Cause and effect is an evergreen thing. Remember when we were just kids, and our parents always told us that if we disobey them, there would be consequences?
Well, it really does work this way.
Whatever you do, think, or say will lead to something particular. There is even a so-called "Butterfly effect" that basically means that minor things done somewhere can lead to big changes somewhere else in the world. It used to be an effect often discussed in weather broadcasts, but with time it became a metaphor for all kinds of changes.
Meanwhile, educational establishments aiming to train students to see the cause and effect decided to have special types of essays as a part of their academic process.
There are only two issues that come up when you talk about these essays: what structure they have and what topics can they talk about.
What makes a good cause and effect essay?
The structure is no different from any other essay you would write. This piece must consist of an introduction, main body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
However, the whole text should focus on four main points across the text:
- You need to study the cause of what happened.
There is always a reason behind every event. And there are no exceptions. So, your job is to study these causes and describe them in a nice and concise manner.
- Explain these causes.
After you look into the reasons why something happened, you need to explain what you found out to the readers. They do not read your mind, so you need to be very clear when explaining the situation. However, since you need to talk about it in the introduction, make sure to explain it all in a few sentences.
- Check out the effect this particular event has.
In the main body, you need to show what consequences come after some choice, decision, action, or a word.
It is better if you can dedicate one paragraph to one effect for better clarity of the problem.
- Connect the cause and its effects.
The readers need to see the big picture. So, your last goal is to connect the cause and effect in their eyes. You should also lead them to a certain conclusion or a takeaway line which they would remember once they finish reading it.
This is what you should know about the structure. However, it might not be your biggest concern. The topic might be harder to come up with. So, if you are having troubles thinking of what to talk about in your article, then read on: you might find exactly what you are looking for on our list.
Two weeks ago, your professor assigned a cause and effect essay, but when the due date came, you didn’t even turn it in.
What caused you not to turn in your paper?
Of course, it could be any number of reasons. Let’s say you simply didn’t feel like writing it because you didn’t have a good topic. Maybe you forgot.
Maybe you left your bedroom window open, and a squirrel broke in, chewed up your notes, and chewed his way through your power cord. Your laptop’s battery was dead, and with no way to charge it, you simply couldn’t write the paper. (Hey, it could happen.)
What was the effect of not turning in your paper? The most immediate effect is likely a failing grade on the paper. You might even fail the course. If mom and dad are paying tuition, that “F” could have all other sorts of negative effects that we won’t even begin to discuss here.
Save yourself the anguish of such a scenario. Write your paper.
To help you get started, here are 22 cause and effect essay topics to help you write a better essay.
A Quick Overview
In order to write a good cause and effect essay, first decide if you’ll write about causes, effects, or causes and effects. (Your professor may have already decided this for you.)
Next, make a list of causes and effects to help organize your ideas. The information in this list will be the body of your paper and will help support your assertions.
Finally, remember to use transition words (such as due to, because, and therefore) to link ideas together.
To see these elements in action, read 2 Cause and Effect Essay Examples that Will Cause a Stir.
Once you’re ready to start the search for a topic, check out these 22 ideas.
22 Cause and Effect Essay Topics to Help You Write a Better Essay
To make it easier on you, I’ve separated these cause and effect essay topics into three categories: topics that examine causes, topics that examine effects, and topics that examine both.
Essay topics that examine causes
1. What causes voter apathy?
Ask people why they don’t vote, and you’ll get a number of answers, including the fact that they don’t like any candidates, that they don’t have time, or that they simply don’t think their votes count. Your paper might take these claims a step further by examining what causes people to feel this way.
2. What causes insomnia?
While there are certainly a number of health-related causes of insomnia, you might also discuss how pressures at school, at work, or in your social life might cause you to lose sleep.
3. What causes video game addiction?
I’m sure you’ve played at least a few video games in your day, but are you addicted? If you’re writing about the causes of video game addiction, think about why you like to play and what keeps you playing game after game.
4. What causes fast food restaurants to be so popular?
Whether it’s a quick meal or a late-night run for snacks, fast food restaurants are enticing. Even though fast food restaurants aren’t known for healthy options, people still love the taste and reasonable prices, so they keep going back for more.
5. How can weather cause people to be in a good (or bad) mood?
While a bright, sunny day can put you in a good mood just as easily as a rainy day can put you in a bad mood, consider that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real disorder that can affect a person’s mood and, in some cases, can cause severe depression.
