Step-by-step approach to the Cause Paragraph.

 

A cause paragraph teaches you the techniques you’ll need to take with you into other classes where you need to explain why something is or why something happened. It’s not a difficult one to write, but it is important that you stay focused on the task at hand. Remember that you are trying to explain the reasoning for one fact or statistic. And, you are trying to explain this in three points.

 

TRY NOT TO WANDER OFF TOPIC.  Keep checking back with your topic sentence to make sure that you are explaining WHY this statistic or fact is true.

 

 

Here’s how you can start putting this together:

 

Come up with an effect that is either a statistic, a fact, or something that has recently happened.

 

Example: Cockroaches can live without their heads for up to seven days.

 

Now, do research to try and identify three things that caused the effect. Why can a cockroach live for so many days without a head? There may be more than three reasons, but just try to come up with three. The reasons are called causes.

 

Use any of the sources I have listed for you at hppt://www.geocities.com/collegeteaching/sources

 

 

Next, write down the three causes as three different sentences.

 

Example: One reason a cockroach can do this is because its brain is not in its head.

                 

Another reason a roach can live without its head is because its white colored blood won’t ooze out of a cut like human blood.

 

The final reason a cockroach can live for seven days without a head is because it doesn’t need to eat during that time.

 

Now, write a sentence or two which explain EACH cause.

 

Example:  One reason a cockroach can do this is because its brain is not in its head. Rather, its brain is scattered throughout its body, and it is separated evenly between its six legs, according to Dr. Wendel of the Discovery Channel.

                       

Another reason a roach can live without its head is because its white colored blood won’t ooze out of a cut like human blood. This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27).

 

So the same with the third cause.     

 

Now it’s time to write the paragraph. Please do it in this order.

 

1)   Topic sentence that explains the effect.

 

Although people would rejoice if they didn’t, cockroaches will live for up to seven days if decapitated.

 

 

2)   Transition which introduces the first cause such as “The first  or “One”

 

3)      State the first cause

 

One reason a cockroach can do this is because its brain is not in its head.

 

4)   Explain the cause in a sentence or two, and cite where you got the information.

 

Rather, its brain is scattered throughout its body, and it is separated evenly between its six legs, according to Dr. Wendel of the Discovery Channel.

 

How to cite:

 

For citing, either give the name and title of the source, such as “According to Dr. Wendel of the Discovery Channel” 

 

OR

 

At the end of the sentence which explains the reason for the cause, write a parenthetical citation that gives the author’s last name and page number from where you got the source information in parenthesis.

Example: This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27).           (Mann 27) is the parenthetical citation.

  

 

5)      Transition which introduces the second cause, such as “The second reason” or “Another reason” 

 

6)   State the second cause   Another reason a roach can live without its head is because its white colored blood won’t ooze out of a cut like human blood

 

7)   Explain the cause in a sentence or two, and cite where you got the information.

 

This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27).

 

For citing, either give the name and title of the source, such as “According to Dr. Kunkel of the University of Massachusetts,” 

 

OR

 

At the end of the sentence which explains the reason for the cause, write a parenthetical citation that gives the author’s last name and page number from where you got the source information in parenthesis.

Example: This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27).           (Mann 27) is the parenthetical citation.

  

 

 

 

8) Transition which introduces the third cause.

Use something like “The final reason” or “Finally.”

 

9) State the third cause

 

And the final reason a cockroach can live for seven days without a head is because it doesn’t need to eat during that time.

 

10) Explain the cause in a sentence or two, and cite where you got the information.

 

Surprisingly, it stores up about a week’s worth of food in its body in the form of white gunk that squirts out when the roach is stepped on. Like fat in humans, the gunk stores energy the critter can live on for quite a while according to Dr. J. Kunkel of the University of Massachusetts

 

For citing, either give the name and title of the source, such as “According to Dr. Kunkel of the University of Massachusetts,” 

 

OR

 

At the end of the sentence which explains the reason for the cause, write a parenthetical citation that gives the author’s last name and page number from where you got the source information in parenthesis.

Example: This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27).           (Mann 27) is the parenthetical citation.

 

 

11) Write a concluding statement that restates your topic sentence.

 

Example: With these mechanisms all working together to help the roach survive, it’s easy to see why one could live a week after being separated from its head.

 

Sample Example Cause Paragraph:

 

Although people would rejoice if they didn’t, cockroaches will live for up to seven days if decapitated. One reason a cockroach can do this is because its brain is not in its head. Rather, its brain is scattered throughout its body, and it is separated evenly between its six legs, according to Dr. Wendel of the Discovery Channel. Another reason a roach can live without its head is because its white colored blood won’t ooze out of a cut like human blood. This makes it impossible for it to bleed to death.  Instead, a roach’s blood is made of special digestive enzymes that clot instantly upon contact with air (Mann 27). And the final reason a cockroach can live for seven days without a head is because it doesn’t need to eat during that time. Surprisingly, it stores up about a week’s worth of food in its body in the form of white gunk that squirts out when the roach is stepped on. Like fat in humans, the gunk stores energy the critter can live on for quite a while according to Dr. J. Kunkel of the University of Massachusetts. With these mechanisms all working together to help the roach survive, it’s easy to see why one could live a week after being separated from its head.