Cause and Effect Essay Guide, Steps, Tips, & Example

Last Updated: 27 July 2023

How to write a Cause and Effect Essay

Cause and effect essays, like other types of essays, are a common assignment for high school, college, and university students. Such academic essays explore the causes of a particular issue, event, or phenomenon and its consequences. As a result, you need to showcase high creativity, critical thinking, research, organizational, and problem-solving skills.

Although handling cause-and-effect assignments appear easy, most students who have consulted with us differ from conventional reasoning. Instead, they find it intensive as it entails critical analysis, fact-checking, and analytical application of scholarly reasoning, evidence, and examples to support the claims.

The moment you master the structure, format, and tone of a cause-and-effect essay, you are as good as done. This guide will give you insights and tips to help you develop solid arguments and facts and apply logical reasoning and creativity to develop a top-grade cause-and-effect essay.

Soon enough, you'll realize that the process is not as complex as you imagined. Courtesy of our legit essay helpers, you will be pro at writing this type of academic paper by the time you read it.

What is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause-and-effect essay is an expository essay in which the author discusses what leads to what by explaining the connection between specific aspects, phenomena, or conditions and their consequences.  An example cause-and-effect essay can focus on the causes of the Arab Spring in the Middle East.

You can also look at the cause and effect of ocean pollution or microplastics in oceans. Some of the effects here could include the death and extinction of flora and fauna, reduced value of the ocean water, and the snowballing effect on transport and other industries.

In other words, a cause-and-effect essay is an essay in which the author discusses the origins, causes, roots, or triggers of an event, occurrence, or phenomenon and the resulting positive or negative consequences or outcomes.  You educate your reader/audience by explaining the consequences of a given action or phenomenon.

As you write the paper, you must show the correlation between the subjects under scrutiny or discussion. For example, you can find the causes and consequences of infidelity in marriage or how infidelity leads to high rates of divorce in society. You'll have to research the topic, explore why the phenomenon occurs and then explore the positive or negative results.

Cause-and-effect essays are quite common in writing classes and somewhat common in most cases, especially in the early semesters. Therefore, mastering how to write them can help you a great deal. The best way to write a cause-and-effect essay is to provide a clear line between the causes and effects using evidence from credible sources.  

Types of Cause and Effect Essays

There are several types of cause-and-effect essays. The simplest and most common one entails discussing how a single cause results in or leads to a single effect. This type of cause-and-effect essay is common in high school but not college. Other types of cause-and-effect essays include:

One Cause and Multiple Effects

In this type of essay, you should discuss how a single cause results in or leads to multiple effects. This essay type is not very common.

Multiple Causes and One Effect

In this essay, you should discuss how multiple causes result in or lead to a single effect. This is the most common type of cause-and-effect essay. An excellent example of this type of essay is an essay explaining the causes of the American Civil War.

Chain Causes and Effects

This is the most complex type of cause-and-effect essay. In this essay, you should discuss how a chain of causes (one cause leading to another) results in or leads to an event, an occurrence, or a phenomenon.  

Steps for Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

If you are assigned a cause-and-effect paper, you need to begin by knowing what your professor or instructor expects. It is only then that you can write well to the point of meeting or even exceeding their expectations.

It is also a detailed assignment, which means adequate prior preparation, planning, and in-depth research are necessary. If you are exploring the causes, do so in detail and address all the effects or consequences.

You need to support your arguments, claims, and opinions using evidence from scholarly resources. Below are some significant steps to set you in the right direction when writing this type of essay.

1. Read The Instructions

The most important thing to do when you are given an essay assignment is to read the instructions carefully. Failure to read the instructions carefully will almost always lead to a low or average grade.

Most students usually just read instructions to find out the topic they need to focus on, and they don't concentrate on the details to find out about the "terms and conditions," so to speak.

If you want to get good grades in your essays consistently, you must always read instructions carefully. Before you start writing, you must know all the "terms and conditions" your instructor has given you. So when you get a cause-and-effect assignment, the first thing you do is to read everything carefully. Read the instructions twice or thrice, and write down any part you think you might forget.

2. Choose A Topic

If your instructor has already assigned a topic to you in the instructions, you don't need to choose a topic. Skip this step to the third step below. If the instructions require you to choose a topic, this is where you choose a topic.

The best way to do this is to create a list of topics. The list should have a minimum of 5 topics because the longer your list, the more likely you will find or settle on a fascinating topic. Once you create a list, choose the best topic to focus on, ideally, a topic you are passionate about.

3. Come Up With A Thesis Statement

After choosing a topic, you need to develop a thesis statement. The thesis statement should be relevant to the topic you've been given or that you have settled on yourself. The thesis statement is the most important in your essay because it captures your main argument or what you want to prove in your essay.

