How-to essays, also known as process essays, are aimed at describing the process of doing something. In the essay, you need to describe the entire process of doing something in a phased manner as you develop the essay. In fact, it is one of the simplest and easiest academic essays that you can be assigned. However, despite the ease of doing this essay, you need to know that these essays require an explanation of the process with attention to detail.
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Speaking of the topics, a few examples of how-to essay prompts are listed below.
- How to manage time effectively as a student
- How to enhance employee engagement in a virtual work environment
- How to promote creative thinking in young students
- How to lead a healthy lifestyle when you are living away from home
- How to prepare for your first interview
- How to apply the Gibbs Reflective Cycle for reflecting on your experience
As the topics clearly explain, how-to essays are more like guides on doing something or fixing a problem in an effective way. More than academic research or presenting arguments from academic papers, how-to essays gauge your ability to explain the process of something which may have great relevance in our daily lives. In the bid to write a unique and authentic essay, you need to brainstorm new ideas and explore your creativity while subjectively describing a process.
The fact of the matter is that how-to essays will be subjective in most cases. This is for the simple reason that ten different people may have different perceptions of how to go about a process like time management, boosting employee engagement, or overcoming stress.
In this guide, we explain to you the most effective way of developing a how-to essay such that it seems meticulous, authentic, meaningful, and impressive. We will tell you exactly how the how-to essays should move along the introduction and the body paragraphs to finally move towards a strong conclusion. To begin with, let us start with the introduction of a how-to essay.
How to write the introduction of a how-to essay
The purpose of an essay’s introduction is to present a clear understanding of the essay task that you are doing. Simply put, when a reader or your instructor reads the introduction of your essay, they clearly know what the essay is about. Needless to say, the more engaging your introduction the better the impression.
Now, the question is, what does it take to write a great essay introduction for a how-to essay? For a better explanation of the process of writing a how-to essay, we will take an example prompt and describe the process through the sample topic.
Example essay prompt: How to manage time effectively as a student
Before we proceed with the introduction paragraph for this essay, let us first highlight the key talking points of an effective introduction. Irrespective of whether you are writing an argumentative essay, narrative essay, or any other essay, the basic elements of an introduction remain the same. These basic elements are listed below.
- Background brief
- Thesis statement
Introduction element: Hook of a how-to essay
Want to create immediate engagement around your how-to essay? That is what a hook is for. A hook, in the form of an impressive quote, fascinating statistical insight, or a massive claim attracts immediate attention. A hook creates importance around the topic and fosters eagerness among readers. In the context of a how-to essay, the hook will highlight the importance or the implications of the process you are explaining via your essay.
This would be much clearer when we create the hook for our sample essay.
Leo Christopher once rightly quoted that there is only one thing more precious than our time and that is who we spend it on. This clearly sums up the need for effective time management.
With respect to this essay topic, it makes complete sense to lay great emphasis on the value of time and the need for excellent time management. Having begun with a famous quote on time management, we have created a strong impact from the word go. This is what a great essay hook can do.
After the hook, you then need to provide an impressive background brief about time management in the context of students followed by the purpose of the essay. In the purpose of the essay, you will state how the essay aims at offering some actionable and effective time management tips for students given the fact that students often find it hard to manage time between different engagements.
Proceeding further, next comes the thesis statement of your essay. The subsequent section explains how to write a thesis statement for a how-to essay.
Essay element: Thesis statement of a how-to essay
In the generic sense, the thesis statement of an essay puts forth the principal idea of your essay. Also, a thesis explains the scope of the essay and gives the essay a sense of direction. In the case of a how-to essay, the thesis statement will basically emphasize how following effective strategies for a process can optimize the outcomes.
For greater clarity, how we create the thesis statement of a how-to essay will offer a lucid understanding.
Sample thesis statement
For students, time management has always been a complex challenge. However, with an effective approach to time management and the implementation of unique strategies, students can overcome this challenge.
So, as you can clearly see, this thesis statement explains the scope of the essay and gives it a sense of direction. When we assert the importance of time management strategies in the thesis statement, we can then further develop the essay to put forth those strategies.
After the thesis statement, comes the outline of the essay. The thesis statement and the outline are in cohesion with each other. The next section will tell you how to write the outline of your essay’s introduction.
