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09/04/2019

Need general process, for an essay?

QUESTION
Need general process, for an essay?
I have to write an essay about a complex process. It has to be familiar, and not be a how-to topic.

ANSWER
I’m not sure exactly what you’re being asked to do. If you’re not supposed to simply give rundown of how a process works, perhaps you could choose something we’re familiar with and put it in a historical perspective?

I’ll pick something at random, so I hope it suits your purposes. You should choose something you’re comfortable with.

I’ll go with something super basic. Food. Here’s how I would break it down:

1. We all need food, and we have always needed food.

2. The ways in which we’ve gotten food have changed quite a lot throughout our history.

3. A long time ago we were hunter/gatherers. Small groups of humans roamed around, killed/picked and ate what they could, and moved on if food became scarce.

4. About 12000 years ago people in Asia realized that irrigation and animal herding would allow them to stay in one place and produce more than enough to eat. Over the next 14000 years this process evolved from small, simple farming into the hugely complex systems of trade, transportation, production, and consumption that we all make use of every day.

5. So while the process of getting food has gotten much more complicated over time, our success at actually getting that food has increased substantially. Many things happened on our planet as a result of this: huge population growth, increased lifespan, and the permanent settlement of peoples into countries.

6. The history of food is therefore the history of life and culture on our planet.

Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve gone from very basic (1) through to more complex (2-4). Then I’ve shown how this process is significant in ways that might not be apparent (5). Then I’ve put it all in perspective in (6).

You can choose any topic you like, but this basic formula works very well for these kinds of questions.