Determining Cause and Effect
Determining Cause and Effect is a strategy to find a causal relationship between or among events, conditions, or behaviors.
This strategy givens reasons and explanations for events, conditions, or behaviors. It is an analysis tool to display possible cause of a specific condition or event, or the possible effects of a specific condition or event.
Often cause and effect are subtle and hard to distinguish. Be sure not to confuse cause and effect. To determine the cause of something, ask why it happened. To determine the effect of a cause, ask what happened. Three general causal relations can exist when a cause and effect relationship exists: • Necessary cause – one that must be present for the effect to occur. • Sufficient cause – one that can product an effect unaided, though there maybe more than one sufficient cause of a given effect. • Contributory cause – one that helps to produce an effect but cannot do so by itself.
Questions that can be raised to identify cause-and-effect relationships: • Have I assumed a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists? • Have I assumed only one cause when many causes may be appropriate? • Have I incorrectly assumed a causal relationship between two events where one immediately follows another? • Are there single or multiple causes?
• Are there single or multiple effects?
• Is a chain reaction involved?
Once a cause-and-effect relationship has been identified, then the task becomes to determine the relationship. Several kinds of causes exist. • The primary cause (also know as the main cause, the necessary cause, or first cause) is the basis for a causal chain of events. • The secondary cause or effect is usually an ancillary cause that contributed to an effect or an ancillary effect of a cause. • The short-term cause or...
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