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How to Write the Cause and Effect Essay

August 26, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips

Content cause   effect

Nothing Occurs in a Vacuum

Almost anything we do or anything that happens has a cause; and almost anything we do and almost anything that happens has an effect. So, if you are tired today, it has been caused by not enough sleep; and not having enough sleep may cause you to be irritable. That irritability will cause you to argue with a friend, and the effect will be that your friend becomes angry. And so it goes, on and on. Now, you probably don’t want to write an entire essay on this topic, but you will certainly get essays assignments that are of this type.

The Steps in Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

  1. The Topic: Of course the topic of your essay will depend upon the course for which the assignment has been made. And you can expect the possibility of this type of essay in almost any course you take. In sociology. For example, you may be given a general topic of crime for a cause and effect essay. Within that broad area, you will then need to select a smaller sub-category for your essay. Sociologists write books on causes and effects of crime and you only need to write an essay, so refine your topic carefully.

Suppose you have decided to look at three causes of crime – poverty, mental illness and greed. Now, you must still refine further. Each of these three causes will be an appropriate one for an essay, so you must select one. Suppose you select greed. Now, what types of crime result from greed? Theft?  Embezzlement? Murder? The answer is “yes” to all of these. So, pick one result, or effect, and you will have your topic.

So, you have decided to refine your topic as this: Greed as a cause of white collar crime. Now you have a manageable topic.

  1. The Research:  If you are writing a standard essay with 3 body paragraphs or sections, then select three types of white collar crime caused by greed – embezzlement, fraud, and murder. Your essay will need to define each of these three crimes, and your research may then lean toward contemporary high-profile examples of each.
  2. The Organization: Your topic has really set up the organization of your essay very easily, and you will find that this is true with most cause and effect essays, as long as you can refine the topic well. Each of your paragraphs will define the type of crime and then give the example you have selected. You do not even need an outline here – just a simple listing.
  3. The Writing: Write your body paragraphs first. Why? Because this gives you time to contemplate the entire concept of greed as a motivator (cause) for crime. And that reflection will be the stuff of which your introduction will be composed.

Adding the Introduction: You may want to begin your essay with a startling statistic from your research. Over the past two decades, what has been the cost, in dollars, of embezzlement and fraud? The figure will come from your research and will be stunning. The remainder of your introduction will introduce the topic and your thesis – that greed is the prime motivator or cause for white collar criminals to commit embezzlement, fraud, and even murder.

Adding the Conclusion: While you are generally not supposed to add any new information in a conclusion, this type of essay lends itself to a statement about the effects of these crimes becoming the causes of pain for the victims – loss of savings; loss of lifestyles; even loss of life.

  1. The Revising: Once your rough draft is finished, you know “the drill.” You will need to edit and revise, so that your final draft flows logically with good transitions and is free from structural and grammatical errors.

Good Cause/Effect Essays Take Time

You do not simply throw a cause/effect essay together. Refining the topic and doing the research itself cannot be accomplished in just a few hours, not to mention the actual writing. Give yourself plenty of time, and get help when you need it.

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