Fall 2008*Writing Cause and Effect EssaysCristina Maldonado for the Writing Center
Roxbury Community College
*Fall 2008What is a Cause and Effect Essay?A Cause and Effect Essay provides reasons and explanations for events, conditions, or behaviors. It involves tracing probable or known effects of a certain cause or examining one or more effects and discussing the reasonable or known cause(s).
*Fall 2008Understanding the AssignmentCause and Effect Essay assignments typically use the following language:"What are the causes of X?" "What led to X?""Why did X occur?""Why does X happen?""What would be the effects of X?"Writing Essay Exams. The OWL at Purdue. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Example:Define recession and discuss the probable effects a recession would have on American society.Writing Essay Exams. The OWL at Purdue. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Essay CharacteristicsPresentation of the event or issue. The reader must first understand that a problem or issue exists. This explanation is key to your analysis.The use of strong, assertive language that shows neither negativity nor bias.The use of factual evidence to show the cause and effect relationship.Jordan-Henley, Jennifer. A Brief Guide to Writing Cause and Effect Essays. The RSCC Online Writing Lab. Roane State Community College. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Presentation of the IssueIt is important for your reader to understand why the issue exists. An explanation of the issue in combination with a cause/effect analysis will allow the reader to understand your point of view. Jordan-Henley, Jennifer. A Brief Guide to Writing Cause and Effect Essays. The RSCC Online Writing Lab. Roane State Community College. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Use Fact-Based Evidence to Support ClaimsUse the RCC Library website to search the research databases to locate dataSearch the internet for published studies and credible organizationsFor more information about library research, please see a Writing Center tutor or visit the RCC library weblink at this address: http://www.rcc.mass.edu/lib/ and go to tutorials for doing research.
*Fall 2008Avoid Negative Statements and BiasAvoid biased statements or make negative statements to the readerThe American public is too blind to see that the death penalty is wrong. Voter ignorance is one contributing factor that allows policies like the death penalty to come into law.More death penalty education is needed to provide the voting public with the information they need to make informed decisions.
*Fall 2008Use the 3rd PersonI believe that the death penalty is wrong because it is a state sanctioned form of murder.The death penalty is wrong because it is a state sanctioned form of murder.The removal of the I believe that makes the sentence more forceful. The purpose of a cause and effect paper is to be as convincing as possible and to convince readers to accept the cause and effect as plausible.
*Fall 2008BrainstormingComplete some initial brainstorming to determine cause and effect relationships for your topic.As stated earlier, conduct research to find factual information.Determine if any of your cause/effect relationships are faulty. Your conclusions are faulty if the cause-and-effect relationship does not exist, if it is unreasonable, or not clearly established.
*Fall 2008Causal RelationshipsThe Cause and Effect Essay. Mount Hebron High School. 27 May 2008 .
Necessary CauseOne that must be present for the effect to occur. Combustion is necessary to drive a gasoline engine.Sufficient CauseOne that can produce an effect unaided, though there may be more than one sufficient cause of a given effect.A dead battery is enough to keep a car from starting, but faulty spark plugs or an empty gas tank will have the same effect.Contributory CauseOne that helps to produce an effect but cannot do so by itself.Running a red light might help to cause an accident- although other factors such as pedestrians and other cars- must also be present.
*Fall 2008Important Questions to AskHave I assumed only one cause when many causes may be appropriate?Have I incorrectly assumed a causal relationship between two events that immediately follow each other?Did I distinguish between long-term and short-term causes and effects. A short-term cause or effect is a single, immediately identifiable event; a long-term cause or effect may be less easy to pinpoint but in the long run more important?Did I distinguish between primary (most important) and secondary (ancillary) effects?
The Cause and Effect Essay. Mount Hebron High School. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Creating a Thesis StatementOnce you have ensured that your cause and effect relationships are not faulty, put together your Thesis Statement.A recession, which is a nationwide lull in business activity, would be detrimental to American society in the following ways: it would A, it would B and it would C.
*Fall 2008Transitional WordsBecauseConsequently,Therefore,For this reasonAs a resultWriting Essay Exams. The OWL at Purdue. 27 May 2008 .
*Fall 2008Points to RememberExplain the issue, avoid negativity and bias, and use the 3rd person voice to make your assertions.Perform a causal relationship analysismake sure your cause and effect relationships are valid before you start writing.Transitional words will help pinpoint the similarities and differences for the reader be sure to use them.
*Fall 2008Last thought: Beware of the FallacyDont fall into the trap of making a fallacious (incorrect and inaccurate) argument! Read about the fallacies and make sure that you know how to find them in your own writing.
Go to the following website to read about fallacies: www.unc.edu/depts/weweb/handouts/fallacies