Here’s a Detailed Recap of How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay like your Prof Instructed

29 April 2020

When the term cause and effect comes up, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Most probably, it’s a recent assignment that your professor issued. For me, it’s the principle of causation. Do you remember what that is? Well, it doesn’t matter, at least in this context.

What matters here is whether you can write a cause and effect essay proficiently. Can you follow the typical structure of a cause and effect paper when completing your assignment? 

This guide is for you. It’s here to give you a refresher on how to go about this type of writing. There’s also a lot of helpful resources you can access, including cause and effect essay examples. If you’re ready for that crash course, you better hop on. The wagon’s about to leave the station.


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So, What Is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay is a paper that you can use to examine a situation and also explore its causes and effects.

Now that you know the cause and effect definition, follow this to help write a great essay:

1. Prepare Yourself to Write

a) Go Through the Instructions

If your instructor dictates the instructions in class, then ensure you write them down. That way, you have somewhere to refer from when writing your cause and effect paper. If you have an instructions sheet, then read it carefully while noting down any questions you have. The crucial details at this point are the formatting requirements and assignment length.

You should also ensure you understand whether your lecturer needs you to write about the causes, effects, or both. Not all essays cover both hence making it vital to seek clarification.

b) Broaden or Narrow Down the Topic

If you are to choose the topic, then you must brainstorm to get some ideas. Therefore, write some cause and effect essay topics that come to mind. Now go through all and pick the best five, considering how much information you can get on each item. That way, you come up with the best topic that you can write comfortably about and reach the right essay size.

When looking for a suitable topic to write on, remember to do the following:

  • Double-check to ensure the idea revolves around the subject
  • Consider writing about things to which you can relate. For example, you can write about a certain huge war period that you and your parents lived through. You can also pick a conversational topic for your cause and effect paper like the effects of eating fast foods daily.
  • Discussing the American revolution with a historical angle is a great approach
  • Be flexible and adjust your topic depth or breadth when writing your paper. That way, you can add or delete some information, so the essay follows all requirements.

c) Go Through All the Texts the Lecturer Says

If the professor gave you books and articles to refer to, then make sure you read them as soon as you can. Doing this will help you to narrow down the topic, get the best idea, and even understand it better.

d) Do Some Background Research

You must look for some articles and books to help you explore the topic. The best approach is to use those that talk about the topic from different perspectives. That way, you can read everything you can then narrow down as you find some useful information.

Also, remember to take notes when conducting your research. Doing that enables you to have proper references hence avoid any plagiarism. During your research, use primary sources of information. Doing this helps your essay to be of quality since you got the information from trusted sources.

e) Ask Questions

When still preparing to write the cause and effect paper, you must approach the professor with questions if you have any. It’s always advisable you write the questions down beforehand. Doing this helps to be ready with everything you need before approaching the lecturer.

Also, try asking students who might’ve discussed it with the professor about the topic. That way, you can be sure if they have any answers you need and whether you still need the teacher.

Asking questions also helps you get clarity on details that the instructor maybe forgot to provide, such as the number of sources. So, approaching the teacher will help you be sure of precisely what to do, thus enabling you to score higher marks.


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2. Write the Initial Essay

a) Develop the Cause and Effect Thesis Statement

After researching and going through notes, you should create a thesis statement that’ll guide your entire paper. The message in your thesis is what you will be trying to prove when writing the essay. Remember to make sure your thesis is debatable, and you back it up with some evidence.

A thesis statement can be one or even multiple sentences depending on the topic. However, your thesis statement should not be a question, a fact, or a quote.

When trying to craft the most suitable thesis, consider what the evidence indicates about the topic. For example, if most sources say that stock market problems affect the Great depression, then argue that the “Stock market plays a big part in the Great Depression.”

b) Create A Cause and Effect Essay Outline

Try and identify three significant ideas or themes that can help to support the central thesis. These ideas usually become another body section of the cause and effect paper. Having big ideas allows you to place other minor ones to help ensure proper flow.

If instructions say the essay should have five paragraphs, then ensure you have about three ideas. However, sometimes you might find that you have more ideas you feel can help make your essay stronger. In such a time is when it becomes crucial to confirm from the teacher if you can include more paragraphs. 

If the professor refuses, then sticking with the instructions is the best thing to do to avoid penalties. Also, when making your cause and effect essay outline, be flexible, and create room for edits as you write.

c) Write A Compelling Introduction

The introduction will be the first paragraph of your essay. This paragraph is what determines if the lecturer will read the entire paper. Therefore, introduce the topic excellently to help grab the professor’s attention.

Also, the introduction must present your cause and effect thesis statement to the reader, mostly in the last sentence. Since you’re writing a cause and effect paper, you must make it clear whether your essay will be about the causes, effects, or both.

One of the best ways to grab the reader’s attention is by starting the introduction with a vivid quote. Remember to make the opening section the shortest paragraph in the whole paper.

