When preparing a cause-effect essay it’s all about the ability to write down the reasons why something might happen (the cause), followed by the consequences (the effects). The essay should be written in chronological order – most usually stating the cause first, followed by one or more effects. However, there are times when you might find it necessary to first discuss the effect or effects, and then trace them back to one or more possible causes. This is known as reverse chronological order.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline Sample
Although essay writing may seem a complicated and onerous task, by breaking it down into more digestible chunks, it’s possible to turn one large assignment into a list of smaller but easier undertakings. This applies as much to writing a cause and effect essay as to any other. So, we recommend to break down the large task into two smaller ones – the reasons, and the results of an event or situation.
Brainstorm to identify causes or effects of a phenomenon you want to discuss first. Such questions as “Why did it happen?” “What happened before or after this event?” “What are the results of it?” will definitely help you to draw a list of causes and effects from which you can choose what to discuss.
Answering these questions you’ll see that a single cause can have many effects or that one effect can be contributed to a number of causes. Therefore, you can choose from several strategies to use for your cause and effect essay.
Dependent on the topic, there are three accepted patterns, or organization, of writing cause – effect essay.
i) Multiple causes to an effect.
For example, you may be asked to discuss the various causes of the high dropout rate in college. This could be that many schools have no specific goals or plans in place, or that the dropout rate is higher amongst students from low income families or even that many students feel isolated on campus.
So – we have multiple causes which all lead to one effect – a high dropout college rate. Each of these causes should be discussed in an individual paragraph and supported by evidence and information.
ii) One cause to multiple effects.
For example, a college which has a poor retention rate leads to students leaving school with high debt, failing to get the career they require and the country loses out on having another qualified member of the workforce.
When writing your essay you can look at both the physiological, psychological effects on the person, or people and group them accordingly.
iii) Casual chain / or domino effect
This method is a little more complicated and involves looking at a chain of events. For example, let’s look at the beginning and end of a chain of events:
‘A high college dropout rate leads to higher burden on taxpayers.’
The higher the national welfare bill rises, the more individual taxes rise.
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If you are struggling for ideas on what to base your essay, here are some quality subjects to get you thinking in the right direction.
Another trait that is common in good essay writing is understanding the power of certain words usage to explain your cause. When writing an essay such as this, the following are strong transitional phrases and words that help get your point across:
Using these words and phrases such as these ensures that your information is presented in a logical and convincing manner, adding to the weight and credibility of your essay.
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