In this kind of essay, the aim is to explain the causes (reasons) or the effects (results) of an event or situation.
e.g. Causes of air pollution (multiple factors leading to air pollution).
e.g. Effects of watching too much TV (many effects of a situation).
Sometimes an event causes something to happen, and that situation leads to another event, and it causes another event to happen. This is called the causal chain or domino effect.
e.g. Use of deodorants will bring the end of the world.
There may be several causes or effects of a situation. However, in a student essay, it is advisable to keep the number of major points to 2 or 3, which form separate developmental paragraphs.
Depending on the topic, there may be three patterns of organization:
1. Multiple causes–>effect
In this pattern, the organization is as follows:
Thesis statement: Air pollution is caused by the following factors: exhaust gases from cars, uncontrolled factory releases, and burning of low-quality coal for heating.
I. exhaust gases from cars
A. government does not have enough control
B. citizens are not conscientious
II. uncontrolled factory gases
A. no regular checks on gases released
B. factories are inside the borders of residential areas
III. burning of low-quality coal for heating
A. no governmental control
B. other forms of energy too expensive
Each developmental paragraph is devoted to one of the causes of air pollution. Each cause is supported by two minor supports. While writing, these major and minor ideas should be adequately explained and exemplified as well.
2. Cause–>Multiple effects
In this pattern, the effects of a certain situation are explained in separate paragraphs, with the following organization:
Thesis statement: Watching too much TV is one of the major sociological issues of this century, which has many effects on the physiology and psychology of people.
I. eating disorders
A. TV meals
II. communication problems
A. more violence
B. no interpersonal talk.
Again, we have grouped related effects under two main points: physiological and psychological. Then, we have supported each effect with two minor supports (A and B). While writing, we should explain these major and minor supports by giving examples and/or defining what we mean, as well.
3. Causal chain / Domino
In this pattern, the events lead to one another, as in the following organization:
Thesis statement: Using deodorants with chlorofluorocarbon gas will bring the end of world.
I. Chlorofluorocarbon gases are contained in most deodorants and released by some factories into the air.
II. This gas causes the ozone layer to become thinner and finally disappear in patches.
III. The unfiltered ultraviolet rays of the sun cause overheating in the poles of the earth, where the icebergs start to melt.
IV. The huge amount of water released from the poles leads to a rise in the sea-level.
V. The sea will cover the land and this will be the end of the world.
Again, each major point should be supported with examples, statistics that show that there are some factories and deodorants that release chlorofluorocarbons, that there is a rise in the sea-level, etc.
To explain reasons and results, we use:
As a result,
As a consequence,
One reason why…
One of the most important reasons why…
The main reasons why…
There are other reasons, too,…
Do not forget that using transitions (transitional tags) enables the piece of writing to be coherent; it is easier for the reader to follow our ideas when transitions are used to link them together. However, overuse of transitions causes a traffic jam and should be avoided. We should be using transitions sparingly (only when necessary).