Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.
What is a Causal Analysis Essay?
Causal analysis essays answer the question, "Why?" Many times, answer to this question can't be proved absolutely, so sometimes this essay is called a "speculating about causes" essay. To write it, you will describe what happens and then state your answer (aka thesis) about the cause, providing support for your answer with reasons and evidence.
- What causes people to develop phobias?
- Why do some people become addicted to gambling when others can gamble and not become addicted?
- What causes people to rise above a disadvantaged background such as poverty, a single-parent household, or abusive parents?
- What are the chemical causes of falling in love?
- What causes feeling of romantic attraction to fade?
- What causes "love at first sight"?
- Why do people lose their memories as they get older?
- Why do people need to sleep?
- Why do we develop "muscle memory" for some repetitive actions?
- Why do people experience nightmares?
- Why do some marriages last for a lifetime?
- Why do we have short and long term memory?
- Why do people get dyslexia?
- Why do we respond physically to fear?
- Why do we yawn (or hiccup, or stretch)?
- Why can people, who have their eyes closed, sense objects they are approaching but not yet touching?
- What makes some people introverts and others extroverts?
- Why is methamphetamine so addictive?
- Why do people crave sugar?
- Why do some families look so much alike, while others don't?
- Why do first born children tend to be achievers?
- Why do people snore?
- Why do people lie?
- Why do people blush?
- Why do people hate?
- Why do teenagers rebel against their parents?
- Why do teens get acne?
- Why do teens sleep so much?
- Why do teens cut themselves?
- Why do people commit suicide?
- Why do teens engage in "sexting"?
- Why do young people start smoking when they know it causes cancer?
- Why do young people sometimes get cancer? or have heart attacks?
- Why do teenagers use drugs?
- Why do college students binge drink?
- Why do young people become homeless?
- Why do young people join gangs?
- Why do young people make graffiti?
- Why do fewer young people vote (compared to older generations)?
- Why don't younger people donate blood? or become organ donors?
- Why don't teenage relationships last?
- Why don't teenagers read?
- Why don't teen marriages last?
- Why are teenagers more optimistic than older people?
- Why are young people better at learning languages than older people?
- Why do adolescent girls need more iron than adults or boys their age?
- Why do teenage girls idolize male celebrities?
- Why do adolescents need protein?
- Why do adolescent girls mature faster than boys?
- Why do adolescents need to establish their own identity?
Causal Analysis Topic
Nature and Animals
- Why do animals have tails?
- Why do some animals like to be petted?
- Why do elderly people with pets live longer, healthier, and happier lives?
- Why are pets good for kids?
- Why do dogs eat strange things like grass and poop?
- Why do cats show pleasure by purring and kneading?
- Why do cats like to sleep in boxes and other strange places?
- Why do cats who are well-fed still hunt?
- Why do birds build elaborate nests?
- Why do monarch butterflies migrate long distances?
- Why do ants and bees live in colonies?
- Why do wolves howl?
- Why did humans domesticate wolves and breed them to become dogs?
- Why do some insects and jellyfish glow?
- What causes tides? Or the wind?
- What causes insects like crickets and cicadas to make such loud noises?
- Why are animals used in research?
- Why are animals afraid of humans?
- Why is larger size an advantage for animals in colder climates?
- Why do small dogs live longer than bigger dogs?
- Why are some animals becoming endangered?
- Why is nature so therapeutic?
- Why are insects attracted to light?
- Why are insects the most successful animals on earth?
- Why are microbes important to human beings?
Politics and World Events
- How has Covid-19 changed world politics?
- Why are so many Americans against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?
- Why are some Euro countries like Greece in such economic turmoil?
- Why are rates of AIDS transmission higher in Africa than elsewhere?
- Why do Japanese couples delay marriage? Why does Japan have higher suicide rates than many other countries?
- Why are large typhoons and hurricanes happening more frequently?
- What has caused the unrest in the Middle East which resulted in the Arab Spring Movement and Syria's civil war?
- What caused the Great Recession of 2008?
- Why are random shootings becoming more common in the U.S.?
- What causes terrorist groups to target certain countries? (You could choose a country.)
- What caused the U.S. government shut down of 2013?
- Why is North Korea so closed to the rest of the world? Or why is it becoming more belligerent toward other nations?
- Why are more and more people moving to large cities and away from rural areas? (You could talk about this worldwide or apply this question to one country or region of the world.)
- Why has the neo-conservative movement developed in American politics?
- Why has neo-Nazism been on the rise in Germany?
- Why is China going to ease up on the one-child policy?
- Why did Donald Trump win in the 2016 election?
- Why have the police been targeted by gunmen recently in the U.S.?
- Why are terrorists choosing to use vehicles as weapons?
- Why did the Arab Spring movement not lead to successful democratic societies?
