Process analysis essays can be among the most difficult essays to write. A process analysis essay will attempt to explain how something happens, how something works, or how to accomplish something. When it comes to process analysis, it's all about looking at how the process itself works.
If you're given the choice to pick our own topic, we highly suggest you chose something simple and/or that you are familiar with. If you pick something complicated, it can be really difficult to explain all the steps and actions that take place. So make it easy on yourself and choose a rather simple and straight forward process.
We will use a very simple process, the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to show you how to approach a process analysis essay. To be blunt, this process is probably too simple to be used in college, but you can scale up the process we show you to more difficult processes.
Before you jump into the process, you should develop a hook. For example, you could start by explaining how peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are very tasty, cheap, and healthy. This gives the reader an incentive to read the article.
Once you get to the process itself, the first thing you'll start with is gathering the ingredients. Bread, peanut butter, jelly, a knife or spoon, and a plate are more or less the basic requirements. Every process will start somewhere with something too, so no matter what you are analyzing, make sure you start from the beginning.
Next comes the process itself. You will have to describe everything in detail. Make sure you describe everything with numbers and are very specific. For example, you won't say “set a couple of pieces of bread on the plate” but instead “set two pieces of bread on the plate.” It's best to use quantities and specifics for everything you describe.
Make sure that as your write your essay, the structure of the essay itself flows from beginning to end. For example, when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich you should start by gathering the ingredients, not getting each ingredient only when it's needed. So you won't spread jelly without first making sure you have peanut butter.
When you're done, have someone else read it and then explain the process to you verbally. If your readers can't explain the process to you after reading your essay, you may have to clarify your writing to make the essay itself better.