How to Structure a Cause and Effect Essay outline

Published : January 10, 2024

By | MyPremiumEssay 10 mins read

A cause-and-effect essay explores the relationship between two or more events or phenomena, where one event or phenomenon (the cause) leads to another event or phenomenon (the effect). A cause and effect essay typically follows a five-paragraph structure, which consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, depending on the complexity and length of your essay, you may need more or fewer paragraphs.

This Image depicts Structuring a Cause and Effect Essay outline

If you are looking for a cause and effect essay outline, you might be interested in this blog post. In this post, we will explain what a cause and effect essay is, how to structure it, and how to write an outline for it. We will also provide an example of cause and effect essay topic and outline.

What is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay is a type of academic writing that examines the reasons (causes) and the results (effects) of a certain event, situation, or phenomenon. For example, you can write about the causes and effects of global warming, obesity, air pollution, etc.

The purpose of a cause and effect essay is to analyze the relationship between the causes and the effects and to demonstrate your critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. You can also use a cause and effect essay to persuade your audience to take action or to propose a solution to a problem.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay outline?

Before you start writing your cause and effect essay, it is helpful to create an outline that will guide you throughout the writing process. An outline is a plan or a skeleton of your essay that shows the main ideas and the order in which they will be discussed

To write a cause and effect essay outline, you need to follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic with clear causes and effects

    Choose a topic that interests you and that has clear causes and effects. You can use brainstorming techniques such as listing, mind mapping, or freewriting to generate ideas.

  • Choose direction: Explore causes, effects or both

    Decide whether you want to focus on the causes, the effects, or both. You can use one of these three common patterns for organizing your essay:

    • Cause-focused: You explain the causes of an event or situation and then discuss its effects.

    • Effect-focused: You explain the effects of an event or situation and then discuss its causes.

    • Chain: You explain how one cause leads to another cause, which leads to another cause, and so on until you reach the final effect.

  • Compile your thesis statement

    Write your thesis statement that states the main idea of your essay and the direction of your argument. Your thesis statement should include the topic, the causes or effects you will discuss, and your position or opinion on them.

  • Write your key supporting points

    Write your main points that support your thesis statement. Each main point should represent one cause or one effect related to your topic. You can use sub-points to provide more details or examples for each main point.

  • Open the Discussion: An introduction

    Write your introduction that introduces your topic, provides some background information, states your thesis statement, and hooks your reader.

  • Give a final perspective: A conclusion

    Your conclusion summarizes your main points, restates your thesis statement in different words, and provides some implications or recommendations. You can also read about How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline.

Example of a cause and effect essay outline

Here is an example to elaborate the structure of a cause and effect essay outline based on the topic “How social media affects mental health”:

  • Introduction

    • Hook

      Did you know that more than 3 billion people use social media worldwide.

    • Background

      Social media is a platform that allows people to communicate, share information, and express themselves online.

    • Thesis statement

      Although social media has many benefits such as connecting with friends and family, learning new things, and having fun, it also has many negative effects on mental health such as increasing stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem.

  • Body Paragraph 1 (Cause)

    • Topic sentence

      One of the main causes of social media’s negative impact on mental health is stress.

    • Sub-point 1

      Social media users often feel pressured to keep up with their online friends’ activities, achievements, opinions, and lifestyles.

    • Sub-point 2

      Social media users also face information overload from constant exposure to news, advertisements, notifications, messages, etc.

    • Sub-point 3

      Social media users may experience cyberbullying, trolling, harassment, or hate speech from other users.


    Revamp your cause & effect essay effortlessly

    Let our skilled writers craft a well-structured outline.
    Elevate your grades today!

  • Body Paragraph 2 (Effect)

    • Topic sentence

      One of the main effects of social media-induced stress is anxiety.

    • Sub-point 1

      Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or worry that interferes with daily functioning.

    • Sub-point 2

      Social media users may develop anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or panic disorder due to excessive or unhealthy use of social media.

    • Sub-point 3

      Social media users may also experience physical symptoms of anxiety such as headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, sweating, etc.

  • Body Paragraph 3 (Effect)

    • Topic sentence

      Another major effect of social media-induced stress is depression.

    • Sub-point 1

      Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent sadness, hopelessness, or loss of interest in life.

    • Sub-point 2

      Social media users may develop depression due to social comparison, isolation, low self-esteem, or lack of meaningful relationships.

    • Sub-point 3

      Social media users may also exhibit behavioral symptoms of depression such as withdrawal, self-harm, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts.

  • Conclusion

    • Summary

      Social media is a double-edged sword that can have both positive and negative effects on mental health. However, one of the main causes of its negative effects is stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression among social media users.

    • Restatement

      Therefore, social media users should be aware of the potential risks of using social media and take steps to protect their mental health such as limiting their screen time, choosing quality over quantity of online interactions, seeking professional help if needed, and finding other sources of happiness and fulfillment in life.

    • Implication

      By doing so, social media users can enjoy the benefits of social media without compromising their mental well-being.

A well-structured cause and effect essay outline is the cornerstone of your writing success. With every element in place, your essay becomes a compelling narrative of events and their consequences. At MyPremiumEssay, we're dedicated to enhancing your writing skills and helping you excel in your academic journey. Reach out to us today, and let's embark on a path to academic excellence together.


MyPremiumEssay is a comprehensive platform designed to assist students in their academic journey. Additionally, it features a collection of informative blogs, providing tips and advice on academic writing and research, all penned by highly qualified and experienced writers, serving as a helpful guide to enhancing students' skills and knowledge.

Social Media:

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter