Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

Sep 28, 2009 Filed under:Cause/effect essay — admin @ 12:09 am

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

Effective cause-and-effect essays can also be used to dismiss assumptions. This strategy is utilized when you want to correct common beliefs about the causes and/or effects of an event. In Etienne Krug’s essay “Injury Surveillance is Key to Preventing Injuries,” the author discusses the high rate of injuries worldwide. By examining key data and the causes of these injuries, Krug dismisses a commonly held belief about these types of injuries:

  • “The lack of data on the size of the injury problem and on prevention has contributed to the traditional view of injuries as ‘accidents,’ suggesting that they are random unavoidable events and has resulted in their historical neglect, both as a subject of research and as a preventable outcome.”

You can not only work to create causal chains and dismiss commonly held assumptions in a cause-and-effect analysis, but you can also ask questions such as “Why?” and “Then what?” to make sure you are including all the relevant details.

Cause and Effect Essay Tip 1

  • As you craft your essay, you need to be aware of common errors in logic and work to avoid them. One of the most common errors in cause-and-effect essays is oversimplification of the cause-and-effect relationship. As you learned earlier in the lesson, most events have multiple causes and effects, and neglecting to discuss a key factor in the event will seriously weaken your analysis.

The Capital Community College Foundation web site has an excellent discussion of the second error in logic, which is post hoc, ergo propter hoc, or “after this, therefore because of this.” Basically, if writers commit this error in logic, they are taking for granted that one event then caused a later event. For further examples, click (http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/argument_logic.htm) .

When thinking about the organization of your cause-and-effect analysis, first make sure that you have a strong thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The Capital Community College Foundation web site has a sample student cause-and-effect essay on its web site and is worth taking a look at. At the end of the introduction, the student clearly states the thesis:

  • “But although soccer has become an important sport in the American sports scene, it will never make inroads into the hearts and markets of American sports the way that football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and even tennis and golf have done. There are many reasons for this.”

The reader now knows that the student’s essay will explore the causes of why soccer is not as popular in the U.S.

Cause and Effect Essay Tip 2

Once you craft your thesis, use strong topic sentences to unite your argument. For instance, the student’s essay in the previous example uses the following topic sentences:

  1. Topic Sentence: “Second, Americans love their violence, and soccer doesn't deliver on this score the way that American football and hockey do.”
  2. Topic Sentence: “Third, it is just too difficult to score in soccer. “

By using clear transitions and specific topic sentences, the student is easily able to maintain unity and coherence throughout the essay.