What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
A cause and effect essay can be defined as,
“ A paragraph or essay form which probes and analyzes into the causes (rationale, reasoning and background reasons) along with the effects (consequences, effects and outcome) for a particular event, happening, condition or behavior”.
Typically, students might confuse themselves between a cause and effect essay and a compare and contrast essay. A cause and effect essay concentrates on the ability of the writer to hook up the reasons why things happened and lead to the particular consequences. In addition, the writer approaches the sequence of events linearly, further analyzing the reasons and impact vigilantly.
The Domino Effect
At times, an event might trigger another event or happening, which may lead to another event, and it causes another event to happen. This is known as the causal chain or domino effect.
Format and Outline of a Standard Cause and Effect Essay
The introduction consists of statement of thesis topic, thesis statement, background information and analysis and literature review, if required. The thesis statement is followed up with by the statement of the main issue by describing the cause in detail with explicit illustration of circumstances.
First Body Paragraph
The first paragraph of a cause and effect essay introduces and describes the first reason which renders the thesis statement or hypothesis true. It is followed up by a detailed description and explanation of the primary reason along with background information or examples and related material.
Second Body Paragraph
The second paragraph of a cause and effect essay brings in and describes the secondary reason which renders the thesis statement or hypothesis true. It is followed up by a detailed description and explanation of the second reason along with establishing a relationship between the primary and secondary reasons or causes.
Third Body Paragraph
The third paragraph of a cause and effect essay states the last and final reason which effects the main thesis statement and the primary and secondary causes. It establishes a correlation and interdependence among the 3 reasons by means of implementing deductive analysis.
The conclusion recaps the whole essay in general and explicitly states the deductive reasoning, earlier established from the causes in a categorical order.
Types of Casual Relationships in Cause and Effect Essays
A necessary cause is one which needs to be essentially present for a particular event or happening to occur. A sufficient cause may or may not be accompanied by other causes.
Example: Scientific causes e.g. Global warming, natural causes and universal cause and effect relationships.
A sufficient cause is one which has the ability to produce a certain type of effect independently but might not be the only source of inducing the designated cause and may or may not be accompanied by other causes.
Example: Social causes e.g. divorce, teenage violence, homosexuality etc.
A contributory cause is an impetus which aids in producing a specific effect or outcome but is not capable of inducing the effect in its independent capacity. A contributory cause is necessarily accompanied by other causes.
Example: Accidents and events like cars accident or a particular event.
Guide Tips for Drafting Cause and Effect Essays
The writing style for a cause and effect essay typically makes use of casual chains, logical flow of events, systematic order of events and happenings. The writer should make use of deductive analysis of the existing data to reach provide a logical reasoning of the particular happening.
To organize your cause and effect essay, write down all the possible causes that come into your mind for the specific effect.
Next, narrow down and categorize the causes into parent causes. For example if your are working on the causes of divorce then you can make parent categories of internal, external, family specific and natural causes and then assign the sub-causes like lack of tolerance, financial issues, work issues into each parent cause.
Format an outline map of your cause and direct inducements. Then, you can adjust the map into your essay structure by formatting transition words and sentences.
Words and Phrases for Sentence Development in Cause and Effect Essay Writing
|as a result|
One reason why …
There are other reasons, too, …
One of the most important reasons why …
The main reasons why
To write a cause and effect essay, you’ll need to determine a scenario in which one action or event caused certain effects to occur. Then, explain what took place and why! This essay allows us to identify patterns and explain why things turned out the way that they did.
How do I choose a topic and get started? Try choosing a major event, either in your own life or an event of historical significance. For example, The Great Depression.
Cause of The Great Depression: stock market crash
How would we elaborate? We'd discuss the behaviors, carelessness, errors, and even cultural attitudes that led to the crash—explaining why it was devastating.
Effects of the Great Depression: joblessness & poverty
What should we say about the effects?
- Businesses went under—explain HOW the crash caused this
- Describe poverty in detail—explain how this could’ve been handled more efficiently or even avoided
Narrowing a Large Topic
In a short essay, it might be difficult to tackle the cause and all of the many effects of a big event like the Great Depression. To narrow a cause and effect topic down to a manageable size, ask yourself…
- What's the main (most important) cause? Most people attribute it to the stock market crash, so that's a good place to start.
- Can I break the different types of effects down into categories? Yes! I'll break my ideas down into categories like: economic, social, employment, practical, and morale effects. (example below)
- Which category interests me the most? "Practical effects" is the most interesting. I'll narrow the topic of my paper down so that my essay will now be about how the stock market crash affected the practical ways that people lived their lives during the Great Depression.
Can that category be broken down even further to make the topic more manageable? I'm actually interested in the ways that the Great Depression affected the farming industry. I want to talk about the new skills and methods that farmers were forced to learn and implement, as a result of their difficult situation.
Narrowing a Large Topic - Example
Can I break the different types of effects down into categories? Yes! I'll break my ideas down into categories like: economic, social, employment, practical, and morale effects.
money loses value
public resourcefulness increases
companies lose value
employers pay lower wages
farming techniques change
men emasculated by job loss
banks lose the public's trust
orphanages fill up
forced to work longer hours
public wastes less, finds creative ways to save
Student Sample: The Desired Look: Nothing But Bones