Cause and Effect Analysis Essay

In: Cause/effect essay

Although the title of the article, cause-and-effect analysis, may sound intimidating to students, this article will emphasize that they often find themselves using this type of analysis on a daily basis. Therefore, they already have previous experience with the type of thought process this pattern of development utilizes. Once they understand the basic definition and purposes of causality, in fact, they will start to recognize different patterns of cause-and-effect as they watch the news and observe general human activities. The challenge with writing the essay will come with narrowing down the scope of supporting details. Obviously, one event can have numerous causes, so this lesson will also emphasize the importance of analyzing causality closely and determining which causes and/or effects are most appropriate to the writing context. The article will also caution students about some of the common errors in logic that can arise, which could detract from the overall effectiveness of the analysis.

The Purposes of Cause-and-Effect Analysis

With a lot of the news that you see reported on a daily basis, causal relationships are being constantly explored. Any time an important political or environmental event happens, experts and analysts are brought in to analyze why the event happened and to forecast the possible results. As human beings, it’s important to understand why certain events happen to reinforce a sense of security and well-being. For instance, experts may perform a causal analysis on anything from why a tsunami occurred to the reasons a sports team did not perform as well as expected.

The working definition of a cause-and-effect analysis, then, is that it is a study of the reasons why an event occurred and the subsequent effects that the event will have. When you explore causes, you solely examine the reasons an event happened. When you explore effects, you concentrate only on the results of the event. When you explore both causes and effects, you must examine both the reasons and the results.

The Del Mar College Writing Center has a very useful web page on further distinguishing between causes and effects. To simplify the thought processes when brainstorming for a cause-and-effect analysis, it advises you to ask yourself “Why did this happen?” when you’re determining causes and to ask “What happened because of this?” to identify effects.

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