Essay element: Outline of a how-to essay
The outline marks the end of your introduction paragraph. In the outline, you simply describe the blueprint of your essay. In simple words, the outline describes what each body paragraph includes.
Let us develop our sample essay further for a better explanation of how you can write the outline of a how-to essay to conclude the introduction paragraph.
Firstly, the essay discusses some general yet effective time management strategies that students can readily implement for more productive use of their time. Secondly, the essay discusses how students can effectively manage their distractions for better time management. Lastly, the essay explains the lifestyle changes that students can make for more productive utilization of their time.
We are pretty sure that now you are left with no doubts whatsoever about the introduction of a how-to essay. Going ahead, in the next section, we explain how you need to develop the body paragraph of your essay.
How to write the body of a how-to essay
By the time you reach this section of your essay, you have already laid a foundation for your essay in the introduction paragraph. In the body paragraphs, you need to further build on that foundation in a systematic way. You need to organize different ideas into different body paragraphs.
Basically, the arrangement of the body paragraphs will be as per the outline that you have presented in the introduction paragraph. Here, it is vital to note that each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is meant to establish a rational understanding of what the paragraph is about. Also, each body paragraph should have its own brief conclusion.
In the body paragraph of a how-to essay, if you are explaining the process of something, it should flow in a stepwise manner. Alternatively, if you are explaining the strategies for something, they should be explained in a systematic way. From the topic sentence itself, it should be clear to the reader whether the paragraph discusses the challenge or the process of dealing with the challenge. For concluding the body paragraph, you can discuss the merit of the strategies presented in the body paragraph or their limitations.
The sample body paragraph with respect to the topic we are developing will offer a better understanding for sure.
Sample body paragraph
There are some simple and efficient ways in which students can enhance their time management productivity. Initially, students can improve their efficiency in time management by utilizing time management tools that can offer greater transparency into their productivity. With time management tools, students can better understand the areas where they are spending more time than required and can accordingly make adjustments to their time spending patterns (Tap et al., 2000). Further, for enhancing time management, students can indulge in goal setting and create a clear task list every day for a more streamlined approach to time management. For creating a task list or a to-do list in the right priority order, students can apply the Pareto Principle also popularly known as the 80-20 rule (Craft & Leake, 2002). Effective task planning in the right order of priority can help students to determine which tasks need to be done first and which tasks can be planned for later in the day. To add, another strategy that students can apply for better time management is designating a deadline for every task and setting milestones for each task. In the ultimate sense, the effectiveness of each strategy is contingent on how effectively an individual applies and tracks the strategies.
As you can see, the topic sentence clearly specifies what the body paragraph is about, and after the time management strategies, a brief conclusion sums up the body paragraph. Not only it gives a great impression of the essay but also makes the organization of content in different body paragraphs more systematic.
Moving forward, the last section is the conclusion of the essay. How the conclusion of a how-to essay is different from other essays is explained in the subsequent section.
How to write the conclusion of a how-to essay
In the conclusion, you need to restate the importance of the topic in consistency with your thesis statement. You again need to substantiate your thesis statement by explaining how approaching a process effectively can lead to optimized outcomes. You need to restate that your approach to describing the process is the best possible approach along with the summarization of key points you have added to the body paragraphs.
For greater clarity, let us look at the sample conclusion of our essay prompt.
To conclude, the need for time management in the context of students or even in general is immense. With effective time management strategies, students can bring positive changes in their productivity. Scheduling and better planning are the basis of time management and enable wiser allocation of time to different tasks that students need to perform in a day. Moreover, in the digital age, students can use productivity tracking tools to track and log their time in a systematic manner. Lastly, it is analyzed that distractions such as social media pose a great time management challenge to students. For students, better time management has to be inclusive of managing distractions effectively.
Clearly, the conclusion restates and reinforces the crux of the body paragraphs in a smooth manner. The conclusion is concise and coherent with the key talking points of the essays hence restating the thesis statement.
Is there more you wish to know about writing a how-to essay? Well, there is absolutely no need for that because we have told you everything about it. You now have a clear idea of what a ‘how to’ essay is and how you should go about it.
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