What steps do I take to write a cause and effect essay?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When writing a cause and effect essay, you are analyzing the causes of any given occurrence plus the effects that result from the causes. For this type of essay, first, choose what you want to focus on. You can either focus on one single cause of any given situation and one single effect, or you can write about several causes and the effects of each cause.

For example, if you are writing about the causes of air pollution, you could focus on the combustion of fossil fuels. Once you choose your focus, you will then analyze all the different means through which fossil fuel is used, such as coal and gasoline. You would, third, analyze the effects of each of these means of burning fossil fuel that pollute the environment. Or, you could focus on one means of air pollution, such as factories, and analyze the effects of factory-produced air pollution.

If you chose to analyze multiple causes and effects, it can be helpful to keep in mind and analyze both primary causes and sufficient causes. The primary cause is the main reason why something has occurred. A sufficient cause stems directly from the primary cause. which ever route you choose, once you know your topic and analysis, you will want a well-developed thesis statement; the analysis will form the body of your paper; and, you will want to provide a cohesive conclusion.

Instead of writing a cause and effect essay, some instructors may ask a student to write a cause or effect paper. With a cause or effect paper, rather than analyzing causes and the effects of these causes, you would focus your essay on either cause or effect. If you choose to focus on cause, you would be focusing on causes that produce effects. In our example above, our general effect would be air pollution, and we would analyze causes that contribute to air pollution in general, rather than saying what specific effects ensue from specific causes of air pollution. If you chose to write an effect paper, you would be analyzing the many different effects of one specific cause.

zumba96 | Student

Since you are analyzing in the cause and effect essay first find out what you are trying to analyze. Once you know what you are trying to analyze, then find out the events before and after the situation and what led to it and because of what happened how was others effected or whatever your point is affected.