- Why is Twitter the medium of choice for Donald Trump?
- What caused the French Revolution?
- What caused the development of American slavery system?
- What caused the settlement of Australia by the English?
- What caused the colonization of Africa?
- Why does English have so many words of French origin?
- Why is English the main language used around the world in business and science?
- Why does India have a caste system?
- Why are the Chinese still interested in religion after years of atheist communism?
- What caused the great Chinese famine in the Great Leap Forward?
- What caused the black plague of the Middle Ages to stop?
- What caused Great Britain to adopt the parliamentary system?
- Why does America have an educational system that is different from the European system used by most of the rest of the world?
- Why, according to the 2000 U.S. Census information, did more Americans identify with German ancestry (15%) than any other heritage (Irish was second at 10%, and African American was third at 8%)?
- Why did Japan attack the U.S. at Pearl Harbor? or Why did America drop an atomic bomb to end the war?
- Why is it important to study history? (Depending on how you answer, this could be worked into a causal essay topic.)
How to Write a Causal Essay
After choosing your topic question, you can research online to get some ideas about possible answers.
- Title: The causal question makes a great title for your essay. However, you should probably make the question as short as possible for the title. Your answer to the question will be the thesis of your paper.
- Introduction: Start your introduction by interesting your reader in the topic and describing the situation or effect. See the chart for easy introduction and conclusion ideas. The end of your introduction will be your cause question and thesis.
- Thesis: Start your thesis by asking your question and then answering it. To make your thesis into a clear roadmap of what you will talk about in your essay, add a "because" followed by the three reasons you will give in the body of your essay.
- Body: Be careful to write the reasons in parallel format. Sample Thesis: Why do people enjoy being scared at a horror movie? Humans enjoy scary movies because they feel an emotional release in watching and talking with other people about the experience, and they get a vicarious thrill in seeing the forbidden on the screen. (Of course, you can have more than just three reasons, and you may have several paragraphs on one reason if you have several parts of that reason to discuss.)
- Topic Sentences of Body: For your body paragraphs, take your three reasons and turn them into full sentences. Those are your topic sentences for the body paragraphs of your essay. Gather evidence from your observations and research.
- Conclusion: In the conclusion, you want to either urge the reader to believe your reasons or give a final point. See ideas in the chart below.
Easy Introductions and Conclusions
|Introduction Ideas||Conclusion Ideas|
vivid description of situation
ask the reader what they believe
story illustrating effect
pick one of the causal ideas and explain why it is most important
list of examples of effect
give a final dramatic example
conversation between two people illustrating situation
end with a funny quote
statistics about situation
end with a suggestion about what will happen next
quote from authority with explanation
say why knowing the cause is important
a list of wrong causes, or causes most people believe
explain what this cause means to the reader
Questions & Answers
Question: How can I know what the topic sentence is?
Answer: A topic sentence tells the main idea of each paragraph. Most of the time, the topic sentence will be the first sentence in a paragraph. Read more at; https://hubpages.com/academia/How-to-Write-a-Great...
Question: Can you give me some suggestions for the essay topic, "Why do people need to sleep?"
Answer: The question of why people need to sleep does ask for causes. Be sure that your answer goes beyond the fact that we need rest and includes some of the things sleep does for the body that scientists are beginning to discover.
Question: Is “ What causes people to become vegan?” a good casual analysis essay topic?
Answer: That question will work, and here are a few alternatives:
1. What has caused the vegan diet to become more popular?
2. Why are more people choosing vegetarian and vegan diets for their lifestyle?
Question: Do you think the question "Why is immigration such a controversial topic?" would be a good causal analysis essay topic?
Answer: Although your question starts with "why," I usually suggest that for a causal essay you should also include the word "cause" to make sure that your question is really about a causal connection. Here are some possible revisions related to your idea:
What causes immigration to be such a controversial topic in 2018?
What is causing immigration and migration to be such an important news issue right now?
Question: I'm writing a causal essay, and my thesis question is, "Is this relationship abusive?" Will that question work, or is there another way to say it?
Answer: A thesis question needs to be more general. Here are some better ones to use:
1. How can you tell that a relationship is abusive?
2. What causes a person to become abusive in a relationship?
3. What are the signs of abusive relationships?
4. How can a person get out of an abusive relationship?
5. How can you help someone in an abusive relationship?
Question: Is “Why does police brutality occur in the African American neighborhoods?” a good causal analysis question?
Answer: Your question is one that many people are interested in now, and you should be able to find some different ideas about the cause. Here are some other question ideas:
1. What causes police brutality in predominantly African-American neighborhoods?
2. What causes the high percentage of African-American men to spend time in prison?
3. What causes the high percentage of single-parent African-American families?
4. What causes police to be less able to de-escalate situations in African-American neighborhoods?
Question: Do you think "What causes teen suicide?" is a good causal analysis topic?
