Cause and Effect Writing Definitions and Essay Format Definitions



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Cause and Effect Writing

  • Definitions and Essay Format

Definitions

  • Cause
  • why something happens; the action that makes something else happen.
  • Effect is what happens because of the cause, the outcome or result.
  • I left my shoes on the floor, so my dog chewed them up
  • Cause Effect

Transitions

  • For causes: because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second
  • For Effects: consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

  • 1) Distinguish between cause and effect. To determine causes, ask, "Why did this happen?" To identify effects, ask, "What happened because of this?“
  • The following is an example of one cause producing one effect: Cause You are out of gas. Effect Your car won't start.
  • 2) Develop your thesis statement. State clearly whether you are discussing causes, effects, or both. Introduce your main idea, using the terms "cause" and/or "effect."

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

  • 3) Find and organize supporting details. Back up your thesis with relevant and sufficient details that are organized. You can organize details in the following ways:
    • Chronological. Details are arranged in the order in which the events occurred.
    • Order of importance. Details are arranged from least to most important or vice versa.
    • Categorical. Details are arranged by dividing the topic into parts or categories.

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

  • When writing your essay, keep the following suggestions in mind:
    • Remember your purpose. Decide if your are writing to inform or persuade.
    • Use appropriate transitions for clarity.
    • Focus on immediate and direct causes (or effects.) Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly.
    • Strengthen your essay by using supporting evidence. Define terms, offer facts and statistics, or provide examples, anecdotes, or personal observations that support your ideas.

Introduction: Hook

  • Hook: Open up your essay in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading. Refer to Hooks and Grabbers handout.
  • Remember to choose a hook that is appropriate for a cause and effect essay. (Approximately 1-2 sentences depending on the type of hook.)

Introduction: Link

  • Link: Background information on your topic.
  • General to Specific!
  • Define and/or explain. (Approximately 2-3 sentences).
    • Possible details to include in link:

Introduction: Thesis Statement

  • Thesis Statement: Thesis= Topic+ 3 Main Points.
  • You thesis is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • Your thesis should be the final sentence of your introductory paragraph.
  • One sentence only!

Sample Introductory Paragraph

  • “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” These motivational words were declared by Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, during a time when both the American people and the economy were in turmoil. The Great Depression was the worst economic depression in United States’ history that began in 1929 and lasted through 1939, ending with the commencing of World War II. The failure of banks and the Stock Market Crash of 1929 led to The Great Depression, which had many drastic effects on American lives including a sudden increase in the unemployment rate; the exploding popularity of Hollywood; and finally the solution that ended the country’s plight, Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Introduction

  • Task: Identify the components of the introduction paragraph:
  • Hook Underline and Identify type of hook.
  • Link Circle the link.
  • Thesis Put a box around thesis.

Body Paragraphs

  • Transition + Topic Sentence (State first cause and effect relationship)
  • Be sure to keep your topic sentence general.
  • Example:
  • In addition, Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding in downtown New Orleans.

Body Paragraphs Details to Support

  • Facts and Details to Support
  • (Minimum of 5 sentences-Maximum of 8 sentences)
  • Be sure to include transitions within the paragraph.
  • Use quoted and paraphrased information to support your topic sentence.

Summarizing, Quoting, and Paraphrasing

  • Quotations must be identical to the original. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
  • Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

Paraphrasing

  • A paraphrase is...
  • your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
  • one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
  • a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.

Six Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

  • 1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
  • 2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
  • 3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
  • 4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
  • 5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
  • 6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.

Paraphrasing Example from the Purdue Writing Center

  • The original passage:
  • Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

Legitimate Paraphrase

  • The original passage:
  • Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
  • A legitimate paraphrase:
  • In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

Plagiarized Version

  • The original passage:
  • Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
  • A plagiarized version:
  • Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

Sample Body Paragraph

  • In addition to rising unemployment rates, the entertainment industry also felt the effects of the Great Depression. People escaped the somber and disheartening mood that the Depression inflicted by taking part in inexpensive entertainment. One activity that was very popular was marathon dancing. Many unemployed people competed in the contests in order to achieve fame or win prize money; however, contestants would have to dance for as long as nine months (Schultz 55-56). Additionally, contestants received food, shelter, and quality entertainment. Another popular escape from reality was the movies. Even at the deepest depths of the Depression, 60 to 80 million Americans attended movies each week. Gangster films, comedies, and musicals were among the most preferred choices of the American people. These inexpensive forms of entertainment provided people with a brief departure from the trials and tribulations that filled their lives during the Depression (Smith 24).

Conclusion Paragraph

  • Begin with a transition that indicates you are concluding your essay.
    • In conclusion
    • Conclusively
    • In summary
    • Your first sentence should restate your thesis. Thesis should be different from introduction.
    • The next three sentences should summarize your three main cause and effect relationships.
    • Finally, you should end your essay with a closing statement (the Hooks and Grabbers sheet can apply).

Label the Paragraph

  • Transition- draw a box around it
  • Restate thesis- label thesis
  • Three topic sentences- label Body#1, Body #2, and Body #3
  • Closing statement- label closing statement

Conclusion Sample Paragraph

    • In conclusion, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the failure of banks both led to a dark and dreary time in America’s history, now known as the Great Depression. The onset of the depression caused the unemployment rate to skyrocket, leaving many unable to financially support themselves. In order to relieve themselves from their daily struggles, many people turned to Hollywood as a form of cheap entertainment. Finally, President Roosevelt was able to help the nation recover with his New Deal, a plan that created jobs and government organizations that helped stimulate the economy. Through this dismal chapter in American history, the nation learned to persevere, prosper, and eventually triumph to become the powerful and proud country that we are today.


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