Guide on How to Write a Cause & Effect Essay: It Is Easier Than You Think!

Writing guide
Posted on February 8, 2019

A Cause and Effect Essay and Its Structure

The cause and effect essays are popular tasks that require accurate analysis of the issue and finding the significant interconnection between reasons and the results. This kind of essay can be used to investigate various topics including nursing, business studies, environmental studies, marketing, and management. The essay is special due to the structure, significant aspects that should be included, the style of writing, and the variety of tips on how to simplify the task completing. The essay often answers questions that start with the words “How?” and “Why?” regarding different issues and processes in different spheres of human lives. In general, the purpose of such essay is to analyze and represent interconnections between origins of the phenomena or process and its particular results that influence the surrounding environment.

Cause and effect essay is traditionally divided into several parts that explore numerous issues. The first part refers to the definition of the specific issue causes that shape formation of the situation. In these sections, the student has to make a detailed analysis of the problem and identify fundamental reasons for the problem emergence. Moreover, the essay should include an accurate description of these causes and all additional factors that shape the studied issue.

The second part is the investigation of the issue itself in order to understand what place it has in the particular sphere. The student has to describe the object or the question defining all its elements, problems, or purposes. In fact, this stage is specific preparation for the analysis of effects that are separated into the next step. The part of Effects includes all impacts of the problem or particular issue on the environment or other determined aspects. Generally speaking, in this section the student is trying to establish interconnections between causes, the issue, and its effects. Such links can be direct or indirect, and the effect can also be immediate or long-lasting.

Hence, the essay is aimed at the investigation of logical interconnections between the causes and effects of a particular issue. This essay is based on the complexity of the studied aspect that allows its detailed study.

How to Choose a Topic for the Essay?

Choosing of a topic for cause and effect essay is the first and one of the most important stages. In fact, in the majority of cases, a topic or several variants to choose from are offered by a professor. Such task aims at checking knowledge of a student regarding a specific topic or subject. However, a student can also be allowed to choose the issue by himself or herself.
Several cause and effect essay tips can be useful in the process of choosing the appropriate topic:

  • Analyze the course and all the aspects that you were studying during the semester. If you were notified that you would have to write a cause and effect essay, make notes during the course about the issues that are the most interesting for you to explore. As follows, choose the question that is interesting to analyze from the cause and effect point of view.
  • In order to simplify the process of choosing, write a list of interesting topics. Such activity will provide you with a visual understanding of the number of questions you are interested in. Then decide what sources of information you can use and analyze if the topics you have chosen are supplied with such materials. As a result, select the issue that is the most interesting to you, and that is supported with the appropriate amount of information.
  • Narrow the issue. Make the problem more specific and narrow it down in order to make your study unique and accurate. This activity will provide you with the ability to mark the most critical aspects of the issue and avoid unnecessary work.

These tips can be considered as a practical scheme of choosing a topic for the essay that can be implemented by any student. Such steps will provide you with all appropriate conditions that will show you correctly which issue is the most exciting and comfortable for you to write a cause and effect essay about.

Examples of possible topics for cause and effect essay:

  • Causes of Global Warming;
  • Position of the Feminist Movement in Modern Society;
  • Causes of the Obesity Problem;
  • Parents Role in the Formation of Children’s Behavioral Patterns;
  • The Role of Unemployment Rate in the Problem of Homelessness;
  • Modern Immigration Policy of the United States;
  • Impact of Globalization Processes on International Trade;
  • Problem of Language Barrier for Minorities in the U.S.;
  • Causes and Effects of WWII;
  • Increasing Traffic-Related Air Pollution as an Effect of Urbanization.

Pre-writing Tips

Several pre-writing tips can make the writing of the essay more simple and effective.
The technique of brainstorming is considered to be extremely useful while creating ideas for the cause and effect essay writing. The direct method is connected with writing all thoughts regarding the issue to explore on the shit of paper. These ideas may be different and connected with causes, effects or links between those. The brainstorming can help to activate your brain and tackle all thoughts that can be useful for writing the essay on the chosen topic. In addition, this activity is helpful to define your personal opinion because it can be formed on the basis of all the ideas you will write.
This technique is quite similar to the brainstorming, but the last point is connected with writing only particular ideas, phrases or sentences. Freewriting includes writing the full text with complete sentences and developed ideas. However, you should be relaxed and write without any tension or mess. Just try to represent all your thoughts regarding the issue on the shit of paper, include your feelings or fairs about the future essay. As a result, you will deal with stress in such a way and develop interesting ideas that will be helpful in the writing of a cause and effect essay complete variant.
Question Asking
The method of question asking is also a great way to create writing that is useful in the development of the outline for a cause and effect essay. This technique refers to writing a list of questions that you want to answer in your essay or that you are interested in. Start from the most general questions and then make them more narrow and specified. These questions can be connected with the full issue or with its separate parts.

