What is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay examines events and ideas in terms of reasons or chains behind something happening (cause) and subsequently explores the consequences or results (effect).  When figuring out the cause, the writer asks themselves why the particular occurrence or incident happened, and when establishing the effect, asks what happened because of it or what events it led to.

The introduction should present the topic or event in question, and briefly state the scope of your analysis, providing your reader with a clear thesis you will set out to prove.

The body of the essay then sets out all causes and effects relevant to the subject, either ranging from most to least significant, or vice versa. Depending on the particular subject, the amount of causes and effects will vary, and you may decide to focus on one cause contributing to one effect, several causes contributing to one effect, one cause contributing to several effects, or on a chain of causes and effects.

The conclusion should reflect on the causes and effects illustrated in the body, and bring the essay to a close. The aim is to draw conclusions and cement the relationship between the discussed causes and effects.


  • Explore the causes and effects of a disease or condition like Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, high blood pressure, and other risk factors affect insulin production and functionality, which ultimately leads to Type 2 Diabetes (causes). Type 2 Diabetes can lead to health complications such as coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, and weakened vision (effects).
  • Examine a social problem or historical issue, such as the Great Depression. Discuss what led to the stock market crash, what effects it had, how the depression came about, and the effects it had such as businesses failing, poverty, joblessness, and personal issues.


  • Choose a topic that sparks your interest and encourages your analysis.
  • Consider the short term and long term, and the minor and major causes and effects.
  • Narrow down a broad subject into the most important causes and effects and break them down into categories to help you manage them.
  • Cater your focus to the required length of your essay. A shorter essay will require greater selectiveness and summarization, while a longer essay gives you more room and range. Make sure you’re not taking on too much.
  • Clarity, structure, and successfully demonstrating connections should be your focus. Don’t feel like you have to condense the entire subject.

Posted by November 22nd, 2016