Writing Discursive compositions (Secondary level) (Part 4): Introduction of Discursive essays (Cause and Effect)


This is my fourth post on discursive writing. For my first post, please click here.

Continuing on our discussion on the introductions of discursive writings, let’s move on to the technique of cause and effect. While the technique of historical developments places much emphasis on the prior knowledge of the subject matter, the technique of cause and effect  focuses more on the causal relations between elements, and is suitable for certain questions.

To put it simple, if A (cause) happens, then B (effect) will happen.

So, if someone smokes, they put their health at risk. If haze happens in a country, the weather will get hotter. If global warming continues, the earth’ temperature will rise. If a country is politically stable, crime rate may decrease over time.

Consider the following question (of which the cause and effect technique can be applied):

i.     Discuss the causes and consequences of global warming.

ii.    Examine the causes of smoking among the young and its impact on them.

iii.   What are the solutions to low birth rates in Singapore?

iv.   Analyse the issue of again population in developed countries.

v.   Highlight the possibility of  a flu outbreak and discuss the consequences.

Now, let’s examine how to write the introductions for two of the above questions:

i.     Discuss the causes and consequences of global warming.

global warming (effects)



“Much have been discussed about how humans contribute to global warming. There are many arguments on these causes but a common consensus is that one of the main contributors to global warming is CO2 emissions (specifically anthropogenic CO2 emissions),  which is an output of human activities in various forms, such as exhaust fumes from vehicles, as well as emissions from coal and natural gas-powered plants. These contributors are not just from individuals but from groups and industries as well, and on a global scale. Global warming has resulted in the destruction of both the ecosystem and the landscape of Earth, through stronger hurricanes and cyclones, desertification, rising sea levels, and decreases in snow cover and sea ice. Now, let’s take a look at these causes and effects of global warming in detail. “

ii.    Examine the causes of smoking among the young and its impact on them.

no smoking



“The causes of smoking among the young are varied. It could be circumstantial (as one turns to smoking due to peer influence) or it could be intentional (as one develops a smoking habit and use it as a social tool to assimilate into their social groups who smoke). Some smoke to relieve anxiety and stress, while others smoke due to habitual tendencies. However, regardless of the causes of smoking among the young, the effects of smoking is mostly detrimental to their well-being – especially their health. “

In my next post, I will continue to discuss introduction writing but this time, we will talk about the technique of using case studies.

Author’s background: Patrick Tay is an English Writing Specialist who lectures in various polytechnics in Singapore, and coaches students in English as a private tutor. His professional services can be found here


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