The Study Dude – A Fool’s Paradise

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to write a cause-and-effect essay on coca cola and gas.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

This week’s Study Dude further explores Michelle McLean’s book Essays and Term Papers. She shows how to write cause-and-effect essays (coke causes gas) and critical essays (coke rots).

Essay 1: Cause and Effect
Has someone ever asked you why you overreacted, and you had not one?but many?reasons why?

I did. I hosted snacks and lunches for training for geeks. Yes, Einsteinian geeks. Who would have guessed, but these geeks ate organic.

My hosted snack platter? Diet coke, brownies, Nanaimo bars, and cake. The Montreal caterers had a bias toward junk, and secretly, so did I.

After days of munching on midmorning baked goods, one geek sputtered, ?Why all the diet coke??

I knew this geek, and all the others listening, would soon evaluate me in the post-event survey. So, I cited reasons from low-calories to fizzy taste to caffeine rushes.

The truth: I had a Coca-Cola addiction.

And as the event continued with the odd audience belch, I knew either McGill needed a better catering menu or I needed a new job.

When giving your reasons, make sure they’re authentic. Michelle McLean tells you how to spin your reasons into cause-and-effect papers.
– Your essay can have (1) one cause for one effect, (2) multiple causes with one effect, (3) one cause for multiple effects, or (4) multiple causes for multiple effects: a smorgasbord!
– Cause-and-effect essays can also be persuasive.
– Your topic will have a cause-and-effect pattern such as eating excess sugar and fats, not exercising, and smoking can lead to obesity. Pick your best causes or effects if you have too many for one paper.
– You can even make a chain reaction paper: smiling can cause endorphins to shoot which can cause increased happy states which can cause increased door-time with Jehovah Witnesses canvassers. (I love Jehovah Witnesses. One unknowingly saved my life.)
– don’t just have one cause and one effect if your essay is more than two pages.
– Start by brainstorming the causes and effects of your topic.
– Back up your claims with external sources, such as citations, facts, statistics, surveys, interviews, objects, events. Stockpile more than you need.
– For introductions, start with a gripping opening statement. Then state your thesis. Then summarize your three key arguments. You can have two or four arguments; however, we humans psychologically prefer three, and any comedian would agree.
– For the introduction, the thesis could be your one effect, and the arguments could be your three causes. Or, the thesis could be your one cause, and the arguments your three effects. And so on.
– For the body, take each of your three arguments and provide all of your evidence. Make sure you’ve got a ton of evidence to back up each of your arguments; otherwise, you’ll have a skinny essay.
– If your writing about a chain reaction, your essay body could have cause and effect events in chronological order with evidence for each stage. The author recommends chronological order, but you can also try order of importance.
– For your conclusion, restate your thesis, summarize your arguments, and end with a zinger. [Consider writing your ending first. Make it a roadmap of fun. You can always change it later. Also, to make a conclusion fun, cover patterns that you found. Every hobbyist loves a pattern; every prof does, too.]

Essay 2: Critical
Has something you bombed at become your vocation?

I dreamed of a PhD, but sucked at writing.

You see, in grad studies, I underwent a Harry Potter-like initiation. I dawned a make-believe cyborg mask with magical powers: one that turned my writing into drivel. You know, academic writing.

But, my writing needed one ingredient: incomprehensibility. I wrote gobbledegook, and got a master’s degree with no hope of a PhD.

Would I ever write again?

I mustered the courage to write book reviews, which led to writing for The Voice, which led to writing professionally for magazines.

And maybe for a PhD.

So, if critical writing rubbed the red off my face, what can it do for you?

Michelle McLean shows you how to write a critical essay:
– Critical essays include book reviews and article reviews.
– You don’t slam an author’s work with a critical review; instead, you examine and analyze it.
– You need to summarize what you review with a topic. Then, you analyze what you review, using that same topic.
– Some profs just want you to use the book or article or film you are reviewing. Other profs will want you to use external sources. Check with the prof.
– To brainstorm your topic, break down the book or article or movie into headings. You might have characters, plot, setting, and themes as headings. Under each heading, jot down related ideas.
– To choose your topic, pick the angle that most excites you and has lots of citations in the literature.
– You can analyze the book or article however you want, just as long as you have lots of support from external sources or from the reviewed work itself.
– You could pick the theme of ?excessive desire destroys lives? as your topic, for instance, if it applies.
– For intro, state your reviewed book’s name and author and provide a summary. State your thesis. Provide any relevant background (such as an author bio bit if relevant to your topic) or summarize your arguments.
– For the essay body, find evidence within your reviewed book and external citations. If you talk about a theme for your thesis, then discuss elements such as symbolism, imagery, scenes, and character that advance your thesis.
– For conclusion, restate the book title, book author, and your thesis and cap up your arguments. Close with a zinger.

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

ReferencesMcLean, Michelle. (2011). Essay & Term Papers. Pompton Plains, NJ: Career Press.

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