As a student, one of the essays you will be asked to write is a cause and effect essay. This is one of the easiest essays you will write throughout your college academics. However, just like any other essay writing assingment, it requires research and proper planning.
To be able to write the most compelling cause and effect essay, it is important to take your time to understand what the essay is about. Every essay assigned to students is meant to serve a particular purpose. A cause and effect essay is meant to gauge the student’s analytical skills as well as critical thinking. Here is everything you need t know about writing a cause and effect essay.
What is a cause and effect essay?
This is an academic paper meant to examine a situation by exploring the causes and effects. For instance, if you pick a topic such as global warming, your essay can address the possible causes of global warming and address the effects of global warming.
A cause and effect essay is a type of academic writing that focuses on events, facts, and actions that cause particular results. This type of essay aims to analyze the impact and outcome (cause and effect), the correlations, and the possible future effects of a situation.
Types of cause and effect essays
There are different types of cause and effect essays. The type depends on the correlations between the impact and outcome of the event.
Multiple causes and one effect
This type of essay illustrates and analyzes how different causes can contribute to a particular outcome. For this type of cause and effect essay, you need to breakdown the body of the essay into a few parts. Each of these parts should address a different cause and impact.
One cause multiple effects
This type of cause and effect essay is meant to assess how one cause can cause multiple effects. This type of essay requires in-depth research about the topic to be able to analyze how one action can have multiple outcomes. It is also meant to show the connections between various factors.
Chain of causes and effects
This is the most challenging type of cause and effect essay for most students. This writing is based on a chain of causes and their effects. It requires showing the connections of the chain of causes and effects. It needs to show the correlations between different actions and events and how they caused the effects throughout the chain of events.
When choosing your essay topic, it is important to consider the type of cause and effect essay you are writing. This is because not all topics are suitable for all categories.
Choosing a cause and effect essay topic
The most important thing to remember when choosing a cause and effect essay topic is that it needs to represent a scenario where a fact, event or action has caused an effect or multiple effects. In other words, you need to make sure that the topic you choose has a cause and an effect chain that can be addressed in an essay conclusively.
An ideal cause and effect essay topic needs to be:
When choosing a topic for your essay, it is always advisable to pick one that is most relevant to you. Finding a topic you resonate with the key to writing a deep and well thought out essay. Take time to think about all the things around you that can easily be correlated with different causes. For instance, urbanization and its effect on human health and the environment. This is a scenario you live out every day and one that can present multiple arguments for your essay.
There are 4 steps to follow when choosing a topic:
- Brainstorming – take time to think of topic ideas as you write all of them down
- Choose an idea from the list that is within your range of interests
- Narrow down the general concept to something more specific.
For instance, if the general idea is ‘correlations between mental and physical health,’ you can narrow down the idea to something more specific like ‘effects of stress on the immune system amongst college students.’ While both topics focus on the same issues, the second one is more accurate and addresses a particular issue. This makes it more manageable.
- Once you have an idea, craft it into a clear and engaging topic.
Examples of topics you can use for a cause and effect essay
- Effect of junk food on a person’s energy levels
- The effect of high blood pressure on the human heart
- The impact of social media on modern society
- How advertising impacts brand image
- The role played by pop-music in personality development
- The effect of water contamination on marine life
- Temperature increase across the globe and its influence on the growing prevalence of cholera and malaria
- How human behavior promotes climate change
- Gamified learning experiences and its impact on early education
- How the choice of college influences your personality
- The influence of the first teacher on a person’s future academic performance
- How one YouTube video make you popular
- legalization of gay marriages
Brainstorming the cause and effect topic
Once you have picked an ideal topic for your work, you need to decide on the angle you will address the topic from. For instance, if you choose a topic on legalization of gay marriages, you can choose to examine the cause or the effects of gay marriages. While it may not be obvious which angle to take, you can brainstorm the idea for clarity.
- Create a list of causes and another for effects
- Write all the possible causes of legalizing gay marriages
- Write down possible effects of the legalization of gay marriages
From the two lists, find one that seems more conclusive and familiar to you. This will be easier to focus on as a topic and write about.
