Cause and Effect


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The Structure of a Cause-and-Effect Essay

Go over your essay a few times to ensure everything is good, logic and clear — this is the key to essay writing success! With Splitit, you have 14 days to think over!

When you visit our website, we enable cookies to give you the best experience. By staying here, you agree with it. Order Now. Sign in. Move step by step Create a good outline.

If you do not know anything about the topic which has been assigned to you, then start with researching. You need to present a phenomenon; trend or some event and it will be your cause. Explain its background so that your readers can understand and outline the essay. It actually depends: you may either set up one effect and many causes or many effects caused by one thing. Write introduction. Explain the cause in your essay and the reasons why it is important to understand the effects. The purpose of this step is to state the purpose of the essay and explain the issues from scratch. The conclusion of this paragraph will actually be your thesis.

Give a brief preview on the main body of your essay. Remember that it should prove your thesis statement. Provide arguments. For all your causes and effects you need to bring strong arguments.

The Systems Thinker – Cause and Effect - The Systems Thinker

Develop at least three ones and they will be your main points. Explaining effects you need to refer to the causes in order to make connections. Each your argument should be backed up with a couple of factual statements. Keep it short because your readers can become confused with many points. Structure the content. Depending on your main points the essay will have a number of paragraphs. Each of them should describe one argument feature and a certain effect of the cause or vice versa.

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Sentences should go smoothly and contain a clear description and analysis between cause and effect. Sum up. The conclusion is usually one of most important components of the essay. You need to leave a good impression and summarize the analysis given in the main body. However, as they pointed out, you cannot simply say that age causes the effect of making people into better students.

Such a simplistic assumption is called a spurious relationship, the process of 'leaping to conclusions. In fact, there is a whole host of reasons why a mature student performs better: they have more life experience and confidence, and many feel that it is their last chance to succeed; my graduation year included a year-old man, and nobody studied harder! Mature students may well have made a great financial sacrifice, so they are a little more determined to succeed. Establishing cause and effect is extremely difficult in this case, so the researchers interpreted the results very carefully.

Another example is the idea that because people who eat a lot of extra virgin olive oil live for longer, olive oil makes people live longer. While there is some truth behind this, you have to remember that most regular olive oil eaters also eat a Mediterranean diet, have active lifestyles, and generally less stress.

These also have a strong influence, so any such research program should include studies into the effect of these - this is why a research program is not always a single experiment but often a series of experiments. One of the biggest threats to internal validity through incorrect application of cause and effect is the 'history' threat. This is where another event actually caused the effect noticed, rather than your treatment or manipulation.

Most researchers perform a pre-test upon a group, administer the treatment and then measure the post-test results pretest-posttest-design.


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If the results are better, it is easy to assume that the treatment caused the result, but this is not necessarily the case. For example, take the case of an educational researcher wishing to measure the effect of a new teaching method upon the mathematical aptitude of students. They pre-test, teach the new program for a few months and then posttest. Results improve, and they proclaim that their program works. However, the research was ruined by a historical threat: during the course of the research, a major television network released a new educational series called 'Maths made Easy,' which most of the students watched.

This influenced the results and compromised the validity of the experiment.

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Fortunately, the solution to this problem is easy: if the researcher uses a two group pretest-posttest design with a control group , the control group will be equally influenced by the historical event, so the researcher can still establish a good baseline. There are a number of other 'single group' threats, but establishing a good control driven study largely eliminates these threats to causality.

Social threats are a big problem for social researchers simply because they are one of the most difficult of the threats to minimize. These types of threats arise from issues within the participant groups or the researchers themselves. In an educational setting, with two groups of children, one treated and one not, there are a number of potential issues. These social effects are extremely difficult to minimize without creating other threats to internal validity.

For example, using different schools is one idea, but this can lead to other internal validity issues, especially because the participant groups cannot be randomized. In reality, this is why most social research programs incorporate a variety of different methods and include more than one experiment, to establish the potential level of these threats and incorporate them into the interpretation of the data. Multiple group threats are a danger to causality caused by differences between two or more groups of participants. The main example of this is selection bias , or assignment bias, where the two groups are assigned unevenly, perhaps leaving one group with a larger proportion of high achievers.

This will skew the results and mask the effects of the entire experiment. While there are other types of multiple group threat, they are all subtypes of selection bias and involve the two groups receiving different treatment. If the groups are selected from different socio-economic backgrounds, or one has a much better teacher, this can skew the results. Without going into too much detail, the only way to reduce the influence of multiple group threats is through randomization , matched pairs designs or another assignment type.

Cause and Effect Worksheets

As can be seen, establishing cause and effect is one of the most important factors in designing a robust research experiment. One of the best ways to learn about causality is through experience and analysis - every time you see some innovative research or findings in the media, think about what the results are trying to tell you and whether the researchers are justified in drawing their conclusions. This does not have to be restricted to 'hard' science, because political researchers are the worst habitual offenders.


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Archaeology, economics and market research are other areas where cause and effect is important, so should provide some excellent examples of how to establish cause and effect. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Sep 20, Establishing Cause and Effect.

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