Definitive Guide to Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

Cause and effect essay examples for college

Cause and effect essays are concerned with why things happen (causes) and what happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method of organizing and discussing ideas.

“What is a cause and effect essay?” It is a good question to start. Those are academic papers concerned with why certain things or events take place and what are the consequences of some actions/phenomena. It is the typical way to organize and discuss ideas.

Expert Advice:

“In such essay, a young writer must pay attention to the primary causes and results. The contributory things are not necessary, but it is possible to include some of them if a person is running out of ideas. Immediate reasons and outcomes generate the cause and effect directly unlike remote ones, which cannot be noticed with a naked eye. How should one choose a topic? Make sure you know the relationship between subjects or events well.”

Joshua Tatum, a Literature {amp}amp; English Composition 101 professor and editor at WriteMyEssay4Me

They say it is impossible to understand how to write cause and effect essay without observing some of the good cause and effect essay examples. Visualizing things is a powerful method. On the website mentioned at the beginning of this article, a student may find some free samples of such works. To make it short, we will provide the brief versions.

  1. A person is running out of gas/oil a His/her auto will not start a This person will be late for the important meeting a He/she will miss an important job offer.
  2. Mary loved studying business in college because of the high salaries in the field. Her father was a financial analyst. She is good with numbers. That is why Mary has decided to major in Finance {amp}amp; Accounting along with her brother of the local business school.
  3. Think about the outcomes f decreased work hours. Example; lower average wages, annoyed employer, more time to train hard, extra time to spend with family and friends.

Keep in mind the consequences are not necessarily adverse or positive.

Each student will find these cause and effect essay topics useful! Before picking one, ensure the availability of information online.

Definitive Guide to Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

The definition of a term makes it easier to understand its essence. To choose interesting, relevant themes, a student should know it is a separate type of academic writing assignment, given by teachers to see how well the students may explain the causes and effects of some events. The cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper shows how different things depend on each other.

When a patient attends the doctor, they do not start the treatment immediately – the doctor tries to detect the causes why the patient feels bad and analyzes the effects of the illness. After that, it is possible to recommend specific treatment. It is an example of how a student should choose a topic.

While many students believe it is easy to pick a subject on their own without having to write on the subject recommended by a teacher, others realize the truth: it could be much more difficult to choose the theme independently. It requires more efforts such as twice-longer research.

Before exploring our list, look at the examples of cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper’s outline. It will give a clue what to include in a cause and effect essay. The primary type of an outline is the multiple causal chains;

  1. Introduction
  2. Effect 1
  3. Effect 2
  4. Effect 3
  5. Conclusion

It means one factor can lead to numerous effects. Example: A powerful earthquake in the Indian Ocean led to the massive tsunami, destruction of several touristic zones, and thousands of deaths. While describing a medical problem such as some kind of disease, it is possible to include multiple effects.

It is the simplest structure. Another type of an outline is for the multiple topics (many causes = many effects). When it comes to a domino cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper, please consider using the template:

  1. Introduction
  2. Cause {amp}amp; link 1
  3. Cause {amp}amp; link 2
  4. Cause {amp}amp; link 3
  5. Cause {amp}amp; link 4
  6. Cause {amp}amp; link 5
  7. Conclusion

It is time to answer the disturbing question, “What are some cause and effect essay topics?”

Understanding the instructions of the cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper prompt is the key success factor when it comes to selecting good cause and effect paper topics. A cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper should attract the reader from the opening line – its title. Keep in mind several basic principles of selecting themes:

  1. Define the causes and effects. Take a pen and a separate piece of cause-{amp}amp;-effect paper to write down which ideas you plan to cover and their significance in the community. Highlight the interrelated subjects – it is possible to come up with a single cause for an effect or few.
  2. Decide on the suitable working for your thoughts. A student may understand the relationship between the subjects, but he/she may have no idea how to express the thoughts in a proper, clear manner.
  3. Select ideas that make sense. Think about various things that may grab reader’s attention by putting yourself in the shoes of the target audience: What might seem interesting to you? Writing on themes associated with the student popularity or surviving the initial year in college may be okay to grab the attention of your peers.
  4. Find inspiration! No author/poet was able to create masterpieces without a reference: from the hobby to the love of life. Remember: writing is an art!

“What is a good cause and effect paper topic?” Students who keep asking this question will discover 80 ideas in the list below. Choose based on the most valuable problems of society.

A cause and effect essay is an essay in which a claim is made regarding a cause that has a discernible impact, outcome or effect that can be traced back to the initial action.

The essay outlines or shows how the cause leads to the effect and supports the claim with research.

The essay can also be written by taking a subject—such as the Vietnam War—and identifying what caused it and what its effects were.

You’re essentially looking at a handful of actions and reactions and trying to make sense of them.

Establish a logical explanation for how the actions and reactions fit together—and you’ll have a solid essay ready to go!

The essay should begin with an introduction that includes a thesis statement.

A thesis statement is a sentence that describes the main point of your essay.

If you’re writing about the opioid crisis in the U.S., you would want to identify the cause and the effect of the crisis in your thesis statement.

The thesis statement should come at the end of the introductory paragraph. 

The first part of the paragraph should lead into the thesis by giving some background information on the subject.

So if, for instance, your subject was the opioid epidemic, you might start off your intro by leading with a statistic, such as:  Nearly 100 people die every day in the U.S. because of opioids (Rudd et al., 2016).

Remember:  when you provide data that is not well known by the public, always be sure to cite the information.

To learn more about how to cite sources, check out our citation guides.

Your lead-in will be followed by more background info on the subject as you build your case for your thesis, which will close out your opening paragraph and give the reader clear and concise direction on where the paper is headed.

Let’s examine how it all works in some detail.

Step 1

The first step is to pick a great cause and effect essay topic.