Answer: Yes it is, and you can also do:
1. What is the cause of more young people attempting suicide?
2. What causes "cluster suicides" when a group of students in a community attempt suicide?
3. What causes teens who are depressed to not commit suicide and choose to get help?
Question: Do you think "Why do people need to sleep?" is a good causal essay topic?
Answer: Some "why" questions are causes, and others are actually not a causal essay, but rather a "how" explaining essay. Why people need to sleep falls into this category because there are some pretty definitive answers to this question that most authorities would agree about. A good causal analysis asks a question that people don't agree about. Here are a few on the topic of sleep:
What causes people to have insomnia?
Why is there an increasing trend in people not getting enough sleep?
Question: Do you think "Why do teens get acne?" would make a could causal analysis essay topic?
Answer: Good question but usually causal essays are about subjects that are more complicated and controversial. The causes of teen acne are not generally debated medically, although there can be more than one. Better topic questions on this issue might be:
What causes teens to be so concerned about acne when it is such a common teenage problem?
What are the effects of acne on a teenager?
Question: How would "Why do people need to look beautiful?" work as an essay topic?
Answer: That is a good question but you might want to word it to be a little clearer that what you mean is either the cause of them trying to be beautiful or why we require people to be beautiful. Try these:
What causes people to spend time and money on their appearance?
What causes women to feel they need to look beautiful?
What causes men to feel they need to look attractive?
What makes us be more attracted to beautiful people?
Why can beauty make someone famous?
Question: I would like to write an essay about why patients love nurses more than doctors. Is there a better way to phrase this?
Answer: Here are some ways to re-phrase your question to make it a better causal analysis essay:
What causes patients to bond more closely with their nurses rather than their doctors?
Why do patients tend to feel that their nurses care for them better than their doctors?
What causes the training of nurses to make them more loving toward their patients than doctors?
Why don't doctors exhibit loving care for their patients the way nurses do?
Question: What do you think of this as a persuasive essay topic: "Is virtual reality more than just fun?"
Answer: That topic is good and here are a couple of others you can consider:
1. Can virtual reality be a way to help people with sensory issues?
2. How can virtual reality be helpful in the workplace?
3. How will virtual reality change our lives for better? Or for worse?
4. What causes virtual reality to be the "next big thing?"
Question: If my causal analysis essay's topic is my first job, what could be the topic?
Answer: Either what caused that to become your first job, or you can write about how that job caused you to approach either your education or career differently. Alternatively, you may find a "why/what caused this?" question about the job. For example, "What causes customers at the restaurant to give good tips?"
Question: What is the importance of causal analysis?
Answer: A causal analysis essay is essential if you are going to write an effective argument position essay on any topic. To figure out what we can do to solve a situation, you must first analyze what is causing the problem or trend. Not all causal essays suggest solutions, but they do explain the "why?" and the "what made this happen?" questions that are behind almost any issue. In general, the way we think about a topic starts with "is this true?" and then moves to "what exactly does this mean?" then "what caused it?" and "how important is it?" The final stage is usually "what can we do about it?"
Question: What would be a better causal topic: Why do people experience nightmares? or Why do college students binge drink?
Answer: Remember that cause essays speculate on causes for certain trends or phenomena. For a good essay topic, there should be more than one point of view about the causes. To determine the best topic, you might want to do 10 minutes of Google searching for articles on each of your two ideas. Then decide which one of your topics had either:
More interesting cause ideas.
Better articles about the topic.
Was easier to find articles about.
Had causes that people wouldn't immediately guess.
Question: What do you think about "Why do we have love at first sight?" for the topic of a casual analysis essay?
Answer: Here are some other ways to word that idea:
1. What causes love at first sight?
2. What effects does "falling in love at first sight" have on a relationship?
3. What causes us to react to "love at first sight" stories in a positive way?
4. What effect does the romantic notion of "love at first sight" have on dating and marriage?
Question: What do you think about "Why do people care so much about their looks?" as a causal analysis essay topic?
Answer: That is a good causal essay topic. You could also narrow the topic to make it more interesting. For example, you could say:
What causes teenagers to be so obsessed by following trends to be fashionable?
What causes men to care about their looks?
What causes people to be so unhappy about their looks that they do drastic things, like cosmetic surgery, to alter their appearance?
Question: How would "Why is there so much violence" be as a causal essay topic?
Answer: Your question would work better if it was narrowed to a particular group, time or place. Here are some suggestions:
Why has there been such an increase in school violence in the past decade?
Why is there so much violence in Syria?
What has caused the increase in domestic violence?
Question: Do you think "What caused Standing Rock to protest the pipeline?" is a good causal essay topic?
