Writing a Process Paper
1. Giving directions is a practical kind of writing that everyone does that requires special attention to clarity.
A. The assumption of the writing is that the reader will actually be able to follow your directions.
B. You must write clearly so that the reader will not get lost.
2. Select a subject that you know well.
A. Youíll have to present a sequence of steps and comment on them.
B. Be sure to write about something that youíve done often enough that you can explain not only what to do, but why you must do the step.
3. Also be sure to select a subject that will fit the paperís length.
A. Avoid subjects that are reduced to recipes since they wonít fit the paperís length.
1. Avoid subjects that can easily be covered in one paragraph.2. However, most subjects can be made to fit the length since the explanations can be quite detailed, even for something as simple as washing dishes.
B. Avoid subjects that will require too much explanation since they will make the paper too long.
1. Avoid subjects such as making a birdhouse because there are several parts to explain.2. Avoid complicated games, such as football, although touch football might work.
4. Once you have selected a subject follow this organization.
A. In the introduction, specify the process about which you are writing and comment on the reason for completing the process, its level of difficulty, and on the overall approach you will need.
1. The three can be done easily, often with a word or two.2. See the sample paper which has link to comments on the content.
B. In the first paragraph of the body of the paper (the second paragraph of the paper, the one following the introduction), specify the materials your readers will need so that they can have them ready before beginning the process.
1. Specify size of the materials and quantities.
2. See sample paper..
C. Arrange the steps in chronological order.
1. You do not necessarily need a paragraph for each step.2. Some steps are related enough that they can be combined into one paragraph.
3. See sample paper.
D. As you describe each step, make comments to help the readers visualize the process.1. Add specific details that include sizes, times, shapes, etc.
2. Give reasons for steps so that readers not only know what to do, but why they are completing the step.
E. Include comments on what not to do.
1. Some procedures, such as that in the sample paper, are so simple that they donít have any prohibitions or the prohibitions are obvious.2. However, if readers must be cautioned, do so.
F. In the conclusion, comment on the completed process.
1. Perhaps comment on what can be done next.
2. Comment on the satisfaction that the readers might have over completion of the process.
Return to OWL.