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3.6 Developing parts of a text with cause-effect and narrative methods

4 min readโ€ขjune 6, 2023


AP English Languageย โœ๐Ÿฝ

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This guide will discuss developing parts of a text with cause-effect and narrative methods. In your writing there are many ways to develop your writing including narration, compare and contrast, etc but we will go over cause-effect and narration specifically.

What is cause-effect?

According to College Board, it is, "When developing ideas through cause-effect, writers present a cause, assert effects or
consequences of that cause, or present a series of causes and the subsequent effect(s)." In other words, it explains what happens and why it happens.

What is narration?

According to College Board, it is, "When developing ideas through narration, writers offer details about real-life experiences
and offer reflections and insights on the significance of those experiences."
How can we use both methods?
Cause-effect method:
  1. Identify the cause: Start by identifying the event or situation that caused something to happen. This could be a historical event, a decision, or a series of events.
  2. Explain the effects: After identifying the cause, explain the effects that followed. These could be short-term or long-term effects, direct or indirect effects, and positive or negative effects.
  3. Provide evidence: To support your argument, provide evidence that supports the cause-effect relationship. This could be data, statistics, expert opinions, or real-life examples.
  4. Use transitional words: To connect the cause and effect, use transitional words such as "as a result," "therefore," "hence," "consequently," and "so."
  5. Show the relationship: Make sure to show the relationship between the cause and effect and explain how the cause led to the effect.
Narrative method:
  1. Choose a narrative structure: There are several narrative structures to choose from, such as chronological order, flashbacks, and non-linear narratives. Choose the one that works best for your story.
  2. Develop the plot: Once you have chosen the narrative structure, develop the plot of your story. This could be a series of events or a single event that unfolds over time.
  3. Create characters: To make your story more engaging, create characters who will be involved in the events. Make sure that they are well-developed and that their actions and emotions drive the story.
  4. Use descriptive language: To bring your story to life, use descriptive language to describe the setting, characters, and events. This will help to create a vivid and engaging story.
  5. Show the impact of events: Throughout the story, show the impact of events on the characters and how they respond to the events. This will help to build tension and make the story more engaging.

Text Samples

Cause-effect method:
"The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a result of decades of racial inequality and segregation in the United States. As a result of this movement, African Americans were finally granted equal rights and freedoms, including the right to vote, access to education, and equal treatment under the law (Garrow, 1986). However, this progress did not come without a fight. Civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks led nonviolent protests and sit-ins to challenge the existing laws and bring attention to the issue (Garrow, 1986). As a result of these protests, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Garrow, 1986). This act marked a turning point in the fight for racial equality and paved the way for future progress in civil rights."
Narrative method:
"In the summer of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march on Washington D.C. to demand equal rights for African Americans. Thousands of people from across the country joined the march to show their support for the cause (Garrow, 1986). As they walked, they sang freedom songs and chanted slogans, their voices echoing through the streets of the nation's capital (Garrow, 1986). Despite the rain that began to fall, they refused to leave, determined to make their voices heard (Garrow, 1986). Finally, after hours of marching and chanting, Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which inspired a generation and became one of the defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement (Garrow, 1986). Through this powerful speech and the nonviolent protests of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. helped to bring about change and secure equal rights for African Americans in the United States."
The use of both the cause-effect and narrative methods in writing allows for a clear and engaging presentation of information. These methods help to connect events, build tension, and illustrate the impact of events on individuals and society. By utilizing these methods, writers can effectively convey their message and leave a lasting impression on their audience.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿค”Exam Skills
๐Ÿฅ‡Unit 1 โ€“ Claims, Reasoning, & Evidence
๐Ÿ—‚๏ธUnit 2 โ€“ Organizing Information for a Specific Audience
๐Ÿ‘€Unit 3 โ€“ Perspectives & How Arguments Relate
๐Ÿ”šUnit 4 โ€“ How writers develop arguments, intros, & conclusions
๐ŸŽ€Unit 5 โ€“ How a writer brings all parts of an argument together
๐Ÿ‘ฅUnit 6 โ€“ Position, Perspective, & Bias
๐ŸฅŠUnit 7 โ€“ Successful & Unsuccessful Arguments
๐Ÿ˜ŽUnit 8 โ€“ Stylistic Choices
๐Ÿ˜ˆUnit 9 โ€“ Developing a Complex Argument
๐Ÿ“šStudy Tools

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