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Cause and Effect Essay Outline


When writing a Cause and Effect Essay (which generally requires the writer to illustrate a scenario in which one or more actions or events ultimately cause or caused certain effects to occur), the student should create and follow an outline.

To illustrate an essay of this sort below is an outline for a cause and effect essay for a fairly simple topic that pertains to a general writing composition course – success.

Cause and effect essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion

Causes of Success: Diligence; talent or intelligence; high level of education; networking and making good, intelligent choices in life.

Effects of Success: Wealth and a potential increase in one’s quality of life; happiness and fulfillment.

The student-writer can focus on just one cause and one effect, or a combination of the two.

At the very least, the cause and effect essay should be no less than five paragraphs:

  • Introduction paragraph
  • At least three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion paragraph 

For the sake of simplicity, here is an outline for just one cause and two effects of success.

Outline: Cause and Effect Essay – Success

1. Introduction Paragraph (first paragraph of the essay introducing the subject and informing the reader what the paper is essentially about – 5-7 sentences):

A. Topic Sentence – the purpose of the topic sentence is to simply introduce the topic or subject being examined.

B. Thesis Statement – the main idea or purpose of the essay.

Although it is a rather ambiguous term, “Success” has specific causes and effects. For one, it is caused by one’s persistent diligence on a project or occupation, etc. In turn, success has certain effects, or consequences, as well: one is financial wealth.

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2. Three Body Paragraphs – Illustration of Causes and Effects: In this section of the essay, the student will show how diligence causes success and illustrate the effects of success on the individual – ultimately explaining at length their Thesis Statement from Paragraph One.

A. To better convey their argument (their Thesis), the student may want, to begin with explaining the topic being examined – perhaps including a definition, an outside source providing additional perspectives, etc. In this case: What is the success? What does it look like? How is it identified? What does it mean? What are its social, emotion and spiritual implications?

B. Next, once the reader understands the context in which the term is being examined, the student should transition to a paragraph showing how diligence causes success. Perhaps a famous example (like a self-made millionaire) would suffice, or even some other scenario. But the writer should explain how a person could work very hard to achieve personal success.

C. This part is for demonstrating and explaining the effects of Success – like it leading to financial wealth, or it leading to a better quality of life because a person is fulfilled in their accomplishment and is happy.

3. Conclusion Paragraph – In this section, the student not only summarizes the essay – its topic’s causes and effects – but can also help the reader better understand the context of a term, an event in history, etc., by providing a few other examples of the term’s causes and effects.