Process Description

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Process Description: How to Write about a Sequence of Events Posted by Dennis G. Jerz, on July 16th, 2011 This document describes how to write a process description, a variation of the short report designed to convey to the reader how a change takes place through a series of stages. The process description examines an event over time; by contrast, the mechanism description focuses on an object in space. Use a process description when your intended reader wants to learn about the action in question. You might use a process description to examine the photosynthesis of plants, the migration of animals, or the impeachment of presidents. A process description generally involves events that take place regardless of the reader’s actions. To help your reader actually perform the action, write instructions instead (that is, a series of commands: “Insert tab A into slot B”). In general, break the whole process up into smaller stages, and describe each stage in order. If the process is part of a continuing cycle (such as the evaporation and condensation of water), say so. Caution: If you are writing a process description for a classroom exercise, avoid writing “helpful hints,” by which I mean a collection of many details that do not need to take place in any particular order. If neglected, pets' teeth will succumb to tooth decay. A simple process is available to all pet owners that will help in the fight against tooth decay. The process outlined will be using a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, mouthwashes, dental treats, and yearly dental appointments. This process involves both owner and veterinarian intervention....

(This author is really describing instructions for the care of a pet’s teeth. The writer has almost complete control over where each element of the process goes… for instance, do you have to use the toothpaste first, and then the mouthwash? Or do you have to use the mouthwash first, and then the toothpaste? It really doesn’t matter; the end result is...
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