Students in history, English, or writing classes have probably come across an assignment that requires them to write a cause and effect essay. This type of essay explores the causes and effects of a particular event, action, or phenomenon. It is concerned with the reason why something happened and the result that came of it. The assignment is usually given to assess as well as help students develop the ability to assess situations, determine the cause and gain a deeper understanding of an event. Aside from being a complete assignment on their own, cause and effect writing can also feature as part a larger assignment. Despite the name and definition, students are sometimes required to write about the causes or the effects alone in one assignment. Nevertheless, cause and effect essays are of three different types:
Many causes – one effect
One cause – many effects
Chain of causes and effects
Don’t worry; we’ll look at these types in more details later as we discuss the structure of cause and effect essays. First, let’s begin with the important steps of writing a cause and effect essay.
This is a crucial step to writing a good cause and effect essay. It is also a tricky step for many students if the instructor did not specify a particular event, action or phenomenon. There are so many areas to explore while searching for suitable cause and effect topics. You can consider topics in relationships, technology, media, health and medicine, culture, societal problems, school, food, education, sport, history and world events, and many more. Below are some cause effect essay topics you could consider.
Topics on societal problems
What is the effect of domestic violence on children?
There are views that children growing up witnessing domestic violence incidences suffer negatively as a result. This topic which focuses the effect aspect of a cause and effect essay explores the various ways that domestic violence affects children.
What is the cause of xenophobia?
There have been reports of people in various states turning against others whom they consider foreigners. For this topic, you would talk about the reasons behind this dislike of foreigners despite many having acquired citizenship.
What is the effect of poverty on children?
This topic focuses on effects only. It explores the impact that poverty has on the lives of children. For this topic, you could look at how poverty impacts the social, psychological, physical, and mental well being.
What are the causes of violence against women?
For this topic, you look at the factors that drive perpetrators of violence against women to carry out such actions.
What is the cause of joblessness among the youth and what effect does this problem have?
This topic evaluates both the causes and effects. If you choose to write it, you could consider factors that are likely to render the youth jobless. Some factors such as recession, outsourcing, and lack of education have been fronted in an attempt to explain the phenomenon. These factors and the joblessness have also been linked to a number of evils. Do your research and come up with factors that promote joblessness and the effects on various aspects of the youths’ lives or society. You could explore the argument that joblessness promotes youth engagement in crime and raises their vulnerability to radicalization.
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Topics on environment
What is the effect of environmental pollution on human health?
Pollution, especially of air and water, has been linked to a number of health problems whose prevalence is rising. In this topic, your task would be to discuss the impact that environmental pollution has on humans, health-wise.
What are the causes of global warming and the effect on marine life?
Global temperatures are reported to be rising with worrying consequences such as rising levels of water in the oceans. Your essay could analyze the reasons behind the rising temperatures and impact it has on marine life.
What are the causes and effects of deforestation?
Large-scale destruction of forests has been thought to be a major reason behind the degradation of land, natural disasters such as floods and global warming. A cause-effect essay on the topic of deforestation could focus on the reasons behind the destruction and the impact it has. You could focus on a single effect or discuss several effects in your essay.
Topics on food, health, and medicine
Why is junk food popular and what is its effect on health
A substantial number of people frequent fast food establishments. Why is this so and how does this trend affect the health of those people?
What are the causes and effects of obesity in children?
This topic tackles both the causes and effects. It explores what leads to the phenomenon of childhood obesity and the effect they have on children whether health wise, socially, psychologically or on all of these aspects of children’s lives.
What is the effect of not completing antibiotic doses on the future treatment of bacterial infections?
There have been different schools of thought regarding the importance of completing the prescribed antibiotic dosage.
Effect of lack of quality sleep
Lack of sleep is thought to impact the health and performance of people. For this topic, discuss the effects it has on overall health, weight, and performance.
Topics on technology
Effect of smartphones on sleep quality
This topic focuses on how the smartphone has impacted the quality of sleep people get. It can focus on the positive aspects. For instance, you could talk about the smartphone apps that monitor sleep quality and discuss how they influence sleep.
Effect of mobile phone technology on the quality of human communication
There are arguments regarding the impact of the mobile phone on human communication. Some think that its use has degraded the quality of communication and human interaction despite making it easier to keep in touch.
Topics on history and world events
What gave rise to the great recession and what was its impact?
The 21st-century Great recession affected economies of countries worldwide; some more than others. Discuss the factors that might have led to it and its impact.
The cause and effects of the Rwandan genocide
In 1994, a mass slaughter of people, mainly from Tutsi community, took place. The genocide which is said to have been the brainchild of the political elite saw deaths of up to an estimated 1 million people. Your essay will explore the factors that led to the genocide and the impact that it had.
An analysis of the causes and effects of Arab Spring uprisings
The anti-government protests that took place in various countries including Egypt and Libya have had the effect of bringing down regimes. Discuss the most notable factors that led to these uprisings. In addition to the bringing down regimes. What other impacts have the uprisings had. For the impacts, you could explore impacts on economy, women, children, living standards, and so on.
What were the effects of the cold war?
After the World War II, tension existed between the Soviet Union and its war-time ally against the Nazi, the USA. This is the cold war that was characterized by various crises, among them weapons of mass destruction. This topic could focus on the effects that the war had on either or both of the powers.
