How do I write a comparative analysis?
A comparative analysis is an essay in which two things are compared and contrasted. You may have done a "compare and contrast" paper in your English class, and a comparative analysis is the same general idea, but as a graduate student you are expected to produce a higher level of analysis in your writing. You can follow these guidelines to get started.
- Conduct your research. Need help? Ask a Librarian!
- Brainstorm a list of similarities and differences. The Double Bubble document linked below can be helpful for this step.
- Write your thesis. This will be based on what you have discovered regarding the weight of similarities and differences between the things you are comparing.
- Alternating (point-by-point) method: Find similar points between each subject and alternate writing about each of them.
- Block (subject-by-subject) method: Discuss all of the first subject and then all of the second.
- This page from the University of Toronto gives some great examples of when each of these is most effective.
- Don't forget to cite your sources!
Visvis, V., & Plotnik, J. (n.d.). The comparative essay . University of Toronto. https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/comparative-essay/
Walk, K. (1998). How to write a comparative analysis . Harvard University. https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-write-comparative-analysis
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The Comparative Essay
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What is a comparative essay?
A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare
- positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
- theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
- figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
- texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth )
- events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)
Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.
Make sure you know the basis for comparison
The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.
- Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall . The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
- Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.
Develop a list of similarities and differences
Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.
For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations , being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.
The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.
Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences
Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:
While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.
Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.
Come up with a structure for your essay
Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.
When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:
- You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
- Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
- You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.
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Writing a comparative essay
This week, Insight writer and English teacher Melanie Flower outlines steps you can take to write your best comparative essay.
The comparative essay is still a relatively new element of VCE English, only becoming part of the Study Design in 2016. However, while the Area of Study is new, your essay should still have a clear and largely familiar structure, with an introduction, body and conclusion. Last year every topic in Section B of the VCE English examination included the word ‘compare’, and it is essential to note that the comparison of texts is the central requirement for this response, even if the word does not explicitly appear in the topic.
The comparative essay can be tackled in a variety of ways, and it is worth experimenting with different approaches throughout the semester to find the one that suits your strengths.
Read the topic carefully
Make sure that you understand exactly what the topic is asking you to do. The topic might invite a broad thematic comparison, which requires a thoughtful understanding of the ways a particular theme is explored in both texts. Other topics focus on an aspect of the texts’ construction, such as characterisation or setting, and require you to show an understanding of the texts’ form and genre.
You could also encounter a topic that contains one or two quotes. This type of topic necessitates a very thorough knowledge of your texts, as you need to recognise the context of each quote, identify the key ideas being addressed in each, and understand how these ideas are explored in both texts.
Give roughly equal weight to each text
Each text pairing has been carefully chosen to offer points of comparison, in terms of both similarities and differences. While you may have a preference for one text over the other, it is essential that you do not allow this to limit the scope of your discussion. One easy way to make sure that you are addressing both texts equally is to balance every point, example or quote from one text with an equivalent from the other. This can be done in the planning stages, giving you a wealth of material to use in your essay.
Choose your preferred structure
The broad structure of a comparative essay is already very familiar to you, and consists of an introduction, several body paragraphs and a conclusion. The introduction should include a clear contention that alerts the reader to your response to the topic, as well as the main ideas your essay will explore. It must contain references to both texts. Similarly, your conclusion should summarise the points you have made and leave the reader with a clear understanding of your position on the topic. These elements are common to all analytical text response essays. The difference in a comparative response is in the way the body paragraphs are structured and organised. You essentially have two basic options for the body: the block approach or the woven approach.
- The block approach: This approach involves devoting a paragraph or two to each text, examining the ways each of them address the ideas raised by the topic. The final body paragraphs pull this material together and discuss the similarities and differences between the texts’ approach to the central ideas explored in the essay. This structure appears straightforward, but it can be challenging to maintain a strong connection between the texts when discussing them in isolation. A careful use of linking words is essential to ensure that the essay is cohesive and the comparison of texts remains at the fore.
