Essay #3: Research-Supported Causes or Effects
Summary of assignment
Task: Analyze causes or effects of a phenomenon in an essay supported by research. Choose
a topic related to your field of study or a field of study that interests you.
Length: 1500-2000 words
Sources: Minimum of 6. At least 3 of these must be from scholarly journals, and all sources
should be selected based on reliability, currency, and level of information/analysis.
The UMUC library will be very useful in helping you find appropriate sources.
Outcomes you should achieve by completing this assignment
As you complete the tasks required for this assignment, you will be working towards the various
• Use research to write an essay on causes or effects that will inform or persuade an
audience (Course outcome 1)
• Form unified, coherent, and well-supported paragraphs in support of the thesis
statement (Course outcome 2)
• Select sources, use them to inform and support your writing, and document them in
APA style (Course outcome 4)
• Demonstrate accurate grammar and mechanics in writing (Course outcome 3)
• Participate in the process of receiving feedback and revising your writing (Course
Choosing a topic
This assignment asks you to write about either causes or effects of a phenomenon. Do not try
to cover both causes and effects of a phenomenon in your essay. This essay is not long enough
to cover both causes and effects in enough detail.
For example, a student could write about various causes of pipeline accidents. This essay’s
thesis statement and supporting paragraphs would focus only on causes of the accidents. The
essay would not go into detail on effects of the pipeline accidents, thought it might briefly
mention effects, perhaps in the conclusion.
Another possible topic is the effects of exposure to a particular chemical. This essay would
focus only on effects. The introduction might briefly mention how exposure occurs, and the
conclusion might briefly mention how to avoid exposure. However, the thesis statement and
the supporting paragraphs would focus on effects of exposure.
At the end of these instructions is a list of possible topics to get you started.
Organizing and supporting your essay
As you write your essay, be sure to include the following:
• an engaging introductory paragraph that includes an effective and clear thesis
• any definition of terms or background information that your reader is likely to need to
understand your paper
• unified, supported, and coherent body paragraphs that defend the thesis
• an effective conclusion
Research is a key element of this paper. Take care to support your claims with research
throughout the paper. Include in-text citations whenever you use sources, whether through
quote, paraphrase, or summary. A reference list at the end of the paper should list all of the
sources cited in the text of the paper.
Point of view
This essay will be written in an academic style. Use third person point of view. Do not use “I” or
Persuasive or Expository
This essay can be a persuasive essay, in which you try to persuade the reader of a particular
position. Or it can be an expository essay in which synthesize different viewpoints on an issue
in order to inform the reader. The following examples help illustrate these two approaches.
• A persuasive essay on the effects of video games on learning might the position that
video games should be integrated into school science curricula to teach middle school
students. The essay would cite articles that demonstrate research studies and other
pieces of evidence to support the claim that video games can enhance instruction in
science classes and will help middle school students learn science more effectively.
• An expository essay on the effects of video games on learning would report ont the
topic without taking a stand. The essay would synthesize information on this topic, by
bringing together various sources and viewpoints. It would summarize and analyze
research findings on the impacts of video games on learning.
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