“For many phenomena, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes.”
Joseph M. Juran
The entire universe is connected and so are people, events, and ideas. Sometimes we are aware of these connections, but in other instances, we are not. Every cause has its consequence or results even if we don’t see it at a first glance. This is the premise behind cause and effect essays. A common assignment in high school and college, a cause and effect essay urges a writer to elaborate the root of an idea or problem and its larger impact. This useful guide will show you how to complete such an essay easily.
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These essays are defined as a composition where you explore/analyze actions, decisions and events, their triggers, and the outcome. Hence, the two constructs and the explanation you provide in your write-up must show logic and a deep understanding of the subject in question.
The main point of this essay is to determine how various phenomena are connected to one another. A writer creates a scenario where one cause generates one or more consequences and why. The paper requires a deep understanding of the subject and focuses on explaining all the “whys” and “hows”. Contrary to common misconception, this essay doesn’t just state a cause and result but also describes how and why it took place. Why did something happen? How did it occur?
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Skills to write a cause and effect essay
Every essay has its purpose that goes beyond the subject. Believe it or not, essay writing is a practical and effective way of improving different skills you’ll be using throughout your life. That’s why students get these assignments in the first place. Let’s take a look at the skills you develop while working on a cause and effect essay:
- Writing skills – working on different assignments sharpens your writing skills and this essay is not an exception
- Organizational skills – we need to be organized in every aspect of our lives to get something done. Cause and effect essays improve your ability to get organized. You arrange causes and effects in a way that keeps a reader’s interest and avoids creating additional confusion about the subject. While researching, you can identify a multitude of causes and effects. Good organizational skills are essential to categorize and include ideas into your essay properly
- Attention to details – this essay isn’t just about mentioning a cause and consequences that everyone can see, it digs deep and highlights some causal links we don’t notice easily. To do this, you need to pay attention to details. Frequent cause and effect essay writing sharpens this skill and it can only be beneficial for you, especially in the working environment
- Objective thinking – the goal is to report a causal link between two ideas or situations without letting your emotions interfere with the way you write. Being unbiased is a great skill to adopt as it only helps you seem more authoritative and responsible
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Areas of interest
Similarly to other forms of essay writing, a cause and effect paper can write about everything that happens in the world around us. Everything you see, read, witness, hear, or experience can be turned into a discussion and thus a cause and effect essay. Every action has its consequences. That means you have plenty of causes (actions) and effects (consequences) to write about. Here are common categories:
- World events
- Social issues
- Relationships and marriage
- Health and medicine
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Cause and effect essay outline
The quality of your cause and effect essay depends on the outline you follow. You can consider the outline as the spine of your essay. Just like the spine supports the body, the outline supports your paper and keeps you on the right track. We have a lot to say when writing an essay and it’s easy to get off topic. A strong outline doesn’t allow that to happen. Here’s an outline of a cause and effect essay:
- Introduction – sets the tone of the essay, catches reader’s attention, and creates a sound basis for the entire paper. It provides background information that introduces the topic and finishes with a thesis statement.
- Causes/effects – the central part of the essay and you can write it in many ways. You can mention causes or effects individually or causal links (causes + effects). The approach depends on the way you organize the paper or the causes and effects you wish to discuss.
- Conclusion – restates the topic and its importance, summarizes causes and effects discussed and calls for action while explaining what could happen if we don’t act on the matter.
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Make an outline
You should already know that without a good outline, creating a decent composition becomes difficult. These essays should be detailed and contain logical links between thesis statements and supporting points. Now, let’s get down to the point.
1. Many Causes, One effect
Here, it is imperative to show how many causes (C), mostly unrelated, can result in one effect (E). The structure of this essay looks like this:
- 3#C (you can add more)
For example, this structure will focus on a topic like, ‘Diarrhea caused by poor sanitation, diseases and poorly cooked food.’ The effects, on the other hand, can range from death and loss of weight to hospitalization.
2. One Cause, Many Effects
The second format of these essays is where you are required to analyze/explore one event, decision, or phenomena that caused something and the effects thereof. It takes the following format:
- 3#E (you can add more)
Here is a good topic example for this case: ‘Corruption is the cause of overborrowing by the government.’ Effects of this action/decision may include wage cuts, tax burdens and a high cost of living.
3. Chain of events
Another cause-effect essay format is where there are many events, decisions, and actions triggering something, and the results are also many. This can be a very interesting or difficult writing assignment because it heavily depends on strong logic and knowing many things at the same time. Here, the structure of your essay should look like this:
- E#1 leading to C#2
- E#2 leading to C#3
- E#3 leading to C#4 (you can add more).
Let’s take an example like, ’Most accidents are caused by drunk driving.’ The outcome of drunk driving is death, and this, can cause grief to relatives of the deceased. Another thing is that one: drunk drivers get fined or even arrested. The third effect is your car gets written off causing you to lose drivers license points.
