Supporting Details in the Cause-and-Effect Analysis

Supporting Details in the Cause-and-Effect Analysis
Supporting Details in the Cause-and-Effect Analysis

When you start to decide what types of details to include in your cause-and-effect analysis, first think carefully about the thesis. Are you focusing solely on the causes of the event? Are you only looking at the effects of the event? Or does your thesis examine both causes and effects?

Using different patterns of development, especially exemplification, description and process analysis, can be helpful in determining your supporting details. As you write your essay, you will want to use exemplification to clarify the various causes and/or effects you are including.

Description will also come in very handy; for instance, in the letter to the editor example above, you could describe the grim conditions of the overcrowded roads. Finally, process analysis can help you to clearly lay out a chain of causes and/or effects. In Parrish’s essay, for instance, she describes how having kids actively receive a financial education will lead to kids and young adults who have more confidence in their abilities, which ultimately will lead to more financially responsible adults.

As you plan your cause-and-effect essay, you need to remember that events generally don’t have a singular cause and a singular effect. Instead, most events in life are complicated and have multiple causes and effects.

Therefore, you need to reason through the causal analysis carefully and make sure you are not omitting any important causes or effects, which could mislead your reader. If all the causes and effects are not equally important, though, there’s no need to develop each one in equal detail.

As you develop your essay, you may also want to include a causal chain. Causal chains show how one cause leads to an effect, which then becomes a cause, and then turns into another effect, and so on. The Writing Center at Del Mar College shows how this process works. For instance, a simplistic cause-and-effect analysis would show the following:

Cause: Your car is out of gas

Effect: Your car won't start

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