Essential Information Length: at least 700 words; no more than 1,500 words. Form

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Feb 21, 2023


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Essential Information
Length: at least 700 words; no more than 1,500 words.
Format: MLA style, 9th ed.
Genre: Causal Analysis, Cause/ Effect Analysis, OR Effect Analysis
Audience: Educated adults with some college experience or college degrees, but not experts in your chosen topic. Imagine a busy audience, not wanting to be asked questions, but rather wanting to be informed.
Purpose: Informative with the option for mild persuasion.
Diction Level: Middle
Point of View: select the point of view appropriate for the topic.
If you pick a personal topic, use I, me, my, myself, mine.
If you pick a trend, you likely will use the third-person point-of-view (he, she, they, etc.). If you have personal experience with the trend, you might use first person singular (I, me, etc.) in parts of the paper to give expert personal testimony or examples.
For most disasters or public events that neither you nor the audience was involved in directly, the third-person point-of-view (he, she, they, etc.) is likely the best choice.
Source Use: not required but encouraged; if text sources are used they must be mentioned in the text by author and in a works cited page. Image sources can be either cited in the figure caption for the image or in a works cited page. If you are writing on a trend or disaster, you will need to cite sources for any information that isn’t common knowledge or any exact numbers that (1) might change over time, (2) might be calculated differently, or (3) are not agreed upon.
Image Use: not required but encouraged; if images are used they must be inserted in to the paper, labelled and captioned.
Write an essay of 700-1500 words (or two and a half to five pages) that explains the causes of some recent event, popular trend, or personal decision, that is of interest to a fairly large group of people; or write an essay focusing on the effects of an event or personal decision. Write to an audience of some subset of college students or adults.
NOTE: the paper must be analyzing the causes of something that already happened–something in the past: a trend that has already started, an event that already has happened, or a personal decision/event that already happened.
Topic Ideas
Write about the causes or effects of one recent natural disaster, such as a fire, earthquake, hurricane, flood, etc.
Write about the causes or effects of a social trend, a sports team’s recent performance(s), a recent sports scandal, etc.
Write about the causes or effects of a recent choice/event in your personal life: a divorce or marriage, a birth, an adoption, a major purchase, a new job, losing a job, starting college, changing majors, etc.
Write about the causes/effects of a disease or genetic variation (possible purposes: to get better social understanding for those with it, to challenge some misconception, to work on decreasing social stigma towards those with that)
WARNING (MAY UPSET YOU): Write about the effects of having gone through something traumatic (a car accident, violence, rape, death of a loved one, abuse, etc.) for the purpose of helping others deal with it or help a loved one deal with it. Avoid this topic if is is too upsetting–the goal is get distance from the event, a new perspective, not to relive it.
Things to consider in selecting a topic are the following:
Do most people already know the causes or effects? If the answer is yes, change your topic!
Does a large group of people care about the causes or effects besides me? If your answer is “no,” change the topic.
Can analyzing these causes or effects be treated in a thoughtful way in three to six pages? If you say no, change the topic.
Can I do the research needed for this paper AND finish writing it by the due date? If no, change the topic.
Recommended Structure
In the introduction, start with the context of the topic. For an event tell where, when, who, what. For a trend, tell what it is, give a famous or representative example, and indicate when and where the trend started and how popular it is now. For a person choice, tell us the the context of the choice/event–who was involved, when and where it happened, etc. End the introduction with your complex thesis. The thesis should briefly list the main causes or effects to be covered. Use short phrases–the body paragraphs will expand on the causes or effects, so just list them quickly. For example, a disaster could be caused by weather, terrain, and human error while a personal effects paper might cover financial, social, mental, or physical effects.
Make each body paragraph (have two to six) focus largely on one cause OR one effect. After the first body paragraph, you want to make sure the connection to the prior body is clear. Have the first or second sentence of each body paragraph directly tells what cause or effect you are discussing (One cause of ____ was . . . In addition, another effect of _____ was . . .). After the topic sentence, the body paragraphs should give concrete detail about the cause or effect and cite sources if needed.
Structure and Content Checklist
Did you do each of these things?
Write a title that indicates what causes or effects you are analyzing?
Write an introduction that covers essential context or background information about the event, trend, or choice of which you are explaining the causes or effects of?
End your introduction with a thesis that not only briefly lists the main causes but indicates why readers will benefit from learning about these causes or effects?
Organize the analysis of the causes or effects, the body of the paper, logically? Time order might be important. If time isn’t essential, either put related causes or effects together or organize the causes in order based on their importance.
Include specific, concrete details?
Make readers “see” your explanation with vivid sensory details about sight, smell, sound, touch, and/or taste if relevant?
Use parenthetical citations to document the source of any information that isn’t common knowledge—typically anything not an agreed upon “fact”? (Note: If you google it and the first five sources say different things, it’s not common knowledge.)
Write a conclusion that discusses the implications for the reader of your causal analysis? In other words, does you conclusion make clear to readers the benefit of the information about the causes or how the causes relate to their own lives? (Note: remember the benefit could be a useful life lesson, a recommendation, a suggested action, or a prediction.)
Edit and proofread your sentences so that they are as clear and correct as possible?
Include a properly formatted works-cited page with the sources of ALL quotes?
Did you include ALL the sources in your works-cited page from which you took information that isn’t common knowledge and put it into your own words? (Note: if you summarize common knowledge in your own words, no source is needed.)
Format your paper properly? Did you double-space, use one-inch margins, and use a 12-point readable font? Did you set the space before and after paragraphs to 0 pt.? Did you indent all paragraphs ½ inch? Did you cite all your sources with authors by the name of the author (or names, if two authors)?
Did you check your quotes, paraphrases, and summaries to make sure you have not accidentally plagiarized your sources? Did you make sure you did not steal either words or ideas?
Comments from Customer
Discipline: Causes and/or Effect


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