Cause & Effect Essay Ideas

A good topic is the key to writing an excellent cause-and-effect essay.

Cause-and-effect essays are some of the most engaging and yet challenging types of writing. They combine research, analysis and persuasive argument. Finding the right topic can help make your paper interesting, intelligent, and worthy of an A+ grade.

1 Understanding Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is a type of relationship between two events in which one event directly or indirectly brings about the other. We see cause-and-effect relationships constantly in our daily lives. For example, you heat a pot of water, and it boils; you drop a ball, and it falls; you unlock a door, and it opens. Of course, a cause-and-effect essay examines more complicated relationships, in which the causes or the effects of a certain event are not immediately clear.

2 Making Topic Choices

Find an event or situation that interests you, and consider the factors that have either created it or that it has created. If you are interested in poverty, you may look at poverty as a cause and determine what effects it has had on society. You could also look at poverty as an effect, and trace the factors that have led to it. Consider the limitations and possibilities of various topics. Some cause-and-effect topics are too obvious to be disputed, while others require an extensive amount of research. The best topics fall somewhere in between.

3 Current Events Topics

Current events topics like elections, wars, and foreign policy decisions can be engaging, because they deal with issues of immediate relevance. The best way to find current events topics is to scan newspapers, magazines or social media for events that spark your interest. Try to find material that gives a full overview of the topic, which means you will have to do quite a bit of research.

4 Science and the Environment

Because science is based on the principles of cause and effect, it makes a good place to look for topics. Environmental questions offer a range of possible subjects for analysis. Some popular topics are the causes of climate change or the effects of greenhouse gasses on the ozone layer. Less obvious topics might be the effects of extreme weather on economic conditions or the social impact of poor environmental policies in the developing world.

5 Social and Cultural Matters

Culture and society provide a range of opportunities for analysis. Studying the causes and effects of social problems can yield surprising results. For example, some sociologists argue that air-conditioning has caused the deterioration of social communities. If you prefer to look at popular entertainment, you might consider writing about the social effects of social networking, the effects of violence in films and video games on children, or even the way television can cause social change.

Sarah Castille has worked as a freelance writer since 2007. She has written for the web magazine and the foreign investment website Getamarket. Castille holds a Master of Arts in international economic and political studies from Charles University in Prague, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and French literature from Colby College.