READINGS for Process Analysis

icon picker
How to Sharpen Your Knife

by Florence H. Pettit

Task List

Read the embedded selection
Complete ‘discussion and critical thinking’
Complete ‘writing assignment’

The Reading

Discussion and Critical Thinking

What type of process analysis (directive or explanatory) is used? Explain your answer.
To what type of audience (well informed, moderately informed, or poorly informed on the topic) does the writer conduct their writing here?
What is the prevailing tone (objective, humorous, reverent, argumentative, cautionary, playful, ironic, ridiculing) of this selection?
What steps of the mechanical process described by Florence Pettit need to be visualized to be understood? What details help the reader to visualize them?
Are the stages of the process presented chronologically? If not, why not?
What terms, in your opinion, need to be defined for the amateur? What terms are explained by the context—that is, by the description of the process?

Writing Assignment

In about the same length as Pettit does, describe a mechanical process comparable to sharpening a knife—for example, tailoring clothes or filleting a fish or painting the exterior of a house—which you are familiar with. Write out the steps of the process in exact sequence so that someone who knows nothing about it could follow them after reading your description. Use any descriptive words and such technical terms as might be necessary, assuming you have to write for an audience unfamiliar with the process.


An important method of paragraph development is that of tracing or analyzing a mechanical, natural, or historical process—that is, a series of connected stages, each stage developing from the preceding one; or a series of connected events, each event developing from the preceding one. Though the stages or events are presented chronologically, the author may interrupt their account to discuss the implications or details of a particular stage or event. In complex processes, various stages may individually contain a number of steps and each step must be carefully distinguished for the reader. Process analysis is often closely related to causal analysis and may be combined with it.

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.