- The woven approach: Using a more sophisticated structure, the woven essay draws evidence from both texts within each body paragraph. Topic sentences focus on an aspect of the ideas raised by the topic rather than on individual texts or characters, leaving you free to explore material from both sources in the paragraph. It can be challenging to move between two texts, although with practice, this will become easier. One useful strategy is to begin your discussion of a particular idea with a sentence addressing text 1. Then start the next sentence with a linking word or phrase that leads to a statement about text 2’s perspective on the same idea. A third sentence links both texts, adding an overall position statement. This approach allows you to move smoothly between the texts while also engaging in deep analysis of their ideas.
Focus on differences as well as similarities
We tend to be very alert to similarities between texts, which are usually relatively simple to identify; however, often the most interesting discussion will devolve from a consideration of the differences. These provide an opportunity to explore contrasting situations and points of view, thus demonstrating your engagement with both the texts and the ideas they present.
Use linking words and phrases
When moving the discussion between texts, regardless of the overall essay structure you have chosen, use appropriate linking words and phrases to maintain fluency and cohesion. These links help your reader to understand the connection between the ideas you are discussing, whether they are similarities or contrasts.
Phrases that you can use to discuss similarities include:
similarly, likewise, in the same way, also, along similar lines, in the same fashion .
Phrases useful for indicating contrast include:
in contrast, on the other hand, unlike (text 1), regardless, however, conversely, on the contrary, nevertheless .
Used purposefully, these words and phrases help guide your reader through your discussion, ensuring that they understand the relationship between the texts and the ideas explored in your response.
Explore a range of elements
To add depth to your response, consider a variety of textual elements in your discussion. While the topic may prompt you to focus on character or theme, your response will have more depth if you are able to draw other aspects of the texts into your discussion. You could note the impact of the narrative voice, reflect on how structure shapes a reader’s responses, consider the influence of genre on the texts’ construction, or acknowledge differences in style or authorial purpose. All of these elements provide you with opportunities to consider the texts as constructs, leading to a more complex and sophisticated analysis.
The comparative essay is a challenging, but ultimately satisfying, opportunity to explore intertextual connections. By considering the different perspectives offered by carefully paired texts, you can enrich your understanding of both texts and draw new meanings from them. Ultimately, the best way to find an essay style that works for you is to experiment. Try a few different approaches, note the feedback you receive from your teacher, and use this to finetune your approach. Remember that examiners are not looking for a single, standard essay format. They are interested in your ideas and your genuine responses to the texts, and whichever structure best allows you to present these is the most appropriate structure for you.
Need help with your comparative essays? Insight has two Insight Sample Essays for each List 2 text comparison for English. Each high-level essay features annotations with assessor comments identifying the elements of the essay that work and areas for improvement, as well as tips on how to approach the essay topic and appropriate strategies for analysis.
Insight Sample Essays are produced by Insight Publications, an independent Australian educational publisher.
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How to Write a Comparative Analytical Essay
What is a comparative analytical essay, 3 steps in writing a comparative essay.
A comparative analytical essay compares two things--perhaps two people, two texts, or two historical events, for instance--and explores the things that are similar and the things that make them different.
Writing a comparative analysis is great practice for writing other types of academic papers, so students can expect to write a good number of these during their school career. While it's called a comparative analysis, you will actually need to both compare and contrast in this type of essay.
1. Make a List of Similarities and Differences
- After examining the list, develop a thesis statement for your paper. A thesis statement will be the hook which all your points will hang on, and a more complex thesis will incorporate both a similarity and difference.
2. Choose a Format for the Essay
- The text-by-text format, or parallel-order comparison, is when you first make thesis statement in the introduction, then discuss a first similarity, in the first work then the second one. Then a second similarity, text by text. Next, do the differences. In a point-by-point format, thesis is followed by a first point, and how the two things differ on the point, then how they are the same on that point. Have two more sections or so organized that way.
3. Write a Conclusion
- Your conclusion should refer back to the thesis statement while avoiding merely summarizing what's already been stated in the body of the paper.
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Katlyn Joy has been a freelance writer since 1982. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a master's degree in writing. While in school she served as graduate assistant editor of "Drumvoices Revue" magazine.
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How to Write a Comparative Essay: Step-by-Step Guide
- What is comparative essay
- Structure and outline
- Tips how to start
- Step-by-step guide
- Comparative essay format
- Comparative essay topