5 Cause and Effect Essay Materials

Cause and Effect Essay Prompt

Choose one of the following questions, and answer it in an essay developed by analyzing causes or effects.   The question you decide on should concern a topic you care about so that the examples are a means of communicating an idea; not an end in themselves.

PEOPLE AND THEIR BEHAVIOR

  1. Why did one couple you know marry or divorce?
  2. Why is a particular friend or relative always getting into trouble?
  3. Why do people root for the underdog?
  4. How does a person’s alcohol or drug dependency affect others in his or her family?

ART AND ENTERTAINMENT

  1. Why do teenagers like rock music?
  2. Why is a particular television show so popular?

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

  1. Why is a college education important?
  2. Why do marriages between teenagers fail more often than marriages between people in other age groups?

EDUCATION

  1. The best courses are the difficult ones.
  2. Students at schools with enforced dress codes behave better than students at schools without such codes.

POLITICS AND SOCIAL ISSUES

  1. Drug and alcohol addiction does not happen just to “bad” people.

MEDIA AND CULTURE

  1. The Internet divides people instead of connecting them.
  2. Good art can be ugly.
  3. A craze or fad reveals something about the culture it arises in.
  4. The best rock musicians treat social and political issues in their songs.

RULES FOR LIVING

  1. Lying may be justified by the circumstances.
  2. Friends are people you can’t always trust.

 

Writing Your Cause and Effect Essay

To get started writing your essay:

  1. Review “What Is An Essay?”
  2. Take time to review possible subjects.
  3. Use prewriting to help you narrow your topic to an appropriate level of focus.

Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about it—status updates on social media websites can be a good place to start. You may have already started a “note”on Facebook, and now is your chance to develop that idea into a full narrative. If you keep a journal or diary, a simple event may unfold into a narrative. Simply said, your stories may be closer than you think!

When drafting your essay:

  1. Develop an enticing title.
  2. Use the introduction to pull the reader into your thesis with a singular experience.
  3. Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to write about the causes and effects of ____…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  4. Think of things said at the moment your perspective on the topic became clear. Perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
  5. Let the story reflect your own voice. Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?
  6. Organize the essay in a way that may capture the reader, but don’t string the reader along too much with “next, next, next.”
  7. To avoid just telling what happens, make sure you take time to show significant details and reflect on why topic – and your experience with it – is significant.

Prewriting and Draft

For this assignment, you will work through the prewriting and drafting stages of your writing process in a cause and effect essay.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Choose the writing prompt on the “Cause And Effect Essay: Writing Prompt” page.

3. Create a prewriting in the style of your choice for the prompt. Review the prewriting videos on the “My Writing Process: Prewriting and Draft” page if needed.

4. Develop a draft according to the following:

  • Minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600-750 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
  • MLA formatting (see the “Formatting Style for Papers” page as needed)
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file

*Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

Be sure to:

  • Develop an essay developed by analyzing causes or effects or the prompt
  • Decide on something you care about so that the narration is a means of communicating an idea
  • Include characters, conflict, sensory details as appropriate to help your essay come alive
  • Create a sequence of events in a plot to support the logical flow of your essay
  • Develop an enticing title
  • Use the introduction to pull the reader into your singular experience
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly (Don’t write “I am going to write about…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  • Let the essay reflect your own voice (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  • Avoid “telling” your reader about what happened. Instead, “show” what happens using active verbs and/or concrete and descriptive nouns and details.

5. Submit your prewriting and draft as a single file upload.

*If you developed your prewriting by hand on paper, scan or take a picture of your prewriting, load the image onto your computer, and then insert the image on a separate page after your draft.

Grading Rubric: Cause and Effect Essay Prewriting and Draft

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 50
Ideas

15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding idea development.

12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average idea development.

11 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.

9 pts: The paper has an idea that needs to be developed.

0 pts: There is no coherent idea.

15 pts
Content

15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.

12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.

11 pts: The paper demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.

9 pts: The paper requires more supporting evidence of the main point.

0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.

15 pts
Organization

15 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.

13 pts: The organizational structure is above average.

10 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.

8 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.

0 pts: The organization is poor.

15 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions

5 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

3 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

2 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.

1 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.

0 pts: No marks.

5 pts

 

 

Writing Community Review

For this assignment, you will need to share your Cause and Effect Essay draft with your writing community via the discussion. Then you will choose a peer’s essay from your writing community and conduct a review.

