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Cause and Effect Essay Outline — Successful Writing Tips

Dec 11, 2019

A cause and effect essay is a task assigned to students of most schools and educational stages. There are various cause-effect essay writing guides available today, but we'll focus on the outlining part.

The variety of materials you can use while preparing this assignment is wide since you can cover many aspects. But, there's one issue that students often neglect. In this guide, we'd like to tell you more about the cause-effect essay outlining and give you some guidelines and examples. But first, let us recall the basics and start from the main point of this specific assignment.

An essay in which you work with causes or effects explores the causal link of subjects under study. You might focus on the causality of a certain event with today's burning issue. Or you can analyze the causes provoked a certain phenomenon. During the process of writing, you should maintain the logic of narration and make sure that you formulate all the thoughts coherently. The writer needs to ensure the following:

  • Well-formulated introduction and conclusion that "frame" the body paragraphs.
  • Clear thesis statement emphasizing the causes and effects picked as the focus of an essay.
  • Topic sentence for every paragraph to separate every major idea into individual sections.
  • Smooth transitions between paragraphs to ensure a logical flow of the writing.

It is possible to fulfill all these requirements with the help of a cause and effect essay outline. Hence, it's time to have a closer look at it.

Cause-Effect Essay Outline — Main Features

The way you build an outline may change your text quite a lot. Some learners might compose it after the essay is written. That way, they can notice that a couple of paragraphs from the assignment need improving. Most students jot down an outline before starting to write cause and effect analysis. With such an approach, you can be more accurate with the data that is necessary to provide.

An outline is meant to help you cope with your academic paper. While creating it, you must think through all the details regarding the essay structure, reference sources, relevant examples, and credible facts. With a good outline, you can check if you have covered all the vital points and arrange the details well. Also, it's important that you understand the purpose of a cause-effect assignment — an outline will let you see whether the text's aim was reached. It's a sort of checklist, and all you need is to tick boxes.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Outline

As for the structure — you will have an introduction with a hook, central part with at least three sections, and a summarizing conclusion. But let's focus on the outline creation process. Your chances of success can be higher if you:

  • List the main points (structure parts) of your assignment.
  • Add sub-points to show the content of the paragraphs.
  • Name the points according to the main messages they convey.
  • Maintain the logical interconnection of the essay elements.

But, the community of academia will appreciate your efforts more if you maintain the specifics of the assignments because each of them has particular features and standards. And, since we're talking about a cause and effect paper, here are several recommendations:

  • The introduction in your outline may include a thesis statement as a sub-point to show what particular causality you're going to describe.
  • Each element of a body part in your outline can be named as a sentence stating one cause/one effect.
  • If writing an outline for yourself, you may add more sub-points to central paragraphs and add more commentaries on what examples or facts you can show to add more credibility to your paper.

Now, you're aware of what a cause and effect outline is about and can try preparing it yourself. And, for your convenience, we offer two outline examples with some explanations.

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Cause and Effect Outline Examples

First, decide on the cause and effect topics to paint a more precise image of the finished paper. Below, you can find two examples of topics and their respective outlines.

The first one is focused around the question — what are the effects of bullying? Here, we'll opt for a rather generalized example and describe the basic information you should know about cause and effect outlining.

Topic: The effects of bullying among students

From the topic, we can see the essay will be mostly about effects, not causes.

  • Introduction
    • Attention getter
    • Thesis statement — The unresolved bullying issue at schools may have dangerous consequences.
    • Introducing arguments
    • Transition

In the introductory section, you let the audience know that after reading this type of cause and effect paper, they'll have a better understanding of what bullying can lead to. Here, you prepare the grounds. In an outline, don't skip formulating the thesis statement (set the aim of your text) and, for smooth development of your ideas, indicate the arguments (effects) you 're going to describe in your essay. That will make your outline expansive.

  • Argument one. Short-term psychological effects of bullying.
    • Explaining the arguments, providing evidence.
    • Transition.
  • Argument two. Long-term psychological effects of bullying.
    • Explaining the argument.
    • Transition.
  • Argument three. The effect bullying has on school performance.
    • Explaining the argument.
    • Transition.

When outlining the body paragraphs, the plan is simple — state the point, back it, and move to the next point. We suggest you indicate every step in your outline to avoid any redundant data and provide enough reliable evidence for your every argument. As for the arrangement of the causes/effects, you can go:

  • From the most important to the minor
  • From the most obvious to latent

Provide transitional sentences after every paragraph in your main section because that is one of the main features of this assignment — use words because, consequently, next, afterward, etc. To avoid confusion, write down this transition element as a sentence you're going to use.

  • Conclusion
    • Go through the arguments provided
    • Ideas on effects prevention (optional)

Always include the "revision" point in your outline — that won't let you forget about the need of wrapping things up. There shouldn't be any new data in your concluding part. Sometimes you can mention any possible solution for cause and effect problem, but only if that doesn't require in-depth explanations. We advise you just to provoke some thought in the readers' heads and not to burden them with even more facts.

And here is another outline example but without all those notes.

Topic: Unreasonable Consumption as the Main Cause of Global Warming

  • Introduction. The issue of over-consumption hurts the environment.
    • Every day we spend $100 on different aspects of our life, but not everything we buy is a necessity.
    • Even the smallest bought items matter. Each year, about 8 million plastic bottles end up swimming in the ocean.
    • Unreasonable consumption is a leader among the causes of global warming.
  • Body paragraphs
    • The way we eat. Up to 20% of greenhouse gas is produced by animal agriculture.
    • The way we go shopping. We buy clothes we don't need and throw away 80 pounds of our "looks" every year.
    • The way we live. A constant desire to have more doesn't let us enjoy what we have and appreciate the simplicity.
  • Conclusion. It can be hard to make the right choice and change our lifestyle at once. But, if everyone starts approach consumption reasonable, we'll have higher chances to save our planet for future generations.

The outline samples above illustrate some strategies you can apply while drafting a cause-effect essay.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

If you don't know where to start, look through the topics and ideas below. Here, we've gathered some prompts that will help you find an inspiration or formulate your own statement.

  • Lack of communication in a family can become the main reason for divorce.
  • The idealization of skinny models by TV-shows causes mental disorders in teens.
  • Why do people start smoking, and is it possible to find alternatives to this bad habit?
  • How can a pet become a meaning of life for someone desperate?
  • Social changes that can cause positive improvement in modern societies.
  • Insufficient sex education and the effects it may have on future generations.
  • How the way people learn language affect the way they speak?
  • Low level of moral leads to poverty in all its manifestations.

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