Academic Writing AdviceAcademic, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2019

How to Write the Perfect Process Analysis Essay (With Sample Essay)

A process analysis essay is a kind of expository essay that explains the process or actions someone needs to take to complete a task. You can think of it like a recipe, stating all of the necessary ingredients and steps, allowing the reader to follow along in logical order.

A process analysis essay can be written about a wide scope of topics, from highly technical processes to cleaning and organizing your closet. Writing a process analysis essay forces you to slow down and consider every tool and step involved in completing a task, and then explain what's needed in logical order for your reader to do the same.

Writing a process analysis essay forces you to slow down and consider every tool and step involved in completing a task, and then explain what's needed in logical order
Writing a process analysis essay forces you to slow down and consider every tool and step involved in completing a task, and then explain what's needed in logical order. Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash.

Format of a process analysis essay

For this type of essay assignment, you will not be following the traditional five-paragraph essay outline. There is still an introduction and body to your essay, but your conclusion is more like the "analysis" part and the essay will end when you've completed explaining the steps involved in a process. Below, we'll break down exactly what should be included in each of these parts. Also keep in mind that you can still create an outline before beginning writing your process analysis essay, although it might look more like a list of bullet points rather than a traditional five-paragraph essay outline.

Introduction

The introduction to your process analysis essay will include information about the process you are analyzing and why it is important. This will likely be the shortest part of your essay. If there is a unique history to the process you'll be analyzing, the introduction is where you might mention that. You basically want to use this paragraph as a brief introduction to your reader of 1) what process you'll be analyzing and 2) how or why that process might be useful information to know.

Body

The body of your process analysis essay will mention any prerequisites, materials, or instruments needed to complete the process. It should also mention any risks or warnings involved that are relevant to the process. It's important to include everything that the reader will need to complete the process, and even extra tools that might help the process go smoother but are not necessary. For example, in the sample process analysis essay provided below on how to make apple butter, I included a spoon to stir the butter as part of the list of tools that will be needed. Additionally, I mentioned that a food processor will make the apple butter cook better and have a more butter-like consistency, but it's not necessary to have as a tool to cook apple butter.

Analysis

Following these sections, you'll write the actual process in sequential order required to complete the task. Make sure you include transitional words within and between paragraphs, as these are required to show the sequence of the process in logical order. Your analysis will likely be across several paragraphs, so make sure each paragraph describes a separate part of the process to avoid confusion for your reader.

Sample process analysis essay

To show you how a process analysis essay might look, we've provided a sample essay that includes the separate sections discussed above. Notice that the introduction paragraph is short, providing basic information about the process that will be discussed, while the remaining paragraphs are longer and more detailed.

Below is a sample process analysis essay explaining how to make apple butter
Below is a sample process analysis essay explaining how to make apple butter. Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash.

Sample essay

Apple butter is similar to apple sauce but is different in that it is highly concentrated and used more often as a butter-like topping on bread or crackers. It's cooked long and slow, allowing the sugar in the apples to caramelize and turn it a deep brown color.

To make apple butter, you will need a slow cooker, food processor, cutting board, peeling knife, large spoon, apples, sugar, and spices for the desired flavoring (usually cinnamon and nutmeg). You might also want to use an apple slicer, which cuts down on the preparation time. Note that when you begin cooking your apple butter, the more minced the peeled apples are, the smoother the final product will be. If you want your apple butter to have a true butter-like consistency, mince the apples well in the food processor before cooking.

Now, let's look at the process of cooking apple butter. To begin, prepare a large, clean space for cutting and processing the apples. Five to six cups of fresh apples will likely only result in a few cups (at most) of apple butter, so depending on how much butter you want to make, you could be peeling and preparing apples for several hours. Each apple will need to be sliced, peeled, and minced in a food processor for maximum butter-like consistency.

Next, add the minced apples to a slow cooker and place the slow cooker on "high". You will notice that the top of the mixture is watery, once the larger pieces settle. Add sugar and spices until you reach the taste you want for the apple butter. Keep in mind that apples vary in sweetness, depending on what type of apple you are using, and sugar can be added slowly throughout the cooking process. Be careful not to add too much sugar at first, as the butter will get sweeter as the apples cook down. In fact, you might even choose to not at sugar at all at this stage of the cooking process, especially if you want a final product that is not too sweet. The spices can also be added as the apple butter cooks or not at all (if that's your preference). Be sure to stir every 10-15 minutes during the first hour as the apple butter is cooking on high and let it cook uncovered.

After one hour of cooking on high, turn the slow cooker to low and cover it. Depending on the type of apple you have used, it should cook for 8-10 hours, until there is no water left at the top and around the sides of the slow cooker. During this slow cooking time, stir occasionally (once per hour should be fine). This is also when the apple butter makes your kitchen smell amazing!

Finally, when the apple butter has reached the consistency and taste you want, remove it from the slow cooker. If you choose to can the apple butter, you can do that immediately or keep the apple butter in the refrigerator until you are able to can it.

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