How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay in Anthropology: From A to Z

Writing guide
Posted on September 17, 2019

What is a Cause and Effect Essay in Anthropology?

Cause and effect essays always concern the connection between two concepts, phenomena or events. Any phenomenon that influenced the later events or was caused by several reasons, which took place in the past, is important. In such a way, during the process of writing the cause and effect essay, one can concentrate either on the cause or the effect. Therefore, these essays are divided into two groups, first of which concentrates on one or numerous causes that led to a single event, and the other group concerns a single cause that influenced one or more events. Such kind of essays is common in Anthropology, a field of study, in which questions ‘why did something happen?’ or ‘what was the impact of something?’ are popular. In general, cause and effect essays in Anthropology are similar to such essays in other sciences because they also consist of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, the main difference is the fact that their topic concerns Anthropology, a branch of science that studies human nature, behavior, culture, and societies.

Choosing a Topic for Cause and Effect Essay in Anthropology

To choose a topic for a cause and effect Essay in Anthropology, one should follow the next set of recommendations. First of all, it is important to choose a general theme. For instance, one may find it interesting to study the issue of religion. In this case, one should write the topic on a sheet of paper, and then start to brainstorm the ideas. At this stage, it is necessary to write down everything that is interesting and relates to the concept of religion. For instance, these concepts may be crusades, pagan rituals, mythology, peculiarities of particular religions, similarities of the religions, origins of a religion, or metaphorical explanations of natural phenomena.

After all of the ideas are written down, it is necessary to choose those that are connected and together create one interrelated topic. In the example above, similarities of the religions and metaphorical explanations of natural phenomena seem to be related. After that, it is possible to search for the necessary information and the sources. One of the examples of the information that can be found on the topics above is the common theme of dying and rising deity. Such topic is common among the societies that depended on agriculture because, according to their mythologies, such gods as Osiris, Dionis, Baldr, and Persephone died literally or symbolically, and this was associated with the yearly cycle of vegetation.
For a better understanding of how to choose the topic for a cause and effect Essay in Anthropology, below are the other examples of the topics.

The Influence of Climate on Culture
This topic was explained above, but the essay on it can be written in a number of different ways. For instance, it is possible to consider climate as a single cause, which has influenced people’s clothes and/or a number of different aspects of their life.

How War Affects Society
Another interesting topic for an essay may investigate the phenomenon of war and its consequences for society. In this essay, the concept of war will be a single cause, and its influence on society, such as increased level of patriotism, which is a necessary part of war-time propaganda, will be analyzed.

Roman Cultural Elements Borrowed from Ancient Greece
This topic is interesting because it concerns the international relations of ancient times, due to which some of the elements of alien cultures were borrowed. On the example of international relations of Ancient Greece and Rome, it is possible to study other cases in history when war, trade, or neighbourship influenced cultural exchange and, as a result, development of a state or a civilization. Thus, it is a universal topic, and it can be utilized as an example for writing essays on similar cases, which were common in history.

Influence of Greek Mythology on the Art of Renaissance
This one can also be an interesting and productive topic to work in such an essay.

The History of Cargo Cult
The topic that would concern the history of the cargo cult is important for Anthropology because Cargo Cult is the example of one of the versions of the emergence of religion. However, it also does not suit the format of cause and effect essay. Instead of the name ‘The History of Cargo Cult,’ it is advised to use ‘How Cargo Cult Appeared’ because, in such a way, it is clear that the process of creation of a cult will be described in this essay with the explanation of the reasons for the veneration of cargo and other peculiarities.

The Influence of Writing Materials and Instruments on the Alphabet
This topic will concern the problem of the letters of different alphabets and the causes for their current design. For instance, Scandinavian runes were straight because they were cut on wood.
The Influence of Environment on Culture
Such a topic as ‘The Influence of Environment on Culture’ may concern the reasons for the emergence of such taboos as eating pork among Muslim people, who had historical reasons for this ban. Another example of such influence can be greeting gestures, such as waving or taking off the hat, which were popular during the age when a single handshake could result in infection with plague or cholera.

Pre-Writing Tips and Strategies

After the process of topic selection, it is crucial to find relevant sources to support the assumptions in the essay with facts and references. It is also important to remember that each piece of information that was read, heard, or seen in any kind of source should be properly cited. Even if the information is paraphrased, the thought is considered to be stolen from the original author. Therefore, it is necessary to find the sources and to systematize them in any convenient way before writing the first draft.

