Causal analysis essay assignment
You are to write a five- to eight-page causal analysis essay that explores, through careful research and analysis, the causes or effects of an issue or problem in a professional field or subject area that interests you. This project allows you to do research and learn more about your subject area and the conversations surrounding it, while also encouraging you to grow as a writer, critical thinker and steward of information.
Your causal project will be structured according to the classical Greek and Roman system. You will acknowledge, in breadth and depth, the complexities of causal arguments. You may explore more than one type of cause: necessary causes, sufficient causes, precipitating causes, proximate causes, remote causes, reciprocal causes, contributing factors, or chains of causes.
Your paper will also reflect significant critical thinking as shown by engagement in pursuit of best information; contextualization, prioritization and synthesis of information; analysis of different points of view; and an examination of your own underlying assumptions as you journey through your scholarship.
In addition to the actual causal analysis essay, you will also submit a formal outline and an annotated bibliography (assigned separately). This process work will help you focus and organize your ideas and research in a beneficial way.
Note: The causal analysis is the first part of a larger causal-proposal project. Your next essay for this class, the proposal essay, will be the second part, in which you will propose solutions or improvements to the situation described in your causal argument. You do not need to have a clear idea about what your proposal will be at this point – just make sure the topic or issue you choose for your causal analysis leads toward some kind of proposal.
Following is an outline of the content and chronology of your causal analysis:
I. Introduction: In one (or at most two) paragraph(s), introduce your topic. Give a brief overview of your topic and argument in a few sentences. Remember to include a thesis statement or research question that specifically sets out what you are proving to be true regarding the causes of the situation. Your claim should be specific, logical, and clear.
II. History/Background to the Current Situation: This section should take as much space as needed – a few to several paragraphs. Discuss the significant and relevant history of your topic up to the current situation and how it came to be. Use research as needed to give precise and accurate context in later making your causal argument. Comment on your research as well, so that you don’t lose your voice. As you explore other points of view, your own point of view will evolve in significant ways.
III. Evaluative Claim: Once you have given a brief history/background of the current situation, evaluate the situation as it is at present. Again, use research as appropriate to support your judgments. While this section of your essay could run anywhere from one to three paragraphs, one paragraph is typical, as you are basically passing judgment on the situation. This is mostly an argument of pathos and logos.
IV. Causal Argument: This is the longest portion of your essay, the heart of your work. Once you have detailed the history/background to current situation and evaluated the current situation, you are ready to present your causal argument. Demonstrate a link between the current situation and its causes. Of course, you will use significant current and relevant research to support your causal claim, and you will want utilize your research to find the most dominant and pervasive logical causes for the current situation as possible. These will connect forward as well to your proposal. Remember to use specific supporting detail/examples, and to analyze all of your research causally, thoroughly, and with clarity.
V. Counterargument/Rebuttal: There will be those who disagree with you so you will want to acknowledge their points of view. What are their assumptions about this topic? What questions do they raise for consideration? Acknowledging other points of view gives your essay credibility and shows that you have been fair and broad in your inquiry and presentation. (You will need at least one credible source to represent at least one counterargument.) Then explain how you have considered this counterargument but still find your own analysis to be more logical and accurate; this is your rebuttal.
VI. Conclusion: Summarize the meaningful conclusions you have drawn clearly and precisely, remembering to restate your thesis. Point to a specific proposal here as well. This will eventually become your transition paragraph between the causal argument and the proposal, so you must state your proposal precisely to pave the way for the full proposal argument to come.
documentary, class lecture, graphic or song.
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