ENG112 Wilkes Community College Effects of Divorce Casual Analysis Essay Causal analysis pre-writing Select a topic for your causal analysis, write a rese

ENG112 Wilkes Community College Effects of Divorce Casual Analysis Essay Causal analysis pre-writing

Select a topic for your causal analysis, write a research question, and convert your research question into a thesis statement. You should have three parts.

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PART 1. Select a topic.

Ideally, the topic for your causal analysis essay will be something that relates to your area of study or work; if not then it can be an area of personal interest to you. Whatever topic you select, it should be one you genuinely care about and want to learn more about, because you’re going to spend the next month researching and writing extensively on the topic.

PART 2. Form a research question.

For this type of essay, start by asking a why question. “Why are there so many opioid overdoses?” “What causes mass shootings?”

PART 3. Convert the research question into a thesis statement.

Make your best guess at the answer(s) to your question. A suitably complex causal analysis topic will have multiple causes. List them and choose the top three answers to write about; they could be the factors you think are the most important or just the ones you are most interested in. Rank them logically. Finally, write it out as a thesis statement. It may change later as you do more research and your ideas develop. To help write it out the first time, you might start with a template like this:

“The purpose of this essay is to examine the causes of [Main issue] by looking at [Cause A], [Cause B], and [Cause C].”

You might change how you word it in your actual essay. It’s always more interesting if you can show connections between the ideas instead of just listing them:

“Although [Cause A] is certainly the main cause of [Main issue], and [Cause B] is also widely recognized, [Cause C] is also an important factor that is often overlooked.”

Although a causal analysis usually focuses on the causes of something (naturally), it’s also possible to focus your discussion on the effects of something. In that case, replace “cause” in the above template with “effect.”

Following are a couple of examples:

Example 1

TOPIC: Opioid overdoses

RESEARCH QUESTION: Why do so many people die from opioid overdoses?



-Highly addictive and creates high tolerance (2)

-Availability (1)

-Little official action/few resources to combat opioid abuse (3)

I think availability is the main thing, and I can work over-prescription by doctors into that point (along with the black market). Then I’ll talk about how powerful and addictive opioids are, and the buildup of tolerance that causes ever more powerful opioid use and eventually overdose. Finally, I’ll talk about how little has been done to deal with opioid overdoses, which will lead nicely into the next essay, the proposal, about what needs to be done to deal with it.

THESIS STATEMENT: So many people die from opioid overdoses because opioids are both plentiful – legally and illegally – and highly addictive and deadly, and yet so little has been done about the problem.

Example 2

TOPIC: Mass shootings

RESEARCH QUESTION: What are the main causes of mass shootings?

-Gun availability (1)

-Mental illness

-Glorification of violence (3)

-Media attention (2)

There’s a lot of talk about mental illness, but I don’t think it’s the most productive line of argument. I’ll deal with gun availability first, since it’s obviously a big factor. I also want to talk about how I think the media contributes to mass shootings in their coverage of them. But since the media basically reflects what consumers want anyway, the responsibility is ultimately ours as a culture not to glorify violence so much, so I’ll end with that.

THESIS STATEMENT: As the body count from mass shootings continues to rise, dealing with gun availability is unavoidable. But that alone won’t solve the problem. We also need to examine media coverage of mass shootings and, ultimately, a culture that glorifies violence.

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