5 Rules for Writing Cause and Effect Essays

By Bhalachandra Sahaj

Hi everyone!

Recently, my friend asked me to help him check some of his student’s papers–mostly those where they needed to show and explain causative links between events or phenomena, and their outcomes; this is what actually a cause and effect essay is. However, I was surprised to discover that a lot of students not only have little idea about what they are required to do in cause and effect essays, but also face difficulties when trying to reveal causation, or explain it to an audience. Having this in mind, I decided to write five universal, brief rules for writing cause and effect essays.

  1. Naming an effect of a certain event, action, or phenomena (let’s call it trigger) is not enough–and this is what people usually do. Instead, you must show how this outcome is connected to what was causing it.
  2. If a trigger has multiple effects, choose the most significant among them. Do not spend your effort on listing minor outcomes.
  3. Clearly state what kind of causation you are going to research in your paper: effects of a trigger, or multiple reasons why something has happened.
  4. Concentrate only on effects that are connected to a cause directly; the same approach is valid if you are analyzing reasons. Do not dig into unnecessary analysis of far-reaching consequences, or reasons from a distant past.
  5. Sometimes, an example or illustration can be more precious than a thousand explanations. Always support your claims with examples: graphs, statistics, interviews of experts or witnesses, and so on.

Observing these simple rules, you can be certain that your cause and effect papers will become better almost immediately. Good luck!

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