Published on March 5, 2014
Process Analysis--- a technique that explains the steps or sequences involved in doing something, satisfies our need to learn as well as our curiosity about how the world works. HOW TO---
How process analysis fits your purpose and audience • When giving step by step instructions, showing how to do something • When you want your readers to understand how something happens even though they may not actually follow the steps DIRECTIONAL or INFORMATIONAL
Strategies for using process analysis in an essay • Formulate a thesis that clarifies your attitude toward the process (more than announce your subject; it should state or imply your attitude toward the subject) • Keep your audience in mind when deciding what to cover (watch jargon; evaluate the audience’s level of knowledge; don’t assume the audience will know something just because you do)
• Focusing on your purpose, thesis, and audience, explain the process one step at a time – probably needs to be chronological – or if there is no sequence, look for key steps – or reject a traditional sequence and propose a new one • Help your audience understand/visualize the process – show, don’t just tell – details without confusion
• Sort out directional and informational aspects of the process analysis – OK for second person if it’s directional (YOU should…) – Use first or third person if informational – Do not shift persons in midstream – Past tense is preferred; present adds drama and immediacy – Do not shift tenses in midstream
• Provide readers with the help they need to follow the sequence – Use traditional sequencing words • Next, then, now, while, before, after, finally, etc. • Select and maintain an appropriate tone – Objective, nonjudgmental, angry, accusatory – Be consistent – Do not offend • Open and close effectively – Strong opening – Don’t end with the last step, round out the essay with a satisfactory closing
Suggestions for Directional: how to do something How to improve a course you have taken How to make/create/construct something How to show appreciation to others How to look fashionable on a limited budget How to be a responsible pet owner How to be a friend to the outcast How to improve the place where you work
Suggestions for Informational how something happens How (any machine) works How bad habits develop How a child develops a love for reading How someone becomes an internet/Facebook/video game addict How people fall into debt How a high school student chooses a college
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