If You Want to Become an Expert at Writing Cause and effect Essays, Here’s How
Cause and effect essays will be assigned in almost any course. An English literature instructor may ask for an essay on the causes of Macbeth’s downfall; an environmental science teacher may ask for such an essay on the effects of global warming on weather conditions; a sociology instructor may want a piece on the causes of crime. The list is basically endless.
Writing a cause and effect essay is not difficult if the right amount of preparation has been done before you actually begin to write. This post is going to take you through all of that preparation, step-by-step, so that you will become your own expert on these types of essays.
Getting to a Cause and Effect Essay Definition
If you fail to turn in an assignment for a course, you will get a zero on the assignment. That zero will impact or effect your final grade for the course, which will, of course be lower now. So, the cause in this situation is failure to complete a homework assignment. Effect is what happens to your grade as a result of that action. So, we can say that a cause and effect essay involves the writer analyzing the reasons for decision, event or action, or the consequences (or effects) of that decision, event, or action. That is the cause and effect essay definition.
There are three types of cause and effect essays:
- A “cause” essay is one that only deals with the causes of an event, situation, action, or decision. For example, what were the causes for President Obama’s decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba?
- An “effect” essay will only deal with the consequences of an action, decision, event, or situation. So, using the same Cuba event above, you can speak to what effects we will see – more travel to Cuba, American businesses establishing companies there, trade, and, ultimately, perhaps the healing of old wounds between that country and ours.
- A cause and effect essay will analyze both the causes of something and the effects of that something. These types of essays are usually reserved papers that will be much longer than just a basic essay.
The type of essay/paper you are to write will of course impact the topics for cause and effect essays that you will consider.
Selecting Your Topic
Obviously the topic for your essay will have to relate to the content of the course for which it has been assigned. If you have options, the most important consideration is that you pick a topic that you really have an interest in. If, for example, you are in a political science class that is addressing current issues, you might want to consider an essay on the effects of the Paris and San Bernadino attacks on the proposals being put forth by the Presidential candidates. If you are in a biochemistry course, you might want to consider an essay on the potential effects of biogenetic engineering.
As you think about topic selection, you will want to decide which of the three types of cause and effect essays you will choose, if your instructor has not already decided for you. The length requirement will also play a role in your topic refinement.
Look at Some Good Examples of Cause and Effect Essays
Before you begin on planning and developing your cause and effect essay, you might want to Google cause and effect essays related to your topic. This is an excellent way to shorten some of your time and to point yourself in the right direction and see the examples of cause and effect essays. Of course, you will not be using that essay or paper – you are just reviewing it for ideas. One of the nice things about finding an existing cause/effect essay or paper on your topic is that you will see which causes and/or effects other authors have used. Then, depending on the length requirement for you essay or paper, you can pick and choose the causes and effects that you want to include in your own work. This is a huge time-saver, and most students state that this is one of the best cause and effect essay writing tips they have ever received.
Don’t Overlook the Research
Cause and effect essays and papers are based upon facts. And unless you have enough facts in your head, you will need to conduct some research for information that will support the points you intend to make. If, for example, you are going to state that one of the causes of the economic crisis of 2008 was risky lending practices on the part of the big banks, then you need some factual data to prove that.
Organizing the Cause/Effect Essay or Paper
The structure of a cause-effect essay or paper is really easy, once you have decided on the specific causes or effects that you will cover. Each of them will deserve one paragraph or section of your work. The organizational questions you will need to ask are these:
- In what order will you cover each cause or effect? In some instances, a chronological structure will be necessary. In other circumstances you may want to cover the most important cause or effect first and move down to the lesser ones.
- How will you transition from one cause or effect to the next one? You need solid transitions so the reader knows what is coming next.
Writing the Rough Draft
Write your body paragraphs/sections first. This will allow you to re-think all of the information you are including and may help with your introduction. Each paragraph or section will have a topic sentence or opening paragraph that introduces the cause or effect, then include the important detail, and then have a transition sentence or short paragraph to move the reader onto the next section.
You introduction is best opened by some startling fact or statistic that will cause your reader some shock. If, for example, you are writing and essay on the causes of the huge percentage of our population that is imprisoned, you might open with a statistic about how many people are sitting in prison today. The number is huge, and your readers will not know this.
You Already Know the Final Step
You know that you will have to edit and revise that rough draft. And as you write your final copy, you cannot forget formatting cause and effect essay or paper works. Your professor has a required format, and you must stick to it. Be certain that you have provided citations for factual information or data that you are including – give credit where you need to.
If you follow this short guide, you will be an expert on the cause-effect essay quite quickly.