How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay: Step by Step Guide

posted by Laura Callisen 08 Nov 2023
Table of contents:

Every professor expects students to know how to write a cause and effect essay. They might explain, but if you’re here, then this explanation wasn’t sufficient. Don’t be concerned, as our guide will answer each question you might have in less than ten minutes. We got some of our best experts to combine their experience and share their insights with students. If you aren’t interested in gaining them and want quick help, contact us and tell us, “Please write my essay on a specific topic.” But if you’re determined to do it personally, look at our guide, see examples scattered throughout this text, and by the end of it, your knowledge of how to write such an essay will be absolute.

Cause and Effect Writing and Its Purpose

What is the cause and effect essay? It’s a paper exploring reasons and their results; you must identify factors that lead to a specific consequence and underline the logical connection between them. Professors love assigning this task to their students because it stimulates their critical thinking, as few other exercises do. Students often come to us for critical thinking writing help, so we know what to do.

You have to choose a topic, research it, understand why it happened, and explain this process from its inception to its implications. Connecting points and educating yourself along with your readers is the central goal of this assignment. It might be complex and boring, especially if you choose the wrong topic, but with some knowledge and patience, you’ll be a master before you know it.

Six Steps that Will Help Prepare You for Successful Essay Writing

Before and when they’re writing cause and effect essays, students must cover several productive writing stages. There are only six of them. Each of them is simple, and together, they form an impressive paper.

  1. Brainstorm and come up with a topic. Sometimes students receive a prompt from their professor. In this case, they might look for an article review writing service because they have no interest in reading the assigned article, never mind reviewing it. But if you’re free to make your own choices, decide on a unique topic for your cause-and-effect paper, something you find truly curious. Brainstorm by going through your interests, speaking with friends, or browsing online topics for perfection. Remember that you must have both a cause plus an effect for exploring.
  2. Make up a strong thesis. Thesis plays such an important role in writing that students have to develop it first and foremost. Inside a standard cause and effect essay structure, the thesis will take place at the end of the introduction. It’s a summary of your paper confined to just one single sentence. It should be powerful, and it must directly engage your readers in your argument. We’re going to give you an example. Our chosen essay topic is “The Impact that Unhealthy Dynamics in a Family Have on a Person’s Future Romantic Relationships.” A possible thesis could be:  “Unhealthy family dynamics cause people to have unsatisfying romantic relationships in their future, as obvious in the example of Vivien from the regarded case study.”
  3. Arrange points from the thesis into body paragraphs. The next step lies in placing each aspect of your thesis into its own cause and effect paragraph. We suggest creating an outline: it is a quick process, and it will hardly take you ten minutes, but its value will last for as long as you’re working on a final version of your essay. Outlines ground you; they preserve your ideas and remind you of them any time they begin to slip your mind. Create it, make it of any length, and you’ll see how much it simplifies your life later.
  4. Create your first draft. Most students are impatient to know how to start a cause and effect essay: they don’t want to waste their time on drafts. Unfortunately, it’s an important step that we wholeheartedly recommend you follow. Writing a draft takes maybe an hour, but once you do it, you’ll leave the hardest steps behind. It won’t be difficult to expand your already-crafted points, add quotes from relevant research, and polish any rough edges. Checking which of these nuances are necessary is what students should do next.
  5. Review it in search of any issues. Check the draft of your cause and effect research paper thoroughly. Identify any problems with it. Some points may sound weak; some paragraphs are more convincing than others, or the conclusion is ineffective. If you need, take a break and return to re-reading your essay.
  6. Correct them and expand the draft. At this stage, you can finally focus on writing your cause and effect expository essay. Correct every weakness you identified during previous steps in your draft and start working on each paragraph, starting with the introduction. Add details to your ideas, create links, and elaborate on conclusions. Ensure your word count corresponds to the number of words your professor requires.

Structure of a Cause and Effect Essay

The cause-and-effect paper doesn’t differ from any other essay in structure. It must have at least three well-defined paragraphs: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion should constitute about 10% of your word count. Start your introduction with a hook: it’s the very first sentence. It must be impressive, and it should awaken curiosity in your audience. After that, describe your topic’s background. Mention how an issue emerged and which causes commonly contribute to it. You already know how to write a cause and effect thesis — it comes last in the introduction, and it must create a layout for your future exploration.

The body is the most responsible part. It’s heavy with content, and it must begin with a special opening sentence that links back to the thesis statement. Never include direct quotes in it: make it clear what your paragraph will focus on. Afterward, introduce research and explanations, and cite sources you use correctly. Finish it with a closing sentence that summarizes what you’ve just discussed. If you face problems at any stage, consult our college paper writing service at any time. The conclusion is the final section that must remind readers of your thesis and the major outcomes you’ve reached. Specify the connection between your reason and its effect.

Types of Cause and Effect Papers You Could Pick

Unless college professors specify their requirements, students could choose their preferred cause and effect essay format. There are three kinds of it. We’ll discuss them all while giving you some quick examples:

  • Effect-Focused Essay. In these papers, the effect dominates the entire show. While students should still discuss causes, most of their attention goes toward what consequences they have. Imagine a topic about the problem of drinking coffee often. A cause would be excessive coffee drinking, while the effect would be insomnia, irritability, and headaches. In such an essay, students would have to discuss the issue of coffee drinking in one paragraph before moving on to its effects, exploring them in detail, and dedicating a separate paragraph to each.
  • Cause-Focused Essay. In the cause and effect essay definition, no focus goes toward a specific part, but if you want to concentrate on a cause in particular, nothing is stopping you. Take a topic about inefficient policies at school leading to aggravated incidents of bullying among students. If you plan on emphasizing the policies, do it by listing each of them and dedicating several paragraphs to them. Mention the bullying as the result of such policies quickly, without stopping to expand it or go into details.
  • Casual Chain Method Essay. This is an interesting model that allows students to describe causes and effects one by one, alternating between them repeatedly. Instead of focusing on a certain cause or a specific consequence, you build a whole chain of them. Here is a fitting scenario: your colleague fell sick, and you had to take up their work shift; because of this, you didn’t have time to do your homework, so you decided to get essays for sale from experts. Your colleague’s illness is a cause that led to extra work for you — this is one chain of cause and effect; an insufficient amount of free time resulted in you ordering your paper from third parties. This is a second chain of causes and effects.