6. What causes people to over-exercise or become addicted to exercise?
Most of us have dieted and exercised our way to losing a few pounds, but some people take exercise and weight loss to an extreme and exercise incessantly. These people might focus so much on their appearance and fear of being out of shape that they become addicted.
7. What are the causes of prostitution?
Teens who run away from home, people who become addicted to drugs, or those who are homeless may find themselves desperate to earn money and turn to prostitution to support themselves or their drug habits. Others may point to the idea that people are willing to pay for prostitutes. Thus, it’s the market that drives people into the world’s oldest profession and the promise of quick money.
8. What causes students to drop out of college?
Have you ever struggled in a course and thought it would just be easier to drop out? While some students may drop out because they’re struggling in courses, others might drop out due to work obligations, family obligations, or being unable to afford tuition.
9. How does online shopping cause people to spend more money?
Have you ever gone online to buy a new pair of jeans and ended up buying not only jeans, but also a new shirt, new shoes, and a new sweater? (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) Online shopping entices you to buy. And if you’re bored and have some extra cash, the convenience makes it that much easier to spend more money than you intended.
Essay topics that examine effects
10. What are the effects of divorce on children?
Many children struggle to adjust to life after their parents divorce. Kids of divorced parents may feel depressed, might act out at home or in school, and/or may struggle with relationships into adulthood.
11. What positive and/or negative effects has technology had on our lives?
This paper might discuss positives aspects, such as safety, computer or cellphone technology, and medical benefits. The paper might also discuss such negatives as Internet addiction and texting while driving.
12. What are the effects of grandparents raising a child?
In this paper, you might want to examine both the positive and negative effects. What can grandparents provide that biological parents might not? How can their experience benefit a child? What are children missing if they’re not raised by their parents?
13. What effect has feminism had on marriage?
Before feminism, men ruled. Women’s roles were limited to housewives and mothers. After women’s liberation, women’s worlds expanded, and they gained more power, not only in the workplace, but also at home. Consider how roles changed with the fact that women were no longer expected to stay at home.
14. What are the effects of growing up in a single-parent household?
Because single parents often struggle financially, consider how children’s lives may be affected if they grow up in poverty.
15. What effect does being labeled “gifted” and “talented” have on students?
While parents and educators believe that such programs are challenging and a benefit to students, children might tease or even bully kids who are labeled as “gifted” and “talented.”
16. What are the effects on student learning in a school with year-round or balanced scheduling?
Balanced schedules shorten students’ summer vacation and offer additional breaks throughout the school year in an attempt to engage students and prevent them from forgetting information. Many argue, though, that this type of scheduling doesn’t help students retain information and simply takes away the right to a childhood and summer vacation.
17. What are the effects of owning a pet on one’s health?
Have you ever had a bad day and are just happy to talk to the only one who understands you—your dog? Pets can make us feel calm, happy, and relaxed. This type of paper might even switch focus a bit to discuss the positive effects of therapy animals.
18. What effect has fracking had on the environment?
This type of paper might address the argument that fracking has been practiced safely for years. Or it might address the reported increase in earthquakes and contaminated drinking water as negative effects of fracking.
Cause and effect essay topics that focus on both cause and effect
19. What are the causes and effects of air pollution?
This essay might focus on what specific pollutants cause air pollution and how air pollution affects our health and causes, among other things, breathing problems. Or it might focus on how air pollution affects the environment, air quality, and plant or animal life.
20. What are the causes and effects of stress?
We all have those things that drive us crazy and create way too much stress in our lives, such as an annoying roommate or your girlfriend’s mom. If you’re writing about the effects of this type of stress, think about how this makes you feel. You might be angry or frustrated, but there could be long-term effects too, such as a possible increase in blood pressure.
21. What are the causes and effects of over-scheduling children?
One school of thought believes that children who are not occupied are more likely to get into trouble. Others argue that over-scheduling children causes them to be stressed and suffer emotionally due to such rigorous schedules.
22. What causes school districts to schedule longer school days, and what effect do longer school days have on student learning?
One argument is that a longer school day means more learning. Others, however, argue that longer school days are too tiring for students. They argue that students will be unable to focus and will not learn more simply because the school day is longer.
Writing the Essay
Once you’ve weeded through potential cause and effect essay topics and settled on your topic choice, it’s time to get to writing.
Even if you consider yourself to be an expert writer, it never hurts to review the basics.
Here are a handful of resources to help you get started:
So what’s the effect of all of this reading and writing? Your chances of earning a good grade on your cause and effect essay greatly increase.
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