What Is a Cause and Effect Essay

Effective Tips for a Cause and Effect Essay

Every cause has an effect; every effect has a cause. Whether it is something like a boomerang, or like ripples from a pebble you threw into the water, everything in the earthly phenomena is interconnected. The cause-effect kind of connection, for example, has affected the emergence of cause and effect essays.

What does cause and effect mean? The Oxford dictionary defines cause as “a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition”, whereas effect is defined as “a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause”. Cause and effect together as one concept are interpreted as “the operation or relation of a cause and its effect”.

  • Regarding their level of importance, causes and effects can be primary or secondary.
  • Regarding their scope of influence, causes and effects can be extensive, large-scale or local and insignificant.
  • In terms of time between a cause and its effect, they can be immediate or remote.
  • Depending on the presence or absence of any intermediary processes or agents, causes and effects can be direct or indirect.

Generally, a cause and effect essay (which also can be called a causal analysis essay) concentrates on causes and effect of greater magnitude and intensity. Nevertheless, you might be specifically instructed or challenge yourself to expound on those causes and effects that are less explicit. If the assignment allows it and you are able to properly analyze both, it can win you some extra points.

Cause and Effect Essay Definition

Among other different types of essays, cause and effect essay is a kind of expository writing commonly applied at school and university classes, or elsewhere as cause and effect articles. This type of essay, clearly, investigates the causes and reasons that bring about certain outcomes. It draws links between subjects - events, processes, material or abstract things - to show and explain to us the universal law of reaping what we sow (or the nature).

Here we will talk about how to write a cause and effect paper: how to arrange its structure, what approach to adopt and how to format your writing.

The two main kinds of a cause and effect essay are:

  • one that exposes the causes of something;
  • one that exposes the effects of something.

There may be essays that look into both aspects.

Examples of cause and effect essay assignments:

  1. Expound on the negative and positive effects of global technologization.
  • (the essay’s concern is only the effects)
  1. What causes the death of languages
  • (the essay’s concern is only the causes)
  1. Analyze the causes of ADHD and its effects on an individual’s life.
  • (the essay’s concern is both the causes and the effects)

It is possible to write about causes and effects of a few different subjects in one essay. However, the attention of both the writer and the reader of such an essay may be dispersed between all of the subjects, and the connection then is lost and the minds are confused. Therefore, it is best to write such an essay only if you are sure you can build a strong and clear structure for it.

To write a top-notch cause and effect essay, you surely have to understand how the causes and the effects in your subject work. If you have such an opportunity (for example, when you are writing your essay at home, as opposed to at classes), conduct a good cause and effect research on the topic. If you can choose the topic of the essay on your own rather than have an assignment, do not take one that you cannot understand.

You should also decide if you will concentrate in your cause and effect writing on causes or on effects. It is easier to write a lot of good material if you have enough to write about, and so, you need to figure out if there is more to say about the causes or the effects within the subject of your choice. To compare the two, make a list for each. The list that has the most items (with more causes or more effects) is your advice on what to choose.

Before you begin writing, make a “blueprint” of the essay: define the appropriate structure and the order in which you will put your arguments.

Let’s recall the three general components of every essay

  1. Introduction, where you present the subject of the essay and state a thesis.
  2. The main body, where your explanation of cause and effect connections actually unfolds.
  3. Conclusion, where the key ideas from your cause and effect sentences are summarized to confirm the thesis and make a final point.

Cause and Effect Thesis Statement

The thesis is like a preliminary conclusion of the essay. A good thesis clearly puts the focus of your argumentation on either causes or effects (or both) and states what those causes or effects actually are.

Another strong point of a thesis is the goal you pursue in the essay. If the purpose of your cause and effect argument is to bring public attention to a certain issue about painful effects of something, if you wish to call people to action to resolve this problem, make a thesis for a persuasive essay that intends to have some moral impact on the reader. In such a case, your essay turns from expository to really an argument essay. On the other hand, you may write a simply informative essay to educate your readers and help them understand the causes behind effects and see the effects of different causes.

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

When it comes to the cause and effect essay outline, there are two things to take into account: the structure of the essay and its format.

Cause and effect essay structure entails three types

  1. Various causes of one effect

The task is to reveal different kinds of causes that contribute to one outcome. The causes should preferably represent diverse aspects of specific influence on the result, like, for instance, psychological, social, and economic causes of emigration.

  1. One cause of various effects

The task is to point out numerous effects, negative and/or positive, perhaps in different areas of life, that have resulted from the same cause. For example, the effects of advertising on the streets of a city or town are visual pollution, anxiety of drivers and pedestrians, and potential loss of tourism flow due to the damage of the town’s aesthetics

  1. Causes and effects in chain

The task is to expose a linear course of occurrences that result from each other. An example of such chain of events is how African-American field hollers gave birth to blues, blues gave a start to jazz, jazz resulted in rock and roll, from which most of the modern music genres have evolved. The dynamics of such kind of process probably evoke more curiosity than other structures, but they are also more testing for the writer.

Cause and effect essay format offers two options

  1. Block format.

It entails two blocks: the first block describes all causes. and the second block describes all effects. This kind of format is quite clear and favorable for short essays without too many connections to make between the causes and the effects.

  1. Chain format.

Like a line of dominoes that fall one by one, a chain of events happens when something causes an effect, and that effect becomes the cause of another effect. This is the order in which arguments are put with this method. This kind of format puts every effect right beside its cause, which makes it easier to view them together.

Five paragraph essays are typical, but the number of paragraphs in a cause and effect paper depends on how many cause-effect threads there are in the main body of the essay, plus two more paragraphs for the introduction and the conclusion. For example, if there are financial, environmental, and social causes of an effect (or vice versa), devote a separate paragraph for each of them. If one of these aspects contains more than one cause or effect, split that cause and effect paragraph. In the case when one of the causes or effects is of major importance, it may require a paragraph of its own as well. If you are writing your essay in a chain structure, every “link” of this chain should be put into a separate paragraph too.

Critical evaluation of relationships between causes and effects is an important skill that you train when writing a school or college research paper. The patterns of causes and effects permeate all areas of our life: the trends we follow, global changes and reforms in our society, the course of history are all results of some processes and someone’s decisions - our decisions to put up with something or to make a change. Cause and effect essays help us become a little bit more aware of our choices.