Pick any model from above. They are all efficient.

Example of Your Cause and Effect Outline

Hopefully, you know why outlines are crucial by now. We want to give you an even more explicit idea by sharing an outline for our hypothetical essay. It’s going to mention every key part of the ideal paper structure briefly:


Hook: “Wounds left in a childhood continue to fester decades after they were inflicted.”

Background: Research shows that children who grow up surrounded by unhealthy dynamics are usually incapable of forming healthy romantic relationships in adulthood.

Thesis statement: Unhealthy dynamics within families cause people to have unsatisfying romantic relationships in their future, as obvious in the example of Vivien from the regarded case study.

Body paragraph: Proving how people with childhood traumas struggle with forming solid romantic bonds on the example of a case study.


As a case study showed, having toxic relationships in one’s childhood leaves a negative impact on a person’s ability to build their own healthy family.

Five Ideas of Topics for Your Cause and Effect Paper

If you need ideas for your essay on cause and effects, we have a couple of suggestions. Here are five topics that could inspire you. We offered explanations for them, too, to help you make your decision more easily.

  • How Writing Fanfiction Can Affect People’s Skills

Explore how writing fanfiction is a cause that has different effects on people, such as improving their writing skills, helping them learn a new language, preparing them for criticism, and so on.

  • The Effect PTSD Has on Sleep Patterns

Focus on PTSD or its effects, like insomnia and nightmares. You could also focus on both to the same degree.

  • How Serial Killers Are Made

Trace the link between abusive childhood and violence that progresses in some abused children, with them going after animals first, then moving on to people.

  • What Led Hitler toward Power

Describe what caused Hitler to nearly succeed in conquering half of the world, such as weak global policies, the stupidity of the USSR, and the greediness of the USA.

  • Why It Might Be Difficult for Rabbits to Bond with Humans

Emphasize that rabbits are prey animals and their nature affects their attitude toward humans, making them scared and wary.

Practical Cause and Effect Essays Examples

Our collection of samples has numerous cause-and-effect papers, all free. You can find them on different topics and see how they should sound. If you are too impatient, we present an immediate short sample below. It focuses on the topic we already introduced about unhealthy childhood complicating people’s ability to build romantic relationships.

Wounds left in childhood continue to fester decades after they were inflicted. Research by Miliens (2022) shows that children who grew up surrounded by unhealthy dynamics usually cannot form healthy romantic relationships in adulthood. They might become abusers by themselves, manipulating their partners and creating another cycle of toxic communication. Unhealthy family dynamics cause people to have unsatisfying romantic relationships in the future, as obvious in the example of Vivien from the regarded case study.

The case study focusing on a girl named Vivien demonstrates that children who do not have healthy role models might be unable to create a positive romantic bond as they mature. According to Miliens (2022), children are extremely vulnerable to influence. He performed a case study, and one of its participants was Vivien, aged 21. As a child, she had a domineering mother and an obedient father who did everything his wife told him. He was working, cooking, and cleaning the house while the mother was focused on her hobbies. Vivien did not receive sufficient attention from either of her parents and when she was 18, she began a relationship of her own. She expected her boyfriend to do everything and cater to her every whim; instead of communicating her feelings, she tried to give commands. When her boyfriend disagreed, she shouted, cried, and threatened suicide, which is a common manipulation technique (Miliens, 2022). Thus, after watching the unhealthy dynamic between her parents, Vivien tried to enforce the same model on her boyfriend, creating a new cycle of abuse.

Children who watched their parents engage in unhealthy relationships often cannot build an appropriate relationship themselves. Vivien’s example from a case study by Miliens (2022) proves it. Toxic role models she observed in her childhood became the cause that brought the negative effect of her creating a failing relationship in her adulthood. Therapy might be helpful in addressing these problems in such people.

Enjoy Writing Your Paper Now that You Have Knowledge for It

You know how to write a cause and effect essay introduction; you understand what the body entails and what steps to take to craft a compelling paper. If we answered all your questions, start creating right away. Consult our experts if you need more tangible help or advice, and keep our guide close because it belongs to you now. Let it help you complete your homework effectively.

Laura Callisen

Blog writer for GrabMyEssay


Hello there! I am Laura Callisen, and I fancy myself to be a modern “Renaissance person.” I suppose my 30-something self began my incredible journey after having been born in Stavanger, Norway and then immigrating to the U.S. (Utah, actually) at the age of 5. I am certain that this change was more of a cultural “shock” for my parents than for me, because I quickly mastered the language and was clever enough to “play the game” of public education in America. After graduating from Skyline High School, where I spent two years as the school newspaper editor, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Utah was a natural culmination of my love for writing.

My inclination to be socially conscious led me to lots of community outreach and volunteering during my college years, especially in the areas of educational and housing improvement for the poor and a number of environmental crusades. My passion for philosophy and travel have now taken over, and I am enthralled with the widely varied value systems of all cultures in which I can immerse myself, if only temporarily. My life as a freelance writer allows a freedom I never want to sacrifice for a stuffy office!

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