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How to write a Cause and Effect Essay

In some ways, the ‘cause and effect’ essay is related to the ‘definition essay’ in the sense that a single idea is chosen and then systematically analysed. To know how to write a cause and effect essay, one must similarly choose an avenue of thought which is going to stimulate and interest the reader; provoking discussion and debate.

In order to give yourself the best chance of producing a well presented analytic thesis, the ‘cause and effect’ essay must be thoroughly planned from the outset. Even before a first draft is attempted there are steps that can be taken which will dramatically improve the finished product. Firstly, decide on what will be the main subject of the essay and then formulate a question which will be your essay title. For example: What are the effects of alcohol on an individual? Or perhaps: What are the effects of global warming?

To achieve an in depth analysis of the subject, you need to then produce as many ideas as possible connected with the issue. A good way of accomplishing this is to produce a ‘spider diagram’.

Simply write the main term in the middle of a page, for example: ‘alcohol’ and develop a web of connecting words and phrases by drawing  lines and adding words and sub-meanings to words. In this way many layers of meaning can be explored which may have not become apparent by using more ‘linear’ methods of idea finding. A good method of producing such ideas is to throw open the keyword to a group where ideas, good or bad, can be later considered.

Writing a cause and effect essay

Having created a plethora of ideas from your spider diagram, it is then essential that some sort of order is made from the information collated. To produce a good cause and effect essay, you must firstly state the most obvious ‘causes’ of drinking. Most people are familiar with the ‘effects’ of alcohol on the body, such as poor health, relationship problems and violent behaviour, but may be less familiar with what ‘causes’ people to drink alcohol in the first place.

To know how to write a cause and effect essay, one must therefore build upon a scenario of possible outcomes from alcohol consumption. Whether you are concentrating on causes or effects, you must build a logical sequence of factors which cover more or less serious outcomes.

For example, the least serious effect may be a morning after hangover or a nagging headache, whereas a more serious effect may be the breakdown of a marriage or the loss of a hitherto glittering career. It would be an effective strategy to write a first paragraph which covers less serious outcomes and write a second and third paragraph which builds up to the most tragic of effects.

To know how to write a cause and effect essay, therefore, one must endeavour to choose a subject which on the face of it seems to have obvious causes and effects but in fact opens up a wide range of discussion and stimulates intellectual thought.

Writing a cause and effect essay does not have to be difficult!

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