Writing Your Causal Analysis

Assignment Overview:

             We’ve read some great pieces so far this semester, now it’s time to transition to a more formal style of writing and arguing. This is a casual analysis, but you will using formal language and crafting an argument, something you want your reader to agree with you on. There will be no use of “I” or “you” in this, unless quoting the author. If you’re feeling stuck, consider the questions in “First Steps of the Assignment.” Many of these questions you should ask of the text can be turned into your thesis for this analysis.

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General Educational Competencies of Assignment


  1. Written Communication
  2. Reading Fluency
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Information Literacy


First Steps of Assignment

  1. Analyze the text. In order to effectively answer these questions, you may need to reread your text..
  1. Who is the author? How may the author’s identity relate to the text they created?
  2. What is the author’s central idea?
  3. What do you think caused them to compose the text?
  4. Who is the audience or audiences? What makes you think that?
  5. What do you think the author’s intentions are? (e.g. attack, teach, defend, praise, etc.)
  6. What logical schema were used to develop the author’s ideas? Do they describe, tell a story, compare and contrast, show cause and effect, bring in evidence (such as facts, statistics, etc.)?
  7. How did the author organize the text? Think about the beginning, middle, and end. What effect does this organization have?
  8. What style and tone does the author use and why? What diction (word choice) does the author use? What does that tell you about the author and situation?


Writing Your Causal Analysis


Selecting one text and using the above analysis, you will write a causal analysis on the choices the author makes and their effects. Your analysis will be no less than three double-spaced, typed pages.



  • You will want to start your analysis by introducing your text—briefly summarize what the text is about.
  • Next, make an argument about the essay. “David Sedaris’ piece appeals to young people trying to find themselves.” Or “Yanigahara’s essay was her way of writing down something that scared her.”



  • Organize your body paragraphs by strategies that the author uses.
  • Your body paragraphs must contain both description and analysis. You must bring in specific evidence and examples from the text and then discuss how this evidence proves what you’re arguing.



  • Take time to summarize specifics of your findings. Why do you think the author chose to present the ideas and information in such a manner?


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