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process essays

A process essay is fundamentally different from other types of academic writing assignments.  In fact, it is closer to technical writing than to other types of academic writing. That is because a process essay describes a process that leads to a specific outcome.  There are two approaches to the process essay.  The first approach is often referred to as a directional process essay and is the simpler of the two approaches; it describes the steps necessary to complete a task.  The second approach to the process essay does more than outline steps, it also analyzes or explains the steps involved in the process.  The wording of your assignment will be important when you are trying to determine which approach to take while writing your process essay.  

The introduction of your process essay needs to accomplish several things.  First, it needs to introduce the process you are going to describe, and give background information about that process, when such information is necessary.  Next, it needs to identify your audience.  Identifying your audience does not require actually saying the targeted audience for your essay, but, if your reader needs a certain educational, technical, or professional background to understand the essay, then the introduction provides a great opportunity for you to provide that material.

The body of the essay involves your actual descriptions of the process.  For simple directional process essays, the body of the essay involves a step-by-step description of each part of the process.  For analytical process essays, in addition to outlining the steps you might explain them to the reader or analyze whether the steps are necessary to the process and make the process more efficient, or should be eliminated or changed in order to maximize efficiency and performance.

Finally, the conclusion of your essay will reiterate what you hope to achieve with the process described in the essay.  If you have analyzed the process and found it lacking, the conclusion may also describe suggestions for further study or review.