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Writing for College and Beyond

Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom

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CJ Kent

Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom explains how the many skills taught in the Freshman Composition course apply at work and in life. The composition class is a pre-requisite and General Education course for most colleges and universities in the United States. It reaches students in every area of study. As people wonder about the value of a liberal arts education and question whether colleges and universities are truly preparing students for the workforce, Writing for College and Beyond challenges those arguments by pointing out exactly how classroom policies and writing assignments apply beyond school walls. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students teaching Freshman Composition courses will find this book helpful. Administrators who service the Freshman Composition population, such as Writing Center Directors, will also find Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom a wonderful aid.

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Chapter Seven: Causal Analysis: Why That Happened

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Causal Analysis

Why That Happened



Causal analysis examines why things happen. It requires investigating past the superficial reasons to discover root causes. Offering reasons for why things do or don’t work is very convincing to others. That also means being wary of all the ways that people present causal connections that are actually logical fallacies. Working with this way of thinking can be very helpful in the workplace, not only for solving major problems but also resolving personal conflicts.

Many frustrating things happen when you work with a group of people day after day. Inevitably, things start to feel personal. Occasionally, they are, but often challenges occur for other reasons than someone’s intentional desire to make your life more difficult. Taking a problem personally is both easy and egocentric. Causal analysis allows you to look beyond yourself or your first hunches about a problem.

Let’s say that you’ve asked for a file from a colleague. You need that file in order to pursue the next step in your own work. You never hear back from the email. When you approach the person, he snaps at you. A week later, you still don’t have the file, but you notice that he took a two-hour lunch. Obviously, he has plenty of time, so he is trying to keep you from succeeding and must not like you. Now you begin to remember all sorts of other...

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