Causal Argument

A causal argument is one that focuses specifically on how something has caused, or has led to, some particular problem. A causal argument answers a how or why question: How did things get to be the way they are? Why did something happen?

A causal argument is an important argument type, as people are often looking for reasons as to why things have happened but may not be sure or have all of the necessary information. In your causal argument, you get the chance to make these things clear.

Examples of this type of argument might look something like this:

An argumentative essay focused on why the U.S. has a high number of children who are “food insecure”.

An argumentative essay explaining why Facebook remains popular despite privacy complaints.

An argumentative essay exploring the specific causes of climate change.

Structure

Watch the video below to learn more about the structure of a causal argument.

Video Transcript
Causal Structure

Creating a well developed argumentative structure is similar to putting together a puzzle. Each piece has certain characteristics and belongs in a particular place to create the whole picture.

Although there may always be variations, a good basic outline for a causal argument might look like this.

First Piece – In your introduction, which may be more than one paragraph, summarize the details of the issue. This may take one or two paragraphs. End with a thesis statement that makes an assertion about causes or what led to something.

Second Piece – Present your detailed support for your claim with a focus on the reasons something has happened or a sequence of events that led to something.

Third Piece – Address the opposing views. What problems exist with your claim? Be sure to bring the focus back to your points in relation to the causes or sequence of events you address.

Fourth Piece – Finally, in the conclusion, summarize the main points of your essay and relate your issue to the bigger picture. If you see the current situation as something that needs to change, you can call for change here, but your focus should be on emphasizing the causes of something.


TIPS: When writing a causal argument, it’s important to keep your essay focused. You want to be sure to choose a narrow topic, one in which you can trace reasons or a sequence of events clearly and succinctly.

Be sure to avoid the slippery slope fallacy in your argument. Be sure the reasons you provide, or the sequence of events you provide, make sense and are logical.


The sample essay on the following page will provide more details about developing this type of argument.

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