Guide on How to Write Cause and Effect Essays + Bonus Free Cause and Effect Essay Example

A suitable way to define a cause and effect essay is to think of it as "how one particular event can lead to another or a number of other events." This one single event may be considered to be a "cause" while the other event may be considered the "effect." Sometimes, a single cause may have numerous effects.

In the event a tutor asks you to write an essay of the cause and effect variety, you will first need to establish the relationship(s) between the two things i.e. why a particular event or situation happens and what the result of this event or situation is i.e. its effect. For the purpose of your essay, it will be necessary to show that a particular situation or issue exists, and the explanation you give is your analysis of that situation or issue.

There are a few questions you can ask of yourself to determine how effective or otherwise your work is. For example:

  • Can you see the cause(s) clearly?
  • Can you see the effect(s) clearly?
  • In terms of causes and effects, how many are there? Is there one or several?
  • Can the effect(s) be described as being of the "chain reaction" variety?

A good way to generate topics for an essay like this and to identify a variety of causes and effects is to hold a brainstorming session. Determine whether you will cover a single topic or a number of points in your essay. You should continue asking these types of questions until you are sure every possibility has been explored. Check all the relationships to ensure these are logical and valid.

Organizing Your Cause Effect Essay

When your brainstorming efforts are complete, give some thought to your topic and what the best way to organize it is. You may present this type of essay by:

  • Category
  • Level of importance
  • Chronology of events.

If your chosen method is category, you should begin by splitting your points or items into the required number of parts and organize them accordingly. If importance is your chosen method, you should begin by organizing your points or items from those of the greatest importance to those of the least or vice versa. If you choose chronological order, your points, items or events will need to be arranged by order of occurrence.

Key Features of a Cause Effect Essay

The following are the primary elements of a properly-written cause and effect essay:

  • Choice of language should be impartial and positive-sounding.
  • Reliable and solid evidence to illustrate the relationships that exist between each cause and each effect.
  • Transitional words or phrases are used to separate similarities from differences.
  • Both primary source materials and secondary source materials should be used to show that main points and/or arguments are credible.

A Cause and Effect Essay's Framework

The framework of an effective cause and effect essay is made up of the following components:

  • An interesting topic that focuses exclusively on analyzing and providing readers with information.
  • A strongly-developed opening paragraph (i.e. introduction) containing a clear and concisely-written thesis sentence or statement.
  • Three body paragraphs for the main portion of your essay (at least). These should contain credible evidence that fully supports the thesis statement.
  • A closing paragraph (conclusion) that seamlessly brings together each point, idea, and paragraph.

How to Structure a Cause and Effect Essay

The functions of an introduction paragraph are:

  • Provides an overview of the topic and main points for discussion.
  • Establishes the central thesis statement and its purpose.
  • Provides information to support and strengthen the essay's thesis statement and main points including examples, facts, and descriptions.
  • Uses transitions to move readers seamlessly to the main body of your essay.

The paragraphs in the main body of your essay can be used to construct cause and effect relationships and to demonstrate why and how particular events or things occur and what the results of these are. You should bear the points below in mind when creating the main body of your essay:

  • Devote one body paragraph to describing the cause or causes in detail.
  • Allocate another body paragraph to describing the effect or effects.
  • Explain how the cause(s) and effect(s) are related and why analyzing these are important.
  • Use sources to show your position is credible and make sure these are cited correctly.
  • Use signal words and/or phrases to indicate causes and effects, e.g., what causes something, what its consequences are, etc.

Instead of summarizing the points, you made in the body of your essay, the closing paragraph or conclusion should be used to synthesize all such information. Since this is the last opportunity, you will have to persuade readers that your position is valid, make sure your argument(s) are very convincing and logical.

Include a list of references at the end of your cause and effect essay. All sources should be formatted as per any style instructions you were given, which may mean using the APA, Chicago, or MLA referencing style.

Cause and Effect Essay Example on Educational Inequality in America

Educational inequality refers to the disparity experienced by some students throughout their learning process. The educational accomplishment is measured on the basis of test scores, grades, college entrance numbers, rates of college completion, and the drop-out rates. Various researches link educational inequality to racial, geographic, and socio-economic reasons. Compared to other states, the United States spends much on education, yet the nation achieves lower points of performance by students than many states that invest less financially. The spending per-pupil has even increased in America in recent years, yet the performance of students academically has remained stagnant. Educational inequality, in America is determined greatly by economic and racial lines (Gamoran 135). Segregation in America surpasses race since it is indivisible from the residential location, socio-economic status, and more lately, by language. The color of the skin is also connected to other types of inequality evident in education.

