Although at first it may appear that a cause and effect essay has the same structure and purpose as a compare and contrast essay, there are very distinct differences between the two. A cause and effect essay analyzes the progression of events or ideas in a linear fashion. There is a result and stated factors that lead to this result. A logical conclusion is put forward and it is the job of the writer to provide evidence showing the connection between the cause and the effect.
This type of essay differs from other paper types (such as five paragraph essay or admissions essay) because of its linear process and progression. Often this type of essay is used to analyze the long term cause of current effects, such as politics or medicine.
In writing such an essay, the writer is usually given a topic and asked to provide evidence for the causes. Because of the unique progression of such writing, the structure of a cause and effect essay is very logical and linear.
Often times, the introductory paragraph will begin by briefly stating the end goal of the paper. This will set up a thesis statement that will be the main point of the essay. Each subsequent idea will then move the reader further along in presenting evidence and support for the effect. This is the main point of such an essay. It is the job of the writer to provide a logical structure and enough evidence to prove that the sequence of events actually did lead from cause to effect.