Researching for your cause and effect paper
With the topic at hand, you now need to conduct thorough research to come up with material for your paper. Like any other academic paper, your cause and effect essay should be written using credible sources. The more research you conduct, the more content you will have for your essay. Therefore, it is important to dedicate a good amount of time to the research process.
Part of researching involves finding statistical information to back your points. This should be strictly from official sources and should comprise of reliable numbers.
Structuring the essay
A cause and effect essay is structured in the same way as any other type of academic essay. It needs to begin with an introduction part with the thesis statement, a body that processes your points and facts, and al conclusions to sum up the essay.
Before you can write an introduction, you will need to write don a thesis. The thesis should give the reader a reason to care about the topic. For instance, if you choose to write on the closedown of a popular store in your locality, the thesis statement should show the possible problem caused by the close to the members of the public.
The thesis statement should make the reader see the significance of the effect of an action. For instance, it can read: ‘the growth in large-scale franchises makes it harder for small, town stores to compete, which results in the closing of small businesses, thus offering fewer choices to the members of the public.’
Such a statement in your thesis shows the reader why it is important for them to care about your topic. It also serves as an entry into the essay's introduction, where the reader will learn more about what to expect from your paper.
The outline for a cause and effect paper can sometimes depend on the information given by your professor. However, most cause and effect essays are formatted in the same way to include:
- The introduction – this is where the topic is introduced, and the thesis statement is written.
- Supporting paragraphs – these can be at least 3 paragraphs that discuss your ideas and support the thesis. Each should discuss a unique cause and effect.
- Antithesis - This paragraph entertains the opposing side of an argument. For instance, if you were writing the causes and effects of global warming, your antithesis can be a paragraph on the popular belief that global warming does not exist.
- Conclusion – This is the last paragraph of your essay. It needs to restate the thesis and present your thoughts and ideas on further research on the topic.
Sometimes, you may be asked to write a free-form essay. In this type of essay, you only need to ensure that you present your research and writing in a flow.
Multiple causes and one effect essay outline example
This type of essay is best for topics that show multiple reasons for a specific effect.
The introduction – bullies are misunderstood and lonely.
The main body:
- Cause 1: the child has a poor upbringing from irresponsible parents
- Cause 2: the child is a poor performer in school with low grades and numerous detentions
- Cause 3: the child is attracted to other kids like him, thus becoming a bully too.
Conclusion: the bully is an angry child who takes out his pain on others.
One cause multiple effects essay outline example
This effect and outcome essay focuses on topics that show how one cause can spark a chain of effects.
Introduction: a bully will take out his anger and pain on others
- Effect 1: the bullied child becomes a victim of physical abuse
- Effect 2: the victim starts to hate on other students and starts to self-isolate
- Effect 3: the victim invests their time on working on their dreams
Conclusion: this can be a result of the different effects of the topic.
Chain of causes and effects essay outline example
In this type of essay, you need to show how a chain of events can lead to other events. This is a fast-paced pattern and is the best choice when you need to create an engaging essay.
Introduction: the parents verbally abuse a bully at home
- Causal link 1: bully attends schools while sad, and it affects his performance
- Causal link 2: bully is sent to detention for poor performance
- Causal link 3: after detention, he sees other children playing, which makes him angry
- Causal link 4: bully goes and starts making fun of the other kids to feel better about his situations
- Causal link 5: bully returns to home feeling depressed, and the cycle repeats the next day.
Conclusion: bad parenting can turn kids into bullies, which harms the community.
Writing your essay
With your topic and outline guidelines, you can now write your cause and effect essay using the evidence obtained from research. Ensure you write your essay in a language that is easy to understand. Use a custom essay writing service to check for grammar and plagiarism before submitting your work. Ensure you stick to the chosen structure and use smooth transitions lines throughout your paper. Examples of transition lines include due to, because, since, one/next/another cause is, as a result, one/second/another result is, therefore, thus, etc.
With these tips, you will be able to write a compelling cause and effect essay.