Effect of Multi-tasking

EAP 121 – Essay #4 Assignment Sheet



The final essay in EAP 121 will be a cause/effect essay. Each student will write a 5 paragraph cause/effect essay of 500-700 words.


The Purpose of this Assignment:

  • to further practice the process of writing an essay in several steps and demonstrate ability to follow directions
  • to use a framework of ideas to analyze and critically think about the causes and effects of change within a person’s own life or that of someone close.
  • to use the classic essay pattern with a new topic and new mode, the cause/effect.
  • to synthesize information and content from the class textbook, lecture, discussion, peer and instructor feedback and other outside resources into an essay


Topics Choices for Essay #4

Choose one topic from the following list of topics for essay #4.


  1. 2008 was a La Niña weather year in Seattle. What causes La Niña/El Niño? What are the usual effects of La Niña on the weather in Seattle? For this topic, find 4 different articles or resources on the topic to use as source material for your essay.
  2. What are the effects of bilingualism on the brain? For this topic, find 4 different articles or resources on the topic to use as source material for your essay.
  3. This is an age of multi-tasking. What are the effects of multi-tasking (on the brain or on learning)? For this topic, find 4 different articles or resources on the topic to use as source material for your essay.


Organizing a Cause/Effect Essay

There are two styles of organizing a cause/effect essay.  One is a block style and the other is a chain style.  In chain style, you first have a ‘cause’ which leads to a particular ‘effect’.  That ‘effect’ leads to another and so on.  In a chain cause/effect, each effect becomes the cause of a new effect.  Consider the following story:   Sarah runs away from home and experiences frightening people and dangerous situations. This causes her to want the safety of her home, so she returns home ready and willing to cooperate with her parents. They decide to send her to a new school, so she can find new friends and have a fresh start.  She feels a little lonely in the new school and decides to join a school theatre production.  She discovers that she has talent and begins to feel really good about herself and tries harder in school and starts getting good grades.


Example Outline A: Chain Style Analysis


I.       Introduction:  Initial event/story of running away from home/thesis. A thesis could read:  Sarah’s brush with life on the street ultimately lead her to changes in her relationships with her family, her surroundings, and her self-esteem.


II.                First body paragraph topic sentence:  Sarah’s new appreciation for her family leads her to trust their good intentions for her. (This paragraph then describes the decision to change school)


III. Second body paragraph topic sentence:   The new school causes Sarah to feel lonely, but she explores healthy ways to connect with people. (This paragraph discusses her decision to try out for a school theatre production.)


IV. Third body paragraph topic sentence: Sarah’s success as an on-stage actress gives her new confidence in herself and determination to succeed in other areas of her life.  (This paragraph discusses her experience on the stage and how she wants to get good grades to go to college)


V.                            Conclusion:  Sarah’s future goals and references to main changes which all began when she ran away and returned home.


Example Outline B: Block style cause/effect: 

I.                   Introduction includes story and thesis.  Include details in the story to make it really interesting!  This thesis could read like:  This event in Sarah’s life ultimately lead her to changes in her attitude, her relationships, and her interests.

II.                First body paragraph topic sentence:  Running away and returning home changed Sarah’s attitudes.

III.             Second body paragraph sentence:  This event in Sarah’s life resulted in new relationships.

IV.             Third body paragraph sentence:  This traumatic occurrence ultimately leads Sarah to find new interests.

V.                Conclusion:   Sarah’s life has changed dramatically since her return home.


To read more about chain versus block style, read pages 95-100 of your textbook.  Notice that each sample topic sentence in either style contain cause/effect structure words like ‘change’ ‘lead’  ‘resulted in’, ‘causes’ etc. Use cause/effect structure words in your thesis and your topic sentences.  This will be important for your grade.  See pages 101 and 102.


Make sure to cite your sources and to include a works-cited list! See pages 42-44 and Appendix E for more information.


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