A good topic for this kind of essay will be one that has a solid history to it or that is at the center of a string of events.

Wars are typically great topics because every war has a cause and an effect.

Look for subjects that have a chain of events to them—a starting point and an end point.

Social movements are good topics as well.

The Civil Rights Movement, or the Women’s Movement, or the Protestant Reformation, or the Bolshevik Revolution—all of these have causes and effects that can be researched and explained in a five paragraph essay.

Step 2

Once you identify your topic, begin to research it.

You can go to Wikipedia, for instance, to develop a basic understanding of the subject—but you will want to expand your research beyond Wikipedia in order to write a good essay.

Most instructors want to see that you have obtained material on your own from:

  • books,
  • websites,
  • journals,
  • films,
  • archives and
  • scholarly articles.

If you can gather sources from a wide variety of places, your essay will appear more authoritative than if you based all your research on a single source.

Be honest and ask questions about your subject—and then try to answer them by looking for answers in the sources available to you.

The more questions you ask, the more likely your research is to pay off. 

Jot down notes so that you can connect the dots between causes and outcomes along the way.

Basically you should be able to construct an historical timeline of events that illustrates the cause and effect of your subject within a given period.

Step 3

Write as you go.

Don’t wait until you’ve “done all the research” to start writing.

Writing while you research helps you to put ideas together and process what you are uncovering about your topic.

Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect—it’s more about exercising your skills at this point.

The idea is to begin putting words on paper so that you can see what you have.

The more information you obtain, the harder it will be for you to actually start composing your essay once you have a mountain of data in front of you:  you’re likely to feel overwhelmed.

Don’t worry if you uncover information later on that contradicts what you’ve already written!

That’s the point:  you can always go back and revise.

In fact, revision makes your writing that much stronger.

Step 4

Compose your outline.

It might seem counter-intuitive to create an outline after you’ve already begun writing.

It’s actually a really helpful exercise, however, because it allows you to take what you have, organize it, and order it more effectively.

Consider your initial writing as a rough, rough draft.

It is a way for you to familiarize yourself with the subject.

As you wind down your research and answer all your questions, start thinking about what the best way to introduce your topic would be.

Come up with a hook—a piece of information that will surprise your reader and attract the reader’s interest—which you can use to start off your paper.

A startling figure will do the trick, or a piece of trivia about your subject that you can tie into your thesis will work.

Use this hook to start off your outline, and then identify your thesis—the main point which you will prove in your writing; after that, sketch out the direction that your Body will take:  show how you prove your thesis by providing supporting details.

Round out the outline with a Conclusion and re-cap what you paper shows.

This will serve as a great road map for you as you go back to create your rough draft.

Your earlier rough, rough draft helps because it allows you to see what works and what doesn’t, what is essential to your main idea and what is not.

The rough, rough draft will allow you to construct a great outline—and that outline in turn will allow you to construct a great first draft.

Step 5

Write the rough (or first) draft by following the outline you just created.

If parts of your rough, rough draft work for the purposes of your outline, simply plug them in and go.

Once you finish composing your rough draft, go back and edit it to ensure that it has cohesion, consistency, flow, no grammar or logic mistakes, and stays focused on your main idea.

Be sure to make use of transition words and phrases where appropriate.

It’s an academic paper that examines a situation and explores either its causes or effects. For example, let’s say your topic is global warming. You could either talk about the possible causes of global warming (industrialization, destruction of the ozone layer or a natural planetary process) OR you could talk about the effects of global warming (melting of the polar ice caps, sea levels rising, starving polar bears, etc.)

Simple enough, right? Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to ace your cause and effect essay:

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s now time to choose which angle you’re going to write from: the cause or the effect angle. Let’s say you chose the legalization of gay marriage. You can choose to examine either the causes or the effects.

  • Make two lists, one for causes and one for effects
  • Write down all the possible causes of the legalization of gay marriage
  • Write down all the possible effects of the legalization of gay marriage

Which list seems more complete or more familiar to you? Which one feels like it will be easier to write? That’s the angle you’ll choose.

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There are several reasons for XYZ … (First, … Second…, Finally, …)

There are several reasons for obesity. First, nowadays many people eat too much junk food. Second, …

There are two main factors. The first factor …, Another factor …

There are two main factors that account for increasing obesity. The first factor is the increase in junk food. Another factor is …

The first cause is… / The next cause is …

The first cause is too little exercise. The next cause is …

This / XTZ leads to …

Smoking leads to heart disease.

One possible cause is …

One possible cause is a lack of sleep.

Another possible cause is …

Another possible cause is too much stress.

ABC may lead to XYZ …

Increased smartphone use may lead to addiction.

Before… Now…

Before, people used to eat at home. Now, many eat on the run.

A second result/outcome

A secondary result of too little exercise is apathy.

One effect is … Another effect is …

One effect is a decrease in appetite. Another effect is general laziness.

Another result is …

Another result is students feel pressure to get good grades at any cost.

They may feel/think/purchase …

They may think that without good grades there are fewer chances in the workplace.

As a consequence of ABC, XYZ occurs / happens / etc.

As a consequence of too little sleep, stress-related diseases occur.

Also,/ Too,/In addition,

Also, students take too little time to relax.

Thus,/Therefore,/Consequently

Consequently, there is a shortage of possible jobs.

Also commonly known as the reason and result essays, a cause and effect essay explores the underlying reason for a specific event, occurrence, or situation and then discusses the effects or results of such.

This particular type of essay is one of the most commonly used essays in the academic world. Often times, the entire essay will explore cause and effect, however, there are also occasions where only part of the essay might consist of a cause and effect requirement.

For example, a medical student might be asked to explain the high mortality rate in areas where certain vaccines are unavailable; otherwise this example of assignment is known as a cause only essay.

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