What led to the demand and support for Brexit?
Britain started the process of withdrawing from the European Union in early 2017 after an earlier referendum in which over 51% of the British population supported the withdrawal. Your essay could explore the various reasons behind the call for Britain’s exit.
The causes and effects of the USSR collapse
Explore the factors that led to the collapse of the USSR and the effects that were observed as a result. You could focus on its effects on international relations, economies of any of the USSR members, and more than you can think of.
It is essential to note that when choosing a topic on history and world events, you need to make sure that there is enough information on it. Otherwise, if little research has been performed on the topic, and there’s little information on the effects or causes; you will have a problem writing a cause and effect essay of the required length. Remember too, that the essay can focus on a single effect or multiple effects.
These are just some of the possible topics you could base your cause-effect essay on. These are general ideas, and you could reword, expand, or narrow them down to suit the assignment requirements. There are so many more that you could pick. The various areas mentioned at the beginning of this section on topic selection to find more topic ideas for your cause and effect essay. The web also contains many more topic ideas so make use of it. However, there are a few things you should remember about picking a topic. One important thing has already been mentioned above, i.e., the availability of information. Other things to keep in mind as you select a topic include:
Be careful with overdone topics. Some topics are commonly picked by many students and thus picking such a topic could make you’re a cliché. Without great writing, it could also be boring. If you pick such a topic, think about what else you can add, e.g., if new research has been done on the topic and uncovered new information.
Does the topic interest you? Of course, this would not be up for discussion if your instructor specified a topic for you to write about. If you have the leeway t decide on a topic, think about one that you would enjoy writing about. If you are interested in environmental issues, a topic about the environment such as pollution could be a better pick for you so that your enthusiasm can be evident in the essay. This will also simplify your essay writing process.
Writing the essay
Once you have decided on the topic for your essay, it’s now time to get into the actual writing. You need to come up with a cause and effect essay outline that will guide your thoughts and ideas when you start drafting it. You also need to develop your thesis statement which will clearly tell the reader you’re your main idea is and whether you will be discussing the causes, effects, or both. You will need to brainstorm on the various points that you will include in the essay.
Proper research is indispensable when it comes to writing a good cause and effect essay. You will need to carry out research so that your points and ideas will have the necessary supporting details. These details can be organized chronologically, by order of importance, or according to the category.
When you are writing the essay, keep the ideas and details flowing with transitional phrases and words. As you write, remember your purpose for writing and focus on causes and effects that are closely related in time. If the relationship hasn’t been explicitly determined, qualify your statements with phrases like “it seems,” “it appears,” “it is likely,” “may indicate,” and “evidence suggests,” among others. Organize your writing into the recommended cause and effect essay format. Pay attention to your language too and express your own opinions logically.
The format of a cause and effect essay
A cause-effect essay should have:
You shouldn’t dive into discussing the causes without first giving your reader an idea of what the essay will discuss. That is the purpose of the introduction section. Remember to give a brief background of the topic and then write your thesis statement.
Many causes – one effect essay
If you are writing a many causes – one effect essay, you should present the all the causes first before getting into the effect. Discuss each cause in its own paragraph; presenting the details and supporting evidence. Include examples and numbers too. For each of the cause paragraphs:
State the cause, e.g., “one of the major cause of joblessness among the youth is the lack of alignment between the education provided and the skill set needed by the organizations expected to employ them.”
Next, provide the supporting evidence and explain it with a few facts such as accurate statistics. E.g. “60% of the organizations interviewed in the research study said that they had trouble finding qualified youth to employ. They said that 90% of the youth they hired had to be trained before being trusted with the responsibilities of the job. This indicates that the youth are not adequately skilled for the roles in organizations.”
Once you’ve exhausted the causes, discuss the effect these causes have in its own paragraph. This will be the effect paragraph. For this paragraph, clearly, state the effect. Explain the effect in detail.
The outline for this section would be
Cause #3 (and so forth…)
The effect of the causes
One cause – many effects
For this type of essay, the body section would begin by presenting the cause. The cause will be written following the structure described above for the causes paragraphs, i.e., state the cause and support it with evidence and examples. This will then be followed by the effect paragraphs as follows:
Effect #3 (and so on…)
For each effect paragraph, begin by stating the effect you are discussing. Next, provide a detailed explanation using appropriate transitional words.
Chain of causes and effects
Perhaps the most challenging type to write, a chain of logic has to be maintained. Each paragraph will discuss the cause and the effect. The paragraphs begin by stating the cause and effect followed by a detailed explanation of the link. Keep the chain in mind. E.g., the rising atmospheric temperature causes a change in ocean water level and density, which alters the chemical balance in the ocean, which affects the growth of algae and plants, which in turn causes poor food supply for the fish and other marine animals. The structure typically follows the outline below.
Effect #1 = Cause #2
Effect #2 = Cause #3
Effect #3 = Cause #4 (and so on…)
Once you are done with the body, the next section is the conclusion.
For the conclusion, restate the thesis statement, present the practicality of your conclusion, your hopes, and finally, a call to action.
Redraft, proofread and edit
After you are done writing, go through your essay while on the lookout for problems about the organization, the omission of important details, spelling and grammar mistakes, compliance with formatting requirements, proper citation, and adherence to title page requirements. Edit the essay as necessary to produce a flawless final draft.
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