How to Write the Conclusion of a Cause & Effect Essay
A cause-effect paper, or causal analysis, explores the causes and/or consequences of actions and events -- such as why a story character fails in his mission or what will happen if you fail a class. The concluding paragraph for such an essay is important since it emphasizes the causal connection and often is the portion readers recall most readily.
Include a Summary
The conclusion should include a reminder of the cause-effect points in your paper. Create a summary that synthesizes the ideas, showing the reader how they relate to each other. An essay focusing on the relationship of proper sleeping habits to better health might summarize benefits such as improving concentration, repairing and preventing illness, and fighting depression. Emphasizing the primary beneficial effects described in the body of the essay provides the reader with a comprehensive picture of your argument and can underscore important connections.
Return to the Introduction
Return to the idea you presented as your introductory hook to make a strong conclusion. A causal analysis about World War II, for example, might open with the point that, while many people attribute the start of the war to Nazi activity, closer study reveals a more complicated set of factors. An effective way to conclude this cause-effect paper would be to refer to that misunderstanding again, emphasizing how the paper demonstrated why that explanation is too simplistic. Reminding the reader of that introductory hook in the conclusion creates a strong sense of closure.
Make a Larger Point
Many strategies are available to emphasize the importance of the cause-effect relationship. If the topic implies making a decision or taking an action, you might suggest a specific decision or action that follows from you argument. As part of a more general explanation of a cause-effect relationship, consider demonstrating broader applications or extending the topic to include different contexts -- such as predicting effects in the future. A rhetorical question can make a strong closer, too.
A paper about the effects of global warming, for example, might plead with readers to take action to reduce their carbon footprint, emphasize the environmental destruction if preventative measures are not taken, describe a future world devastated by global warming or ask whether readers are willing, because of inaction, to jeopardize the future of their grandchildren and generations that follow.
Avoid Common Errors
An effective conclusion for your causal analysis does not simply repeat your thesis or topic sentences word-for-word. The summary explains why the ideas matter rather than restating them verbatim. Make sure your conclusion focuses on the causes and/or effects you covered since bringing up new ideas can confuse your reader. Apologizing for your lack of expertise about the causal relationship or adding phrases that minimize your argument (for example, "These causes represent just one opinion.") weaken the impact of your analysis.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.