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What is a procedure?

A procedure is a text that tells you how to do, make or use something. It will give you a step-by-step guide so that you can achieve a specific goal. Procedures can be either written or oral (spoken).

Usually, a procedure will help you to:

  • make something, such as a recipe for pancakes 
  • use something, such as a manual on how to use a DVD player 
  • do something, such as how to play soccer or get to the park.

Written procedures often have images or diagrams to help the reader understand the procedure. Oral procedures, such as a television cooking programme, usually show the steps of the procedure while the presenter is talking.

Examples of procedures

Some examples of procedures might include:

  • recipes 
  • directions (to somewhere)
  • game rules
  • science experiments 
  • do-it-yourself instructions

Structure of a procedure

Procedures must include all the information needed to achieve the end result. If part of the procedure is missing, then it will be very difficult to achieve the end product.

Each procedure should have a title, or heading, that states what the procedure is about.

Many procedures will have a short introduction. This paragraph usually outlines the goal of the procedure.

Most procedures will have a list of equipmentmaterials or ingredients that are needed in order to achieve the outcome. A baking recipe, for example, will have a list of ingredients and cooking materials that are needed.

The steps of the procedure break down the process so it is easy to understand. All the steps are given in chronological order (in the order they need to be done). 

Often, there is a short evaluation paragraph at the end of the procedure. This may give more information or ask questions about whether the procedure worked (such as for a science experiment).

Visual elements are important because they help the reader to better understand the procedure. Visual elements can include maps, drawings, photographs, or diagrams of the process and the end result.

Preparing a procedure

When writing a procedure it is important that you do not forget any of the steps. The best way to write an accurate procedure is to actually do the procedure and take notes about the materials you used, the order of the steps and what the final product should look like.

A procedure should always be written in the present tense. Make sure that you include measurements, the length of time and the order of the procedure.

Always check your text for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.