cause and effect
Cause and Effect Essay
Rough draft due: Friday, October 30
Final draft due: Wednesday, November 2
This essay is based on Chapter 8, Explaining Causes and Effects, page 136. Cause and Effect essays explore why events occur and how they impact us. Identifying causes involves finding reasons for an event; exploring causes involves finding the results. Cause and effect writing can entertain, relate an experience, express emotion, inform readers, or persuade readers.
Events typically have more than one cause and more than one effect. Examining the causes and effects of an enrollment decline at a local college could examine a weak economy, increased competition in the market, poor recruitment, and less financial aid available. Effects might include loss of revenue, loss of prestige, low employee morale, and fewer course offerings. When an event has multiple causes and effects, you can’t focus on them all. Focus on those of particular significance while downplaying those of lesser significance.
Your thesis needs to indicate your topic and whether you’re examining causes, effects, or both. You can also suggest your purpose, as in this thesis statement: It is certainly wrong for athletes to use drugs, but the reasons they do so are understandable. For a clear organization, use topic sentences to introduce your discussion of each cause or effect. For the previous example, three topic sentences might be:
• The pressure for professional athletes to justify their huge salaries is so great that they often see performance enhancing drugs as the answer.
• Furthermore, athletes may feel that they must take the drugs in order to be competitive, since so many other athletes are taking them.
• Finally, some athletes get hooked on drugs because their coaches and trainers administer them.
Transitions that will help you signal effects include as a result, consequently, thus, hence, therefore and for this reason. Because and since are transitions signaling cause. Transitions like also, in addition, additionally, furthermore and another signal movement from one cause or effect to another. Avoid using “the reason is because” because it is redundant; “the reason” means “because.”
In addition to your own knowledge, you will need to find three sources to support your points. To examine three causes and/or effects, you will need to find a source to support each point. You won’t need a sources page, but you will need to introduce each source in the paragraph with a clear signal word. For example, a paper examining the reasons young people tan may assert: Many people tan because it makes them feel more confident, says Clay Routledge, Ph.D., as associate professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. You will name the source and his or her title and profession. You may find the sources through the library databases or the Internet, as long as they are news-oriented sites such as CNN, Time, the New York Times, etc. We will allow time in class to find sources, so feel free to bring your lap tops so we can find sources together.
Topics to consider:
• Analyze the causes or effects of stress in college or high school students
• Explain the causes or effects of lying
• Explain the causes or effects of student debt
• Explain the causes or effects of a bad habit
• Explain the causes or effects of a fear you have
• Explore the causes/effects of bullying
• Explain the causes or effect of doing something new: moving to a new town or school, starting a new job or college
• Explain the effects of an individual on your life (sources would explore the notion of role models, character, etc.)
This list is not exhaustive, so if you would like to pursue another topic, please clear it with me either in class or through an email.
This paper must be in third person (an exception is the last topic, where a mixture of first and third person would be acceptable). The final paper must be 1,000 words, typed, titled, and double spaced.
It is worth 100 points and may be taken to the Writing Center for an additional 10 points.
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