Fall 2008 1 Writing Cause and Effect Essays Cristina Maldonado for the Writing Center Roxbury Community College
2 Fall 2008 What 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).
3 Fall 2008 Understanding the Assignment Cause 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.
4 Fall 2008 Example: Define recession and discuss the probable effects a recession would have on American society. Writing Essay Exams. The OWL at Purdue. 27 May 2008.
5 Fall 2008 Essay Characteristics Presentation 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.
6 Fall 2008 Presentation of the Issue It 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.
7 Fall 2008 Use Fact-Based Evidence to Support Claims Use the RCC Library website to search the research databases to locate data Search the internet for published studies and credible organizations For 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.http://www.rcc.mass.edu/lib/
8 Fall 2008 Avoid Negative Statements and Bias Avoid biased statements or make negative statements to the reader The 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.
9 Fall 2008 Use the 3 rd Person I 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.
10 Fall 2008 Brainstorming Complete 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.
11 Fall 2008 Causal Relationships 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. The Cause and Effect Essay. Mount Hebron High School. 27 May 2008.
12 Fall 2008 Important Questions to Ask Have 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.
13 Fall 2008 Creating a Thesis Statement Once 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.
14 Fall 2008 Transitional Words Because Consequently, Therefore, For this reason As a result Writing Essay Exams. The OWL at Purdue. 27 May 2008.
15 Fall 2008 Points to Remember Explain the issue, avoid negativity and bias, and use the 3 rd 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.
16 Fall 2008 Last thought: Beware of the Fallacy Dont 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 www.unc.edu/depts/weweb/handouts/fallacies