Assignment: Cause-Effect and Argument

Cause and Effect and Argument Essay

Length: 3-5 pages

Due date:

Description of assignment:

You will write an argumentative essay that supports a claim or assertion and identifies causes and/or effects of your supporting statements. Secondary sources are not required. If you include secondary sources for supporting evidence, you must document your sources in MLA format. Double-space your essay in 12-point Times New Roman font.

Goal of assignment:

Argumentative essays assert the soundness of a debatable position, belief, or conclusion. Arguments examine ideas to persuade readers to accept new ideas or to take new actions.

Skills we will work on with this paper:

  • Creating a clear, debatable thesis statement
  • Developing supporting paragraphs
  • Organizing effective arguments
  • Avoiding illogical, fallacious reasoning

Suggestions for topics:

  • Do social networking sites do more harm than good?
  • Should patients have the right to die via physician-assisted suicide?
  • Should states establish more rigid gun control laws to buy weapons?
  • Your own. (Must have instructor’s approval)


Thesis/Claim = 20%

  • Debatable claim/developed purpose. 20-18 points
  • Debatable claim/purpose fair. 17-16 points
  • Debatable claim/purpose vague. 15-14 points
  • Unclear/question. 13-12 points
  • Missing/not relevant. 11-0 points 

Supporting Evidence/Content = 30%

  • Support links to thesis/well-developed details/rhetorical elements addressed. 27-30 points
  • Support links to thesis/developed details/two rhetorical elements addressed. 26-24 points
  • Extraneous information included/one rhetorical element included/support not explicitly linked to thesis. 23-21 points
  • Extraneous information included/support not linked to thesis/rhetorical elements not present. 20-18 points
  • Ideas are unrelated to thesis/rhetorical elements not present/extraneous information included. 17-00 points

Organization = 30%

  • Logical and coherent/effective transitions guide argument. 30-27 points 
  • Logical and coherent/strong transitions. 26-24 points
  • Progression of ideas awkward/transitions missing. 23-21 points
  • Missing essay paragraphs/transitions missing. 20-18 points
  • Lacks structure/incoherent/illogical. 17-00 points

Grammar/Mechanics = 20%

  • Punctuation/mechanics appropriate. 20-18 points
  • Errors do not interfere with meaning. 17-16 points
  • Repeated errors. Meaning clear. 15-14 points
  • Errors interfere with meaning. 13-12 points
  • Unclear/multiple errors. 11-00 points

Possibilities (the best essays do this):

Argumentation is a process of reasoning that asserts the soundness of a debatable position, idea, belief, or course of action. Arguments clearly articulate the writer’s position and persuade readers to share the writer’s perspective and insight.

Consider your purpose and your audience. What do you expect your argument to accomplish? Successful arguments should:

  • Clearly state a debatable thesis
  • Present relevant, honest evidence that supports your thesis
  • Acknowledge the opposing viewpoints related to your claim
  • Provide coherent organization with appropriate transitions
  • Proofread, revise, and edit carefully

Pitfalls (common mistakes students make with this assignment):

To establish credibility in your argument, avoid these common errors:

  • Do not create a question for your thesis statement.
  • Do not create a self-evident/factual thesis statement.
  • Do not over-simplify the evidence in your argument.
  • Do not create illogical or fallacious evidence that is deceptive and dishonest.
  • Do not ignore opposing viewpoints.
  • Do not use personal attacks as evidence.


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Writing Rhetorically: Framing First Year Writing Copyright © 2022 by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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