Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Martha Palmer

Second Advisor

Laura Michaelis-Cummings

Third Advisor

Wayne H. Ward


The goal of this study is to create guidelines for annotating cause-effect relations as part of the Richer Event Description schema. We present the challenges faced using the definition of causation in terms of counterfactual dependence and propose new guidelines for cause-effect annotation using an alternative definition which treats causation as an intrinsic relation between events. To support the use of such an intrinsic definition, we examine the theoretical problems that the counterfactual definition faces, show how the intrinsic definition solves those problems, and explain how the intrinsic definition adheres to psychological reality, at least for our annotation purposes, better than the counterfactual definition. We then evaluate the new guidelines by presenting results obtained from pilot annotations of ten documents, showing that an inter-annotator agreement (F1-score) of 0.5753 was achieved. The results provide a benchmark for future studies concerning cause-effect annotation in the RED schema.