Cause and Effect – Concept, connectors, examples, Ishikawa diagram

We explain what the cause and effect relationship is, what linguistic connectors indicate it and how to make an Ishikawa diagram.

cause and effect fire combustion chemical reaction
Many different chemical reactions can have the effect of fire.

What is the cause and effect relationship?

The relationship between cause and effect refers to the concept of causality. The notions of cause and effect are among the most fundamental in our way of thinking, and they help us understand the reality that surrounds us.

However, there is not really a single concept of “cause” or “effect”, beyond the fact that the cause is that which produces the effect, and logically the effect will be that which depends on the cause to exist or occur.

However, there are causal relationships (or cause-effect) in nature, and we usually recognize them because the cause precedes the effect in time. However, the relationship between the two is not necessarily obvious, or straightforward, and the same effect can have numerous causes, or the same cause numerous effects.

Since ancient times, the notion of causality has caught our attention. The philosopher Aristotle, from Classical Greece, already wondered about it in his book of the Analytical seconds (Part of Organon), where he distinguished four types of causes:

  • Material cause
  • Formal cause
  • Efficient cause
  • Final cause

The very concept of causality suffered at the hands of much later philosophers, such as David Hume in the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, was an indispensable part of scientific reasoning, under the name of Concept of causality: absolutely everything in nature has a cause and an effect, even when one of the two (especially the causes) are not easily discernible.

Examples of cause and effect

lightning cause and effect
The cause of lightning is a difference in electrical potential between the atmosphere and the ground.

Virtually everything is a possible example of cause and effect in the world. However, it becomes more evident in cases such as the following:

  • A flash of lightning (effect) occurs due to a electric potential difference between the atmosphere and the ground (cause).
  • Death by drowning (effect) is produced by inability of the lungs to extract oxygen from the water (cause).
  • The fire (effect) can occur in a variety of situations involving chemical reactions combustion (causes).
  • The pregnancy unwanted (effect) is a consequence of intercourse no protection (cause).

Cause and effect connectors

Already at the linguistic level, the cause-effect relationship occurs as a logical order within the text. Is that we can establish it by using certain connecting particles (links) that indicate to the reader that something is the effect of something else. These particles are known as causal links and are:

given thatof luck What
dueso that
in view ofso that
on the assumption thatbecause
for whatby

Recognize cause and effect in a text

Having seen the above, it is not difficult to find cause-effect relationships in a text, since just look for the presence of the indicator links. For example, in the following text:

«The Meiji Bakumatsu no Dōran restoration (end of the shōgun regime) was the political succession that brought the Tokugawa Shogunate to its end, for what the power of government of Japan will be renewed to the emperor, because he had yielded to the figure of the shogun. This regime was very similar to European feudalism: the emperor did not have the real power but depended on the most important daimyō (feudal lord or landowner of important families). This was titled shōgun, which is the highest rank a daimyō could attain. Because the political regime was called the shogunate. “

Ishikawa cause-effect diagram

cause and effect ishikawa diagram
The cause-effect diagram allows the causes to be grouped into a few categories.

Cause-effect diagrams, also called Ishikawa diagrams or fishtail diagrams, they are simple graphic representations of the set of cause-effect relationships that intervene in the same process, from its variables.

It is a tool used in the general theory of systems, which represents as inputs and outputs the causes and effects that intervene on the process, as well as the feedback dynamics (feedback) that they produce and that are necessary for the control of the system.

Its name comes from its creator, Kaoru Ishikawa, who deduced that all the causes of the problems of a company can be summarized in four categories: people, materials, machinery and processes or methods, and proceeded to graph them in a way that would allow their understanding more total and simple.

How to make an Ishikawa diagram?

To make an Ishikawa diagram, just follow these steps:

  • I know copy the diagram– blank mold.
  • It is written on the fish’s head (that is, on the right side of the diagram) the problem that you want to analyze.
  • The causal categories of the problem, either the four proposed by Ishikawa, or new ones.
  • Are written in each category the different causes specific problems that obey each specific category. For example, if one of the causes of the problem is the limited availability of trained personnel, this is noted under “people”.
  • The different causes are organized between causes and sub-causes, that is, they are hierarchical to know which ones generate which others. Like this until the diagram is completed.
  • Once the diagram is complete, the causes that are under our control are chosen and those that don’t. The first ones will be the only ones that we can solve, taking into account their position in the diagram so as not to generate new problems.