When writing your thesis statement, ensure it is argumentative and aligned with your topic. It does not need to be very accurate at this point. This is because you will most likely want to modify it a bit after research and may also want to adjust it after writing your first draft. So there is no need to seek perfection at this stage.

4. Brainstorm The Main Points

After writing down your thesis statement/main argument. You should think about the arguments you can use to support it. Write down as many as you can think of. This is to make research easier – you will see how in the next step.

Make a list of the causes and another of the effects. At this point, all you need to do is list the potential causes (you) and the potential effects (according to you). Don't worry about the correctness of your causes and effects. The next step will help you decide which should go into your essay.

5. Research and Organize Your Research

Once you have a nice list of causes and effects, you should do research. The purpose of your research will be to ascertain which of your causes and effects should go into your essay. Using the potential causes and effects, you identified in the step above will help to make your research faster because it will provide better results.

The right way to use them is to use them as search terms in your college library database(s). Once you identify good results, skim through to identify the best sources to use in your essay. Alternatively, you can use the topic and your potential causes and effects as search terms on Google to find good results and identify the best sources for your essay.

When using Google, make sure the sources you decide to settle on are credible sources such as college textbooks, government websites, and journal articles. Don't use blogs and social media sites as sources for your essay.

6. Write an Outline

After identifying the best sources for your essay based on your topic, your thesis, and your potential main arguments, you should create an outline. The outline should capture how you want to write your essay.

The most common way to write an outline is to highlight what each paragraph will focus on in your essay focus on. When you write a good outline, you make it easy for yourself to write your essay. This is because it will work as a reference that you can quickly look at whenever you are stuck to remind yourself what you need to write next.

A good outline works not only as a reference but also as a flow enhancer. It will help to ensure your essay has a good flow because it will guide you throughout your paper.

7. Write the first Draft of the Essay

Once you have your thesis, research, and outline ready, you should start developing your work. Start with the introduction. Just refer to your outline to know what you want to write about in a paragraph. As you conclude the essay, ensure that you rephrase and restate the thesis statement.

Remember, when developing your cause-and-effect essay, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is because it is not the final version you will submit, and the final version will and should be well-refined but not the first draft.

So do not get stuck trying to make your intro, first body paragraph, and so on perfect. Just write whatever comes to your mind based on the points you captured in your outline. Focus on one paragraph at a time and write until you get to the end of your essay.

8. Review, Edit, and Polish your Essay

What you have just developed in the step above is your first draft. The first draft doesn't need to be perfect. However, it needs to be on point.

At this stage, you need to look if it is on point. You must determine if it captures all the causes and effects that you envisaged in your outline. You must also determine if the entire essay aligns with your thesis statement. As well, check that you have achieved the desired or recommended essay length so that you are graded for the words you have achieved. If not, try to lengthen or shorten the essay to make it worthwhile read or so that your professor/instructor will not cut out some parts when marking.

So read your essay carefully to ensure it is what you set out to write. Whenever you feel there is a deviation in your essay in terms of meaning, flow, and so on, you should edit your essay and make sure it is on point.

In addition to correcting your essay to ensure your thesis, points, and everything else is in sync, you should correct it to eliminate grammatical errors. You can use a grammar-checker software like, but you must reread your essay to ensure the software catches and eliminates everything.

9. Submit The Essay for Marking/Grading

Once you have edited your essay to correct flow and grammar, you should reread it to ensure everything is perfect. Upon confirmation that everything is perfect, you should submit your essay immediately. Don't wait too long to submit your essay, as you could end up submitting it late.

If you follow all the steps above and submit your essay on time, you will most likely get an excellent grade in your cause-and-effect essay.

Structure of A Cause and Effect Essay

In this section, you will discover the structure of a typical cause-and-effect essay. You will discover what to include in your paper's introduction, body, and conclusion. This information is necessary to help you structure your paper correctly, especially if you've never written a cause-and-effect essay.

Introduction Paragraph

The introduction of a cause-and-effect essay should focus on presenting the topic to the reader. It should do this by providing detailed yet concise background information on the topic to help the reader to discover what it is all about. It should also highlight the thesis of the essay, plus its purpose. You will know your introduction is good enough if you read it and feel it captures the topic nicely in a concise yet detailed manner.

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph in your essay should focus on a cause and provide a direct link to an effect. This will help the reader follow your essay from paragraph to paragraph. It will also make it easy for you to edit and correct your essay to ensure it has flow because you can easily spot a flow problem when you write your essay this way.

Anti-thesis paragraph

This is sometimes not necessary. But even when it is not explicitly asked for in your essay instructions, you should include it. The anti-thesis paragraph is a unique paragraph that presents arguments against your thesis or main arguments. When you do this, it shows the reader that you considered both sides of the main argument.

