A process paper (or a ‘how to’ essay) is a guide which shows how an action is done, explains how it works, or how it occurs. Your process paper may refer to any topic: cooking a sandwich, writing a capstone project, or conducting a nuclear fission. The main condition is an excellent knowledge of the topic you are going to write about. The goal of a ‘how to’ essay is to give readers directions so that they can accomplish their task.
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Steps for Writing a Process Paper
- Choose a topic. This might be a part of your job, hobby, or personal experience, or what you studied at school.
- Do research. No matter how awesome you are at the subject, it is useful to study it once more to make sure you miss nothing.
- Make notes. Write down all thoughts and ideas that come to your head while revising the topic. This will help you keep every important detail in mind. It might also be useful to note all the materials and/or equipment readers would need to accomplish their task.
- After you have your brain emptied and all your ideas written down, it is time to organize what you’ve got. Put all the steps you’ve described in a logical order, describe each of them in a detailed manner, from what happened first to last.
- The final step is to revise your paper, since your text might contain various factual mistakes, typos, and formatting mistakes.
There is an enormous variety of topics and subjects you can choose from. Almost every process can be divided into a sequence of certain steps, and then described with an easy-to-understand language, so choosing a topic for a ‘how-to’ essay shouldn’t be a problem. Still, there is one important condition: the author should know what they are writing about.
Below are just a few examples of topics that one might choose when writing a process paper:
- Writing admission essays
- Drawing with watercolors
- Tuning a guitar
- Baking bread at home
- Installing software on a PC
- Cooking a certain exotic dish
- Conducting a chemical experiment
Key Points to Consider
- Choose a practical, easily-manageable topic.
- Do some additional research if needed. Even well-known actions tend to change.
- Fill the steps with details—readers will appreciate such careful explanations for sure. It is also useful to specify materials and/or equipment needed to accomplish the goal.
- To check if your paper is clear, imagine you know nothing about the subject you are writing about. Try to follow your own instructions and recommendations.
Dos and Don’ts
Common Mistakes When Writing a Process Paper
– Choosing too easy or too complex subjects may affect your paper’s length, reducing it to a simple recipe or, on the contrary, extending it to a size of a manual.
– The lack of details. Keep in mind that someone may be trying to perform the process for the first time.
– An order of steps that don’t make sense. Double-check your essay after it is ready to see if you can improve the order and to make sure you have not caused confusion.
– Poor language skills and inappropriate word usage. In this case, your readers may misunderstand you.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic process paper writing tips and rules, you can check out our process paper samples to link theory with practice.
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