Inequality in education between the minority students and the white students continues the economic and social inequality. Research reveals that the inequality gap between racial groups has grown big in America. Educational disparity has become one of the most significant social issues in the U.S. (Gamoran 135). With varied causes that are deeply rooted in the society, culture and history, this imbalance is hard to eradicate. There is a range of causes attributable to the presence of inequality in education in America. There is a focus upon family background, history and resources.

The historical relationship between the racial/ ethnic minorities and the white in America plays a key role in the present inequalities in education. The African American enslavement confiscated the access to training for generations of the racial minorities in the U.S. When the legal elimination of slavery was passed, ethnic stigma remained. Political, economic and social barriers held the blacks in a subordination position. The freedmen's schools existed, although they focused upon maintaining the African-Americans in servitude, rather than on enriching academic prosperity. As a result, America experienced and still experiences legal separation in schools between the blacks and whites (Gamoran 137). The schools are expected to posses the same resources, however, there is an undisputed inequality.

The American Indians and the Latinos also experienced similar repression in education in the past, the effects that are evident now. The Latinos have been shut out of the educational opportunities systematically at all heights (Gamoran 138). Evidence suggests that the Latinos have gone through this educational suppression in America as far back as the 1848. The American Indians were subjected to the missionary schools enforcement that stressed the assimilation into the white society and culture. Also, following successful assimilation into the white society and culture, those American Indians were subjected to discrimination in the society of the whites. The discrimination created a faction that could not be beneficial even if they acquired an equal education.

The universities of America are also divided into various categories, with some schools, the schools of Ivy League, for example, being more elite than other. Among these elite institutions, inequality in education is intense, with only 3% and 6% of their learners coming from the two bottom income quintiles (Gamoran 138).

Another decisive factor in determining the inequality in education is the students' family background. There is a confirmed correlation between the successes of the parents academically with the academic accomplishment of their children. Family background has been identified to be the most influential cause in the academic performance of the student. Only 11% of the students from the fifth base income families get a college degree whereas 80 percent of the children from the top fifth earn a university degree (Gamoran 140). Connected with resources, the white students appear to have more educated parents compared to the students from the minority families. Having more educated parents translates to a more supportive attitude towards success in learning. Consequently, children from the top fifth families have a more supportive at-home help in their homes, engage in extra intellectually intensive conversations, attend more libraries, and have more course books in their house libraries. These children then enter schools at different levels.

The students from poor families are usually behind in vocabulary, verbal memory, reading, math, and they have more behavior troubles. As a result, poor students are then placed in different level classes which track them (Gamoran 140). These programs almost always demand little from the students, forming a group that is insensible to deficiency in educational drive. The courses are non-college bound, and they are taught by teachers who are less qualified.

Family status influences cultural perceptions. The middle rank experience of customs and norms allow the students with the middle class background to better navigate around the school system. Parents from the middle class and above have social networks that prove to be more advantageous than the networks based in poorer classes (Gamoran 141). These networks might help the students to get access to the correct activities, and schools, among others. In addition, children from poor families come from homes that mistrust organizations. The history of inequity and racism in America has formed a perceived and existent ceiling upon opportunities for many minority and poor citizens (Gamoran 141). This ceiling deadens educational institutions as well as decreases growth.

Access to resources also played a significant role in the educational inequality (Gamoran 142). Other than the family resources mentioned in the family status, access to proper health care and food influences the children's cognitive development. Children from poorer families experience the inequality in access to proper health care and nutrition, putting those children at a disadvantage. The resources that the students might or might not receive from their families are vital.

The schools also vary significantly in the resources the schools themselves provide for their students. The school districts have been distributing funds unevenly, thereby underfunding the low-income students (Gamoran 143). This inequality in the funding of schools is holding back funds from the schools that are in need of funding. Schools with high poverty have less qualified instructors with a turnover rate that is much higher. The students in higher poverty schools are most likely to be taught by unprofessional instructors which is different from other students in wealthy schools.

The lack of resources is linked directly to race and ethnicity (Gamoran 144). The Latino and the black learners are three times more likely to be in higher poverty schools than the whites and twelve times more expected to be in schools where virtually everyone is poor. Moreover, only around half of the instructors in schools composed of 90 percent or more of minority students meet the state requirements to train their subjects. There is also a trend of increase in funding, as the quantity of the white students rises.

In conclusion, educational inequality in America has been one of the most imperative social issues. Among the causes of inequality in education is the unequal distribution of resources and funding of the schools. Educational inequality has also been attributed to the socio-economic status of the family backgrounds, in addition to the racial discrimination between the ethnic minorities and the white students.

Work Cited

Gamoran, Adam. American Education and Educational Inequality: A Forecast for the 21st Century. Sociology of Education, Vol. 74, Extra Issue (2001), pp. 135-153. U.S.A: American Sociological Association.

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