When all the required information is collected, it is important to write the outline of the paper that will make the further process of writing easier and more effective. The thing is that the outline helps to estimate the approximate amount of space that would be used for each of the paragraphs and other parts of the essay. Moreover, while writing the first body paragraph, the author of the essay will not be distracted from the writing goal because the outline helps to keep in mind what will be next.

When the outline is ready, the writer can start working with the first draft. At this stage, it is necessary to make sure that you stick to the outline of the essay. The fact is that even the slightest deviation from the plan may result in the distraction from the main idea. In such a way, the essay may not be coherent. Moreover, it is also important to divide the word count between different parts of the essay. It is advised that the introduction, as well as conclusion, should be approximately ten percent of the total word count. Thus, another eighty percent should be divided equally among the body paragraphs. This approach, at first glance, looks problematic, but in reality, it helps to keep the writing under control and makes it a much easier process.

General Structure of a Cause and Effect Essay

One of the issues concerning a cause and effect essay is the choice between the block and chain structure. In fact, it does not matter which one to choose, but it is important to organize a cause and effect essay using one of them because, in another case, the text will be incomprehensible. Block or chain structure illustrates a method of organization of body paragraphs. If the block structure is used in the essay, the author writes about the cause or causes in the first place, and then, in the second part of the body of the essay, he or she writes all the effects. Different parts of the essay are usually connected by a transition sentence or a transition paragraph. Another option is to write according to the chain structure. Such organization presumes the description of the first cause together with the first effect, and then the second cause with the second effect is described in the next paragraph. In such a way, the number of body paragraphs of the essay will be equal to the number of causes and effects.

One of the features of a cause and effect essay that is common to the other types is that it also has to contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. To be specific, these parts consist of smaller ones, for instance, it is important to begin the introduction with the hook sentence. Such a sentence is designed to grasp the attention of the reader and to make him or her interested in the essay. After that, there should be some background information about the subject. The most important is the last sentence of the introduction, which is the thesis statement. In this sentence, the writer has to tell briefly what the essay is about. Thus, the thesis statement is a single sentence that expresses the main idea of the essay, as well as contains concepts or subtopics that will be further explained in body paragraphs. The order of the words or phrases, which stand for the concepts, in thesis statement has to correlate with the order of the body paragraphs. In such a way, a thesis statement of a cause and effect essay will try to prove that A resulted in B, C, and D. Therefore, the first body paragraph will be about the correlation between A and B, second one about A and C, and the third about A and D. However, this structure can be slightly changed if the essay is concentrated on the effect rather than the cause. In this case, the thesis statement will try to prove that A, B, and C resulted in or influenced D.

After the body paragraphs are written, there needs to be a conclusion. The first sentence of the conclusion is the restatement of the thesis statement. After that, the ideas from the body paragraphs should be briefly summarized. It is also important to mention that unlike the introduction, which is general, the conclusion has to be specific. Finally, the last sentence is often an effective sentence that gives advice, calls to action, tells about the need for further research, or sets the discussion into a larger context.

Post-Writing Tips and Recommendations

After finishing writing the essay, one has to rest for some time. The thing is that proofreading the paper at once is ineffective because it takes some time to distance oneself from the results of hard work. After the time has passed, it is necessary to edit the essay attentively. First of all, it is important to check if all the requirements are implemented. After the writer makes sure that all the instructions were followed and the major faults, such as structure, style, and tone are revised, then it is necessary to check grammar, punctuation, and referencing. There is also an option to give an essay to an alpha-reader, who may be a friend, a relative, a family member, or a groupmate. Other people always notice mistakes, which were overlooked by the writer. After all of the steps mentioned above are completed, the essay is done and can be handed in.

“Anthropology: Research Topic Ideas”. Frances Wilson Thompson Library, 2019,
“Cause & Effect Essays”. EAP Foundation, 2019,
“Ending The Essay: Conclusions”. Harvard Writing Center, 2019,
The University of Illinois. “Writing Tips: Thesis Statements”. Center For Writing Studies, 2019,
“Write An Introduction”. University Of Leeds Library, 2019,

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