Outline of a Cause and Effect Essay

Having chosen the topic for the essay, a student needs to create an outline and in such a way to form the scheme of the essay content. An outline should be appropriately organized due to the traditional structure of an academic essay. After all pre-writing activities, you will have a wide range of ideas that should be grouped into specific sectors.
The following is the example of a cause and effect essay outline:

  • I. Introduction:
    1. General information about the analyzed issue;
    2. The thesis statement at the end of the paragraph.
  • II. Body part:
    1. First body paragraph:
      • a. The first main idea of the essay;
      • b. Supporting arguments;
      • c. Conclusion.
    2. Second body paragraph:
      • a. The second main idea of the essay;
      • b. Supporting arguments;
      • c. Conclusion.
    3. Third body paragraph:
      • a. The third main idea of the essay;
      • b. Supporting arguments;
      • c. Conclusion.
  • III. Conclusion:
    1. Restate the thesis statement;
    2. Summarize all ideas represented in the essay.

Notice that the number of the body paragraphs can be changed depending on the variety of ideas you want to consider in the essay. The outline is used to group all ideas into sectors and in such a way to make it more simple for the reader to realize and perceive. However, the critical aspect to emphasize is that all body ideas should be connected through the thesis statement and in the conclusion part as well.

Writing an outline is a beneficial activity because it allows you to visualize the structure of the essay and understand all strong and weak points. You will see where the insufficiency of arguments is or in what order ideas should be represented. In addition, a well-developed outline will show if you answer all the questions or if it is necessary to add information to make the essay more completed. Notice that outline is aimed at simplification of the process, but it is not obligatory to follow this plan. It can be changed at any stage of the cause and effect essay writing.

Structure of a Cause and Effect Essay and Its Main Components

The title of a cause and effect essay should suit the format of the paper that is required by your professor. At the same time, the title should summarize the content of the whole essay in one phrase or collocation. There are several tips on how to improve the title of the essay:

  • Make it simple to understand and available to catch the attention of the reader.
  • Use appropriate words for the official academic language.
  • Avoid use of idioms and abbreviations.
  • Try to choose the phrase that can represent any separate part of the essay.

Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a sentence that represents the general idea of the whole cause and effect essay. It should include the main causes and effects marked or one general idea you are going to prove or contradict in your essay. The thesis statement should be located at the end of the first introductory paragraph, and it should be indicated by a particular transitional word. The thesis statement should be specific and accurate representing a defined thought. In addition, it should not be too general; try to introduce all ideas specifically. The thesis statement should be clear and should not include paraphrasing and plagiarism.

Wrong: There are advantages and disadvantages of new legislation implementation.
Right: Although the new legislation has a lot of problems, it provides stricter control and the system of penalties.
Body Paragraphs
Traditionally, the essay should be structured including three or more body paragraphs. It is important to provide a well-structured essay because it is significant to hook the readers’ attention.

The structure of the essay can be as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1: Cause-Effect 1
  • Body paragraph 2: Cause-Effect 2
  • Body paragraph 3: Cause-Effect 3
  • Conclusion

The introduction should provide general information about the issue and should include a background of the essay topic. Additionally, it is important to remember that the thesis statement should be a part of an introductory paragraph. Each paragraph should include complete idea and represent clear supporting arguments. In addition, paragraphs should end with a conclusion and should include properly formatted references. The section of the conclusion is aimed at summarizing all findings and ideas introduced in the essay. What is more, it is important to restate the thesis statement proving or refuting this opinion.

Post-writing Tips from Our Writing Experts

There are several useful post-writing tips that can help improve your text:

1. Read the whole text aloud.
Having read the text loudly, you will see all the weak places and grammatical mistakes. As a result, it will be more comfortable to correct all problem places.
2. Double-check the grammar.
Check if all tenses are correct and try to stick to one tense in your cause and effect essay writing. In addition, pay attention to punctuation; remove all extra commas and add them where they are missing. Make sure all words are appropriately used and all collocations are correct. Cut too long sentences to make them more understandable for the reader.
3. Check the structure of the essay.
Check if all causes, links, and effects were marked in the paper. Pay attention to the arguments and consider if they are enough to prove the idea represented in all body paragraphs of a cause and effect essay.
4. Plagiarism check.
Plagiarism is a problem for writing a successful academic cause and effect essay. Of course, you will use the ideas of other authors that should be appropriately cited. There are many useful websites that provide plagiarism check. Ensure to use any to analyze your paper. Plagiarism is a testify to unprofessional work, and it should be eliminated in the essay.
5. Referencing and citing.
All external sources used in the essay should be appropriately cited. Ideas of other authors used in the essay should be marked through in-text citations. References should be formatted in accordance with the required format of the paper. There are various formats including MLA, APA, ASA, and others.
6. Proofreading of a paper.
Read an essay once more in order to mark all the mistakes you have left. You can make a break having some rest and then try to read an essay. Proofreading will allow to perform an accurate analysis of the text with an emphasis on its content and linguistic problems. This activity is used to check if everything is appropriately cited in the text.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay on any Topic. (2018). Retrieved from
The Writing Process – Creating an Outline – Aims Community College. (2018). Retrieved from
Writers Workshop: Writer Resources. (2018). The Center for Writing Studies, Illinois. Retrieved from

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