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Writing Cause and Effect Essay Outline

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The first step when starting a cause and effect essay is to create an outline. Not only does it make it easier to write a paper, it saves time when you finally start writing. The writer is able to determine whether the thesis statement has merit, in addition to evaluating whether there is evidence to support the argument. The thesis statement must be clear, and the information must be gathered from reliable sources such as peer-reviewed journals and not just a random blog that contains somebody’s opinion.

Cause and effect essay outline provides the framework for your assignment. It can be organized using a diagram consisting of a series of arrows and boxes or through bullet points. After completing the outline, you can go back and figure out whether your position is logical or unreasonable; strong or weak; and whether each argument can actually be connected to the thesis. The key is to make sure the outline also makes sense to others who are viewing it.

A cause and effect essay can be broken down into the following parts:

  • An intriguing topic that focuses on the connection between two or more events.
  • An introduction that includes a thesis statement that is logical can be well defended.
  • Three or more arguments that support the thesis.
  • A minimum of three paragraphs in the main body that elaborate on each point. The sources should be reputable.
  • An easy flowing structure that makes the paper easy to read.
  • A conclusion that not only ties everything neatly, but discusses the broader implications.


Choosing the Type of a Cause and Effect Essay Emphasize Your Writing Style

Unless otherwise specified by your instructor, a cause and effect essay can either discuss how one event causes another, how one cause triggers a series of multiple effects, or a full chain reaction of cause-effect interactions. Determine whether you are going to focus more on the cause or the effect. Finally, select the causes and effects that you wish to discuss and be prepared to spend plenty of time to uncover the research that best supports your thesis.

The research process involves reading articles and books and doing some brainstorming in order to choose the topic that is best for you. Your thesis, which you will add to the end of your introduction paragraph, states the cause and effect relationship that you intend to prove.

Think of a few arguments that add credibility to your thesis and choose between 3 and 5 that best prove your point. You will put them in your outline.

Outline Writing Details

When you are plotting your outline, remember that it does not have to set in stone. Feel free to move around various points that you intend to use so as to defend your argument. In fact, a good cause and effect paper strategically places the main points in a manner that is logical so that they build on each other. For example, in regards to gun control rights, the first topic could explain why some feel the need to weaken the gun control laws in the first place. The second topic could discuss the general consequences of the weaker gun control laws. The third topic can provide facts and figures to support the argument that more guns do not lead to more safety. Remember to remove any arguments that appear weak or lack relevance.

Provide your arguments point by point beginning under the first topic. The final sentence of every paragraph should lead to the first sentence of the subsequent one. Also, list your sub-topics. Repeat this for every topic that you introduce.

Assign Roman numerals to each major topic and Arabic numerals to the sub-topics. Doing this will make it easier to navigate your outline. If necessary, modify the titles of your topic headings in the outline to add clarity and make them appear more concise.

Finally, add the conclusion at the end of the outline. There you have it. The introduction with the thesis, the body, and the conclusion have been put in their proper places on the outline.

An example of the outline for a cause-and-effect essay about the problems of loosening the gun control laws.

I. Thesis: The loosening of gun control laws leads to more deaths

A. Makes it easier for obtaining weapons that lead to shootings.

II. Reasons why some want weaker gun laws.

A. Disinformation campaign to the public from the gun lobby.

i. Slippery slope argument.

ii. If even just one gun control law is passed, the argument goes that eventually guns will be taken away entirely

B. Political pressure

i. Politicians vote against gun restrictions because they fear being voted out of office.

ii. Endorsements from the NRA are generally effective

C. Profit motive

i. The gun-makers need to sell more guns, so they create new product lines that are deadlier.

ii. The NRA needs reasons to expand its membership.

III. Consequences of weaker gun control laws.

A. More guns on the street.

i. More murders.

ii. More accidental deaths.

iii. Higher violent crime rates in general.

B. Emboldens legislators to vote for eliminating the gun control laws altogether.

i. In time virtually any adult, including the mentally ill, will have access to guns.

C. Psychological effects of more guns on the streets.

i. Public fear of a “dangerous world” will grow.

ii. More instances of intimidation by certain gun owners.

IV. No evidence that more guns means everybody is safer.

A. Conclusions.

Again, make sure that your argument is consistent and well-grounded.

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