knows very little or nothing. While you certainly dont want to write at such a level as to insult someones intelligence write so that it is clear for those who would be novices at what you are describing. Define any technical terms and offer plenty of examples where necessary.
Most processes are organized according to time what is needed first how to begin and how to proceed to the end. Be sure that there are no gaps in the steps. Be thorough. Have another person read through the steps to see if there are areas that need further explanation or clarification. A set of directions should be clear organized easy to understand and easy to follow.
12 (No Transcript) 13
A few hours
In the end
At the same time
In the future
In the meantime
In the meanwhile
Last but not least
During Later Eventually Meanwhile Finally Next Soon after First Second Third etc. Previously First of all Simultaneously Forme rly Subsequently Immediately before Then. 14 Concluding Paragraph
Paraphrase the thesis sentence.
Summarize the main steps of the process.
Describe results of process
Offer follow up advice about what could be done next or refer reader to further sources of documentation
Give troubleshooting advice in case something goes wrong.
15 Conclusion Knowing our son is a train fanatic we gleefully led him into the completed room so that we could see his reaction. His eyes opened wide and he immediately cried out Daddy its pretty! He started to name all the colors and excitedly pointed out every single train as if we did not realize that they were there. It was definitely worth any sore muscles to see how much he embraced the welcome change. Although it has been several months he will still drag any visitor by the arm to see his new room and to the surprise of the individual he still points out every single train. 16 The End
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