Writing the Essay: With your brainstorming results in hand, write an in/formal, 2-3 page essay explaining the (surprising?) causes or consequences of your chosen phenomenon.
Things to Think About: You can use the “Exploring Ideas” section on p. 260 to help with brainstorming. In writing the first draft, first start with the “Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake” questions on p. 261; ask yourself these questions before you begin to draft your essay (hint: your instructor will have these questions in mind as he reads your essay).
Sample Outline: Look at the “Organizing a Causal Argument” discussion on p.262 and the corresponding models for how to organize a causal argument—depending on your approach—on pp. 263-4. In general, a good approach to writing could use the following outline:
Introduction: grab your reader’s attention, introduce the causal issue, and make your claim
First body paragraph(s): either (a) explain a causal chain in terms of its links and their connections (see Organizational Plan 1, pp. 263); (b) explain the multiple causes—or consequences—of a phenomenon, being sure to arrange them in terms of relative importance, significance or surprise (see Organizational Plan 2, p. 263); or (c) reject commonly assumed causes or consequences for some phenomenon in preparation of later proposing a surprising cause or consequence (See Organizational Plan 3, p. 264).
Later body paragraph(s): anticipate and respond to possible objections or, if you’re arguing a surprising cause or consequence, argue for it (again, see the examples of organizational plans on pp. 263-4).
For examples of good causal arguments that you can model your own on, see the three essays included at the end of the chapter (pp. 265-277) and the example I handed out in class (on pop vs. soda).
Revise! Bring a polished (not rough!) first draft! Don’t make your peer reviewer—or me—write comments about things you already know to do, avoid, etc. As part of this process, consider the “Questioning and Critiquing a Causal Argument” items on p. 262. Ask yourself those questions to make sure that you receive the best possible grade (hint: your instructor will be asking those questions).