How to Write a Thesis Statement for Cause & Effect
College students are often required to ask questions about causes and effects, a rhetorical pattern known as causal analysis. A cause-effect paper can have one or several purposes. Generally, the paper addresses either causes or effect; it rarely does both. Writing an effective thesis statement for a cause and effect paper requires the reader to organize his thoughts clearly and properly set expectations for the paper.
1 Chart a Course
As the writer of a cause-effect paper, your obligation is to explain how a series of factors -- the causes -- have brought about a consequence, or an effect. The opposite also could be true: One factor may have triggered several consequences. Either way, write a thesis statement that charts a course for your paper. Such an example might be: “When I look back on that time with an adult perspective, I see that three life-altering events converged in propelling me to spend one year traveling the Italian countryside after high school.”
2 Follow that Course Logically
Your reader will expect you to explain the three life-altering events in some detail. Let's say that they are: the death of your best friend, the divorce of your parents and an unexpected inheritance from a distant aunt. Cover each point thoroughly, one at a time, before moving on to the next. By the end of your fully developed essay, your reader should fully understand how those three causes affected your decision to travel abroad.
- 1 Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
- 2 The New St. Martin’s Handbook; Andrea Lunsford and Robert Connors
- 3 The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers; Maxine Hairston and John Ruszkiewicz
- 4 Step by Step Writing; Randy Devillez; 1992.