Answer: The only problem with this topic is that he probably said why he protested the pipeline and a casal analysis usually is looking at something where there is more than one view on the cause. Here are a couple of ideas of how to modify the question:
1. What caused the Dakota Access Pipeline protests to gain such notoriety in 2016?
2. What causes the Dakota Access Pipeline protests to be so popular?
3. Why did the Sioux tribe protest publically in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests rather than working through government channels to try to prevent the pipeline?
Question: What do you think of, "Why are seat belts required while helmets are not?" for a casual analysis essay topic.
Answer: Your question is a bit too narrow to make a good essay. While this comparison between the two situations will make a very good argument for the essay, what you want in your question is something that lets you answer with this point. Here are some ideas:
1. Should motorcycle riders be required to wear helmets?
2. How can we strengthen the safety laws to protect motorcycle riders?
3. How do we balance freedom and safety when making laws?
4. How do we prevent expensive and destructive motorcycle accidents?
Question: Is "What are the effects of an unhappy marriage on children" a good essay topic?
Answer: Here are some other ways to word this:
1. How does a marriage relationship affect the couple's children?
2. Is marital discord or divorce worse for the children?
Question: What do you think of, "Why should kids play sports" for a casual analysis essay?
Answer: Causal analysis essays ask questions about why something has happened or why something has become popular. The question you are asking is an argument question about "should." Here are some casual analysis topics on your idea:
1. What causes parents to think their children need to be in competitive sports at a young age?
2. What causes families of younger children to have their lives revolve around the children's sports schedules?
3. What causes kids to want to play sports?
Question: Do you think "why do people dream?" is a good essay topic?
Answer: Generally, causal topics are best if there is not a definitive answer. I do think that you can find some scientific studies for dreaming that will explain why we do it. You might want to consider:
1. What causes people to remember their dreams?
2. What effect do dreams have on us?
Question: How would "Why are some people afraid of technological advancement?" work as a causal analysis essay?
Answer: For causal analysis essays, I always suggest that you word it as "What causes..." to make sure you have the right type of question. Here is your question re-worded: "What causes people to be afraid of technological advances?"
Question: Some possible hooks for the following topic "Why do teens sleep so much?"
Answer: A story about a teen missing an important event because they slept through it, or a story about a teen being sleepy in class.
Question: How would "Why do people snore?" work as a causal analysis essay topic?
Answer: You could talk about the causes for snoring, but in a speculating about causes paper, you want something that can't be answered definitively by looking in a medical book. Here are some other possibilities for this question:
What is the most important cause of poor sleep? You could narrow this if you wanted to a particular group (poor sleep among teens, or middle-aged people, or women, or overweight men).
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 26, 2019:
Hi Rana--I'd suggest looking at my article on how to write a Cause Essay for help on putting your paper together.
Rana on March 26, 2019:
Hi, I found this very helpful to write a causal assignment. I picked my topic which why the war started in in Syria and I want to list a three causes and three effects on the war in Syria. Am I on the right track? If you have any advice that would help me a lot? Thank you so much
vasanthakrishnan on December 13, 2018:
thank you mam. you select the topic was it is very easy to collect the data so thank you so much for this different topics
madison on March 30, 2016:
this really helped!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 10, 2015:
Breathing, I am glad that this post helped you. I have many more articles about writing. Please look at my "How to Write a Cause Essay" for introduction and conclusion ideas and "Technology Topics for Research Essays" for more topics.
TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on November 10, 2015:
Thanks a lot for posting such a wonderful and helpful post! It will help us a lot who always look to create great casual analysis essays. Really you have some excellent and breathtaking ideas! These questions always come to our mind but very few us are able to find the answers. I hope you will also shed some light on the following issues:
1. A few similar questions on the technology niche.
2. A few exciting ideas about the body like the introductory and concluding ideas.
If I get these things it will help me specially and lot of others. Hoping to have some more great things from you!
Kathryn Lane on October 23, 2015:
This was really helpful, thank you!
Carol on January 12, 2015:
Thank you so much!
Kader from Algeria on February 12, 2014:
Nice and helpful tips on which teach rely and reffer to.Thank you so much
Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on January 22, 2014:
Very helpful. I love all these questions and essay topics, thanks.
Dianna Mendez on November 19, 2013:
Another great post for teachers and students! I always learn to much from your sharing. Thank you!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 19, 2013:
Thanks Hezekiah--I am hoping that I can help people. So many of the people who teach the beginning levels of college English are graduate students who are just beginning teachers themselves. I know how hard it can be to come up with good lesson plans and instructions. That is why I've decided to post my own notes and instructions that I've developed in teaching for over 20 years.
Hezekiah from Japan on November 19, 2013:
Nice tips there, I wish I would have known these while I was still at Uni or High School.