Having to discuss some subjects in detail and mention its causes and effects may be overwhelming. Don’t worry; it’s perfectly natural to be concerned – it shows you care. Too much stress, though, is not a good thing. To minimize stress, you need to know all the tricks and tips that make the writing process easier, and here they are:
- Understand cause vs. effects – it is not uncommon for students to mix them up. Cause is the catalyst or the reason behind the occurrence of some event while effect is its consequence
- Research – regardless of the paper, research is a must. Investigate the subject from different angles, think outside the box, and collect information that you’ll use later
- Make meaningful links – you need to explain effects by making appropriate links to causes. Their relationship has to be solid and discussed thoroughly. Avoid discussing causes and effects that have a barely noticeable link
- Quality over quantity – avoid piling causes and effects one after another. Remember, you should provide deeper insight into their relationship and use evidence to support your claims. The quality of a cause-effect link beats quantity
- Choose the method – you can arrange causes and effects in chronological order, based on the importance, or categorize them. Choose the approach you find most logical
- Smooth transition – to avoid choppiness, use transition words that allow you to switch from one point to another seamlessly. Transition words for causes include: due to, because, first, since, etc. Words for causes include: consequently, thereby, hence, therefore, thus
- Remember the purpose – the goal of this essay is to inform the reader about causes and effects associated with some subject, it rarely (almost never) involves persuading someone to adopt your view
- Be unbiased – you may agree or disagree with someone, like or dislike, love or hate, but you should never show it in the paper. A cause and effect essay should be unbiased and objective
- Don’t exaggerate – for a stronger impact one might feel tempted to exaggerate the effects or causes, but you need to avoid doing that. Stick to the facts only
- Evidence – it’s not enough to write “this cause has this effect”, you need evidence to support everything you write. Use reputable journals, publications, and other respected sources during this process.
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Cause and Effect Essay Topics
Do you get to choose your own cause and effect essay topic? That’s wonderful! In many cases instructors allow students to write an essay based on a subject they choose themselves. Some students spend hours thinking about topics they could discuss, but you don’t have to do that.
Essay Topic Generator
Good Cause and Effect Essay Topics
Here are great ideas for you:
- Causes of voter apathy.
- What is the effect of divorce on children? Does the child’s age make any difference?
- Effects of abortion on a relationship.
- Causes behind US poverty.
- Causes of homelessness and its effects on society.
- Effects of increasing obesity rates in the US.
- Effects of stress on health.
- What are the effects of violent video games on a child’s cognition and behavior?
- Causes of addiction to exercise and its effects.
- College dropout rates have never been higher: causes and effects.
- Reasons why online shopping makes internet users spend more money.
- Positive and negative effects of technology on our lives.
- Effects of feminism on marriage.
- Causes and effects of air pollution.
- What was the effect of colonialism on Britain’s view of itself?
Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Relationships and family
- What causes people to cheat on their partners.
- Effects of living together before marriage.
- Long-term effects of growing up with a single parent.
- What is the effect of family vacations on family relationships?
- What are causes of destructive relationships between siblings?
Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Environment
- What is the most dangerous factor that affects world climate changes today?
- Has human curiosity had an overall positive or negative effect on the planet?
- What effect did human curiosity have in relation to our planet?
- What are the causes of environmental catastrophes?
- What could be the effects of global warming on the planet?
Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Social issues
- What impact does frequent violence (either from war or street violence) have on a community?
- What effect do social networks have on real life communication?
- What are the causes of poverty in megalopolises?
- How does a lack of freedom affect society?
- What are the effects of living in poor housing?
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Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Technology
- Effects of modern technological progress on children.
- What impact does the internet have on youth?
- What are the effects of using modern technology during class work?
- How technological development affects the state of nature?
- What are causes of technological advancements in Japan?
Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Education
- What are the causes and effects of changing a major in the middle of studies?
- What makes a person be an excellent student?
- The causes and effects of exam failure.
- The cause and effects of cheating on exams.
- What are the effects of student involvement in extracurricular activities?
Cause and Effect Essay Topics Ideas: Psychology
- Why has depression become one of the most widespread illnesses?
- What makes a person have a good mood?
- The effects of stress on students who both study and work.
- Why is good mental health no less important than physical well-being?
- What are causes and effects of having empathy?
Topic Ideas: Health
- How does a person’s diet affect his or her health?
- Causes and effects of vaccinations for teenagers.
- Effects of adults having smallpox.
- What are the effects of long-term smoking?
- What are the causes and effects of insomnia during exam week?
Topic Ideas: Food
- Cause and effects of eating seafood.
- Effects of a vegetarian diet.
- Why is it dangerous to eat in cheap fast food restaurants?
- Effects of eating genetically modified food.
- What are typical causes of a loss of appetite?
Topic Ideas: Sport
- How does a regular workout improves the productivity of a person?
- Causes and effects of skipping physical education lessons in school.
- What are the effects of doing sports professionally?
- Causes and effects of sport violence.
- What effect does doing extreme sports have?
Topic Ideas: Culture
- What is the reason for the popularity of movies based on comic books?
- How listening to favorite music affects a person?
- Why are summer music festivals so popular among youth?
- How free music downloading affects the artist.
- What are the long-term effects of video game addiction?
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Cause and effect essay writing doesn’t have to turn into a major struggle. You have the opportunity to make this process easy. How? It’s simple, thanks to an amazing breakthrough of technology and internet availability, students have access to multiple platforms and tools that simplify essay writing. Here are a few examples.
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