Directions:

1. View the grading rubric for this assignment as listed on this page (see below).

To post your Cause and Effect Essay draft to the discussion:

  1. Copy and paste your draft in a new Google Doc. If you aren’t familiar with Google Docs, try this resource by Google to assist you.
  2. Title the Google Doc with your first initial, last name, and Cause Effect Essay, example: RSmith Cause Effect Essay
  3. Set the share and edit permissions of the Google Doc to “Anyone with the link.”
  4. Copy and paste the URL address of the Google Doc into a new discussion post.

To review a peer’s Cause and Effect Essay in your writing community:

  1. Select the URL address of the peer’s essay from the discussion you want to review.
  2. Develop your response to your peer’s writing by focusing on each of these talking points:
  • What makes the essay memorable? What did you like best?
  • What is the meaning of the story? Why was the experience important to the writer?
  • How did the writer structure the essay? Is there a beginning, middle, and end?
  • What details may be missing and are needed for clarity?  Is there something that the writer implies but does not actually carry out in the narrative?
  • Is the essay focused at an appropriate level? Is the topic narrowed enough?
  • What specific places in the essay did your peer succeed in describing a singular event or vivid, memorable details or experiences?
  • Where might the essay need cuts, adds, or reorders?
  • Using the 6+1 Traits Rubric, are there any weaknesses in the essay that stand out?
  • Using the Dartmouth Writing Program “Attending to Grammar” link, do you recognize a grammar problem with the essay? If so, where?
  • What other supportive suggestions can you identify to improve the writing?

3. Copy and paste your response at the end of the peer’s Cause and Effect Essay in their Google Doc.

Grading Rubric: Cause and Effect Essay – Writing Community Review

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 10

Student shares their essay with the class via

Google Doc URL posted in the discussion

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

 1 pts
Student chooses a peer’s essay to review

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student addresses what makes the essay

memorable

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses the theme or meaning of the essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses essay structure

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses essay details to enhance clarity

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses singular event or vivid details in essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student addresses whether essay might need cuts,

adds, reorders

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student applies 6+1 Writing Rubric and Grammar

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student makes supportive suggestions for

improving the essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

 

 

Cause and Effect Final Draft

For this assignment, review the feedback posted from your writing community in the prior assignment: Cause and Effect Essay – Writing Community Review. Work your way through the revising and proofreading stages of your writing process, and submit your final version.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Review the feedback posted on your Google Doc from the Cause and Effect Essay – Writing Community Review.

3. Work through the revise stage of the writing process.

4. Work through the proofread stage of the writing process.

5. Create a final version of your Cause and Effect Essay according to the following:

  • 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600-750 words), 12 pt font size, Times New Roman;
  • MLA formatting (see the “Formatting Style for Papers” page as needed); and
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file.

*Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

6. Submit your final version of your Cause and Effect Essay as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Cause and Effect Essay – Final

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 100
Ideas

30 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding idea development.

24 pts: The paper demonstrates above average idea development.

22 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.

18 pts: The paper has an idea that needs to be developed.

0 pts: There is no coherent idea.

30 pts
Content

30 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.

24 pts: The paper demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.

22 pts: The paper demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.

18 pts: The paper requires more supporting evidence of the main point.

0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.

30 pts
Organization

30 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.

26 pts: The organizational structure is above average.

20 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.

16 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.

0 pts: The organization is poor.

30 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions

10 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

6 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

4 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.

2 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.

0 pts: No marks.

10 pts

 

 

Reflection

Now that you have completed your Cause and Effect Essay, take a few minutes to reflect on the experience and write about your process and what you learned. Write a reflection on your Cause and Effect Essay writing experience using complete sentences.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Consider the following questions.

  • What was most the challenging aspect of creating this essay?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a writer?
  • What might you do differently the next time you write this type of essay knowing what you know now after writing this essay?

3.  Write your reflection on each question listed above, using complete sentences. Your final reflection assignment should fit the following guidelines:

  • 1-1.5 typed, double-spaced pages, 12 pt font size, Times New Roman;
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file.

4. Submit your reflections as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Cause and Effect Essay – Reflection

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 15

Student writes a thoughtful response to each question using complete sentences.

Assignment adheres to formatting guidelines.

For each question:

5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

15 pts

 

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English Composition I by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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