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What is a Cause and Effect Thesis?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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A cause and effect thesis is a thesis statement or paragraph for an essay or similar written work that states the argument for that work in terms of one or more causes and effects. This is most commonly done for a cause and effect paper, though the structure of the written work may not be so rigidly defined. Like other forms of thesis statements, this sort of thesis will present the argument being made in a paper and help establish the way in which the rest of the paper will likely flow. A cause and effect thesis can vary a great deal between different essays, but in general will include at least one cause and at least relevant effect.

The most common use of a cause and effect thesis is in a paper or essay written in the form of a cause and effect paper. This sort of essay is often written for classes in secondary or post-secondary education and can be written in a number of different ways. The thesis for a paper or essay should typically present the argument being made in a way that is clear and will serve as a general guide for the reader throughout the rest of the paper.

A cause and effect thesis usually follows this guideline and presents the argument being made by a writer by stating the causes and effects that will be presented throughout the paper. It is important to mention that the thesis statement is usually an opinion or evaluation made by the writer, which is supported by evidence throughout the entire paper to form a cohesive argument. Without an assertion of opinion, the cause and effect thesis may simply be a statement of fact, which can often create a weak essay that merely serves as summarization rather than presenting new ideas.

In general, a cause and effect thesis will be presented in the first paragraph of a paper, especially an essay using a formal structure such as a five paragraph format. This introductory paragraph often serves to capture the attention of the reader, present the subject being discussed, and present the thesis statement for the essay that follows. A cause and effect thesis is often used in cause and effect papers, such as essays that analyze a problem by considering what has created the problem, so that solutions might address causes rather than merely aspects of the problem.

As the name would suggest, it is important for a cause and effect thesis to present one or more causes and effects that will be further discussed in a paper. This thesis can be simple, such as a single cause, “the earth revolves around the sun,” leading to a single effect, “creatures on the earth experience the passage of seasons.” A thesis of this sort can also be more complex with multiple issues such as, “inertia from the Big Bang, forces from dark matter, and the relatively low amount of matter in the universe,” as causes for a complex effect, “the universe is continuing to expand and will do so indefinitely.” This last statement also presents an argument that can be argued for or against as a theory, rather than a statement of fact, making it a stronger foundation for a longer paper.

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