Intro to Causal Analysis

Causality: the relationship of cause and effect

Causal Analysis systematically examines the causes and/or the effects of an event, situation, belief, or action.

  • Cause asks: Why did it happen? Why does it happen? Why will it happen?
  • Effect asks: What did it produce? What does it produce? What will it produce? By carefully analyzing …

A Causal Analysis essay gives you a precise way to ask tough questions about the world you live in. Everyday the news is full of issues that raise why and what if questions. Instead of focusing on the whole of an issue, focus down on why something happens or what the effect is of something happening.

For example: Instead of focusing on the death penalty which has a ton of information to sort through once you begin researching. The causal analysis assignment focuses the inquiry into causes and effects: Why was the death penalty reinstated in Texas in 1982? Or, what has the deterrent effect been since then?

The causal analysis gives you a line of inquiry to pursue, that is central to understanding the argument and arguing well. In this way, the assignment asks you to develop rhetorical skills, in particular logical thinking, the supporting of explanations with evidence, and the ability to explain the “story” of cause and effect to an audience.

For this assignment, you will pick a monster to investigate more in-depth.

Fallacy Presentation

We have one group presenting today.


What are Real Monsters?

Serial Killers receive huge amounts of media attention and inspire countless novels, films, and television show; including some that we have already discussed.

Why is society so fascinated with serial killers?

Here is the infamous shower scene from Psycho (1960)

While this scene is iconic, the movie is based on a real person: Ed Gein.

Another movie monster that was inspired by Ed Gein is Leatherface, from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

While you can hate or love horror movies, our job in this class is to ask why? Why do we have so many? Why do we create so many horror movies? Why are we fascinated with these monsters?

What monster theory can help us understand the what and why of these “real” monsters?


Decide on the monster or category of monster you will be researching for the final essay.

Sample Cause and Effect

You did not do the readings and now you are lost in class.

You did not revise the essay and now you have a bad grade.

Cause and Effect

Take a few minutes and come up with some examples of cause and effect. It is important that we understand the concept in order to write the final essay.