Cause and Effect Essays --Two Versions
Cause and effect essays seek to establish a causal relationship between two or more
events or facts. Suppose your thesis was, "Children watch too much television,
which causes them to lose their creativity." In this type of essay, you could discuss
several separate ways in which TV watching causes kids problems. An outline of
the essay would probably look something like this:
Prime Cause: TV Effects 1, 2 & 3 Overall Effect: Lack of creativity
Children watch too much television, which causes them to lose their creativity.
TV does not require participation, resulting in a passive mental state.
TV uses rapid and instantly gratifying images that promote a short attention
span in the viewer.
TV relies on repetitive, simplistic, and comfortable imagery, failing to
stimulate the mind with difficult, challenging or controversial ideas.
Rather than being mentally stimulated, TV viewers become passive observers with
an inability to concentrate. This results in a loss of creativity.
Another type of cause/effect strategy is the causal chain, which shows a linked
relationship between effects: the first effect leads to or influences the second, the
second in turn leads to or influences the third, etc. In this case, you will still have a
clear thesis statement that leads and directs the essay; however, instead of several
separate points of discussion, as in the outline above, you would show a connected
chain of points. An outline of this type of essay might look like this:
Prime Cause: TV 1st Effect 2nd Effect 3rd Effect
4th Effect 5th Effect Final Effect: Jobs
Introduction: Watching television stimulates the economy to create jobs.
Prime Cause 1st Effect
Viewers who experience hours of inactivity while watching TV become
mentally passive (illustrate & explain)
1st Effect 2nd Effect
Passive viewers are highly susceptible to images & messages on TV
(illustrate & explain)
2nd Effect 3rd Effect
Images & messages on TV encourage viewers to increase their commercial
consumption (illustrate & explain)
3rd Effect 4th Effect
Increased commercial consumption creates a higher demand for goods &
services (illustrate & explain)
4th Effect 5th Effect
A Higher demand for goods & services requires increased production from
suppliers (illustrate & explain)
5th Effect Final Effect
In order for suppliers to increase production, they must invest in more
employees (illustrate & explain)
Conclusion: Watching television stimulates the economy to create jobs.
CAUSE AND EFFECT ESSAY
FORMAL ESSAY STYLE
3rd Person Point of View
Introduction, body, and conclusion
Significant, supported and believable argument
CATEGORIES AND CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION
Explicit statement of a significant, cause and effect thesis—one
prime cause, one final or overall effect
Watching television stimulates the economy to create jobs.
Coherent expression of connections between specific ideas
Increased commercial consumption leads to higher demand.
Coherent development of overall argument