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ENC 1101: Composition - Professor Miranda: Cause & Effect Essay

This guide was created to support Professor Miranda's ENC 1101 course

Typewriter with ENC 1101 and the word Composition

The Assignment

Cause and Effect

  • Write a cause-and-effect essay (focusing more on either the causes or effects), not related to your 2 historical figures, about a historical event. 
  • Each writer must select a different historical event to write about and add to the class list. 
  • Use the MDC databases and do not limit your search to articles, use other resources as journals, videos, etc.  

Conventions of Historic Writing

  • History papers are always written in past tense
  • 1960s not 1960's
  • Do not use first person or second person (I, we, you, us). Unless stating an opinion, the paper should be fact-based and objective
  • No contractions
  • Do not use fragments or run-on sentences
  • A full paragraph is at least 3-5 sentences 
  • Paragraphs should not be more than about 3/4 of a page.  A one-page or one-and-a-half page paragraph is too long
  • Do not use abbreviations
  • Do not use slang
  • Be specific; do not use words such as thing, a lot, get, so, like
  • Spell out numbers that can be written as one or two words (Ex: "three" or "thirty-three")

Cause & Effect Essays

A successful cause and effect essay requires a strong understanding of the order in which historical events occurred.  Essentially, what was the cause of the event, and what were the consequences of that event? Cause and effect papers should analyze the reasons for the event and the results of that event.  Your paper may focus primarily on causes, primarily on effects, or a combination of both. 

Start by selecting an event in which you are interested.  To understand the causes of the event, create a timeline of events that occurred prior to the event you have chosen. This will help organize your chronology and establish the most significant causes of the event. To understand the effects of the event, brainstorm what changed as a result of the event.

Content of the Cause and Effect Essay

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction with thesis statement. In your introduction, briefly explain or summarize the subject, book, or figures.  
    • For the cause and effect essay, introduce us to the event you selected.
    • A thesis statement is an argument. What is your position? How can you prove your position?
  • Paragraphs 2, 3, 4: Body.  Prove your argument with specific examples and evidence. 
    • If focusing more on causes, paragraphs two and three would present your two major causes in chronological order. The fourth paragraph could be the event itself or consequences of the event.
    • If focusing only on causes, all body paragraphs would present your major causes in chronological order.
    • If focusing more on effects, paragraph two could be the event itself. Paragraphs three and four would explain the consequences of the event.
    • If focusing only on effects, all body paragraphs would present your major effects in chronological order.
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion.  Restate your main points and why they are important.