Process Paper Composing Steps

A process paper is essentially a type of essay that details how the reader can do something. It may also show how something occurs. This type of paper is often used in detailing a marketing plan, showing the process of historical change or describing the steps to installing a software program. Due to this format, it requires a different type of writing process than a normal research paper.

Deciding on the Type of Paper

The first step may be decided by the teacher or the student may have to decide on their own. There are essentially two types of process papers. With a how-to paper, the author has to detail the steps required for something to be carried out. An explanation paper uses a narrative format to describe how something occurs. Each of these papers takes a slightly different approach. Students should know beforehand which kind of paper they plan on creating.

Avoid Complicated Subjects

When selecting a topic to write about, students should avoid choosing subjects that are too intricate. Elaborate or difficult processes are going to take too much work and can overwhelm the reader. Instead of trying to explicate a convoluted subject, students should stick with what they know. In school, most process papers will never actually be used by someone to carry out a task. Instead, they are supposed to indicate the student's ability to write in a logical and coherent manner. Picking a simpler topic will make it easier for the student to demonstrate their abilities to the teacher or professor.

Identifying the Steps

For a process paper, pre-writing and outlines are extremely important. This stage of writing is used to decide the sequential order of steps or events. If the explanation format is used, the essay may have a cause and effect appearance since sequential writing is naturally prone to having cause and effect relationships. Once the steps have been written out in the outline, it is possible to proceed to the next step.

Organizing the Paper

As the student starts to write, they should consider if the process paper is in a logical order. Would someone be able to copy the paper and produce the same results? If things appear out of order or illogical, the organization of the paper must be changed.

Using Transitions

During pre-writing, numbering the steps is perfectly normal. Once these steps are converted into prose, transition and time words such as “during”, “at first”, “until” and “meanwhile” must be used. These words are important for signifying the time each step occurs and clarifying the process.

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