Conclusion Paragraph

You need to restate your thesis and main points in the conclusion paragraph. You also need to make your final statement, where you wrap up everything nicely, tying the causes to the effect(s). Finally, you need to make a statement on what you hope the final impact of your work will be.

Cause and Effect Essay Outline Example

Title: How Large-Scale Agriculture Can Help End Poverty in Africa

A. Introduction

B. Body Paragraph 1: Large-scale farming can provide employment

C. Body Paragraph 2: Large-scale farming can provide cheap quality food

D. Body Paragraph 3: Large-scale agriculture can provide export cash

E. Conclusion

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Below are sample essay topics to inspire you to develop your topic.

General Topics

  1. What are the causes of inter-religious conflicts in India?
  2. What are the key reasons behind labor strikes in France?
  3. What was the impact of COVID-19 on employment?
  4. What were the causes and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  5. What are the key reasons given by police for brutality and its effects?
  6. What were the triggers for the Russia-Ukraine conflict?
  7. What key reasons led to the emergence of the USA as a world superpower?
  8. What were the causes of the Cold War?
  9. What are the causes and effects of the Butt-enhancement trend in women?
  10. What are the causes and effects of feminism in the western world?

History Topics

  1. What were the causes of the American Civil War?
  2. What were the causes of the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya?
  3. What were the causes of the collapse of the USSR?
  4. What were the key reasons for the end of the Vietnam War?
  5. What were the key reasons for the end of the Taliban War in Afghanistan?
  6. What led to the Arab Spring in the Middle East?
  7. What led to the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA?
  8. What led to the French Revolution?
  9. What effects did Islam have on the Ottoman Empire?
  10. What led to the fall of the Spanish Empire in the Americas?

Education Topics

  1. What are the effects of online learning on students?
  2. What are the effects of banning smartphone use in school?
  3. What are the effects of adopting technology on school work and performance?
  4. What are the effects of extra-curricular activities on academic performance?
  5. What are the effects of introducing school uniforms in high schools?
  6. What causes high academic achievement in students?
  7. What causes bullying in high school?
  8. How does detention help improve discipline?
  9. How does suspension help improve discipline among students?
  10. What were the causes for adopting school uniforms in private schools?

Politics Topics

  1. What were the causes and the effects of the yes we can movement?
  2. What are the effects of democracy or democratization across the world?
  3. What are the critical reasons for the emergence of dictatorships in the Middle East?
  4. What were the causes and effects of China's rise to global power?
  5. What were the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union?
  6. What key reasons led to the collapse of Yugoslavia?
  7. What causes and effects of illegal immigration to the USA?
  8. What were the triggers for the January 6th insurrection?
  9. How does poor leadership lead to poverty?
  10. What are the causes and effects of poverty in Africa?

How to Start a Cause and Effect Essay

The start of a cause-and-effect essay is called an introduction. It is crucial to ensure your introduction provides enough background information about your topic and essay. It is also vital to ensure it ends with a powerful thesis statement that makes the reader want to learn more.

A great way to provide proper background information on a topic is to use data or a quote from an expert to paint a picture for the reader. And a great way to write a powerful thesis is to use the correct vocabulary to capture your exact ideas.

The thesis statement can be based on single or multiple relationships between the cause and effect you will explore in your essay.

How to end a Cause and Effect Essay

The end of a cause-and-effect essay is called a conclusion paragraph. It is crucial to ensure that your conclusion restates your thesis and main ideas.

Moreover, it is crucial to ensure your conclusion captures what you hope your paper/research will help for the topic, your course, or the world.

What impact will it have? Doing this correctly can impress your instructor leading to a higher grade on your paper.

Final Remarks

Cause and effect writing is never as hard as you had perceived before reading this post, isn’t it? You need good organization and an objective approach to research and writing to write good cause-and-effect essays.

Related Read: How to get free college textbooks online.

As far as learning is concerned, you now know what these essays are, how to write them, their structure, how to start them, and how to end them. It is now up to you to put what you've learned to practice. We have covered all the bells and whistles to help you write a compelling introduction and a captivating concluding paragraph.

Because every phenomenon, event, issue, or problem has consequences or impacts, understanding the causes and consequences can help develop solutions or come up with mitigation strategies. As you write this essay, you are not only doing it for the grade but also preparing yourself for real-world life, where you apply what you learn in classrooms or through essay assignments.

To this end, you have invested much of your time and can write a perfect essay that will receive the best grade. However, since writing such papers consumes more time, which you could be strapped for, you can easily work with our professional English essay writers to help you craft a great paper.

If you want a perfect cause-and-effect essay on any topic to use as a reference, you can tell us to “write my essay” by filling out the order form on our homepage. We have experienced writers capable of writing flawless cause-and-effect essays on any topic. Our services are excellent, and our rates are also competitive. Work with writers who follow your rubric and essay prompts and strictly deliver on time. Try us today, and you will not be disappointed!