There are so many causes and effect essay examples that you can look at online. However, check if these examples are from professional writers. That way, you can see how they craft their introductions, thus giving you an idea of how to write yours.

d) Write the Body Paragraphs

This stage is where you use the outline. You must make sure every argument in the framework has its paragraph. If you’re writing about the causes and effects, then explain both efficiently. Therefore, you must explain to the reader how a particular cause brings specific implications.

The essay should also emphasize your cause and effect timeline. What this means is that you must prove to the reader that a particular cause happens before the effect. That way, you avoid causes and effects from intertwining and ruining the details you’re explaining.

For example, if you write that the Great depression plays a massive role in unemployment, then provide statistics to prove that. After all, unemployment has always been there. So, the relationship between the cause and effect should be your primary focus to help make the points stand.

One major tip that you can use when writing body paragraphs is developing and presenting pairings of evidence and summary throughout. Doing that helps to avoid your essay from being too vague and affecting your grade.

e) Acknowledge or Rule Out Some Explanations

You must convince the readers that you know there are other approaches or arguments about the topic. You shouldn’t over-promise or overreach when describing the cause and effect relationship. Instead, utilize the evidence to show that even if other causes and effects exist, those on your paper are the most crucial ones.

For example, if the topic is about the major causes of the Great Depression, then you must discuss both the income gap and the stock market. However, you can also focus on the relationship between the Great Depression and the stock market. If you choose the second approach, then show the reader that you’ve chosen this focus and also acknowledge other arguments.

3. Craft the Conclusion

The primary purpose of the conclusion is, to sum up, the primary supporting points and thesis statement. However, make sure your ending is brief and almost the same size as the introduction. You can make the conclusion better by indicating that your findings might change in the future if some things alter in any way. If you want to see how to craft your conclusion better, look at some cause and effect essay examples online and see how experts do it.

4. Polish the Final Draft

At this stage, the cause and effect paper you have is just a draft that you still need to polish up. So, after crafting the first draft, it’s advisable you first take some time off before editing. If you are not under a stringent deadline, then take about a day or even two without looking at the cause and effect paper.

Taking this time off is great as it allows you to come back feeling fresh. That way, you see errors that you wouldn’t have two days ago.

This off time is also another reason why you shouldn’t procrastinate to write a cause and effect essay. You need more than enough time if you want to write a high-quality paper that your professor will find irresistible, and win you a higher grade.

Considering the following will help to polish your essay more effectively.

  • Do you have enough evidence supporting your cause and effect points?
  • Does the entire paper show your stand starting from the thesis statement?
  • Does your cause and effect paper have a good flow from paragraph to paragraph?
  • Is your essay focusing on the causes and effects or both?

Is your conclusion brief, and does it show the importance of your points and acknowledge that there are other arguments?

Proofread your Cause and Effect Essay

You need to go through the cause and effect paper again and see if you find some paragraphs that don’t have proper flow. You might decide to move them around or even get rid of them and write new ones if need be. You can also look if any paragraphs need more evidence to help them stand out.

Something else to check is your cause and effect diagram. If your lecturer asked you to include a cause and effect diagram, then ensure your research to help you do it right and get good points.

Reading your essay aloud can also help you catch more errors that you might not when reading to yourself since you can hear all the phrases. Proofread the article several times to ensure your paper follows every instruction to avoid any penalties.

To increase the chances of catching all the errors, find a quiet place to sit. Doing that will help you focus since there are no distractions, thus enabling you to be more productive.

Involve Someone Else to Proofread and Edit Your Work

If you want to deliver a great paper, consider asking your friend to take some time and read it on your behalf. That way, he can help you to identify any weird phrases or confusing words. Your cause and effect essay should be simple and contain easy to understand words that will help you score higher marks.

It is a good idea that you be present when your friend is reading the essay aloud. By doing this, your friend will tell you where it is hard to understand the content, and what you should change to improve the flow.

After your friend has gone through the essay, you can submit it if you’re confident with the final copy or proofread it for the last time.


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Crucial points and tips to remember when writing a cause and effect essay.

  1. You should show high confidence in your position in the thesis statement. Showing self-doubt can make the reader not even to read the entire article
  2. Having lots of evidence and unique cause and effect essay topics helps to strengthen your essay
  3. Make sure every paragraph talks about one point
  4. Print out the cause and effect paper before revising. Doing that enables you to avoid any inconveniences in case your computer starts issues
  5. Remember to split the revision process into two parts - One for checking grammar and spelling and the other for examining the structure
  6. Always start with the cause then write the effect

In this article, are some of the best tips that you can use to help you write a great essay. This article also includes significant steps that you should follow to ensure you don’t miss anything that can make you lose some marks in your final exams. Therefore, make sure you follow all the guidelines in this article carefully, including writing a great cause and effect definition, and also conduct more research. That way, you will understand these tips better, thus allowing you to ensure your paper is better.

Need Assignment Help Writing a Cause and Effect Essay?

Quick question. Can you now analyze a situation and explain its cause and effects on a well-structured academic essay? That’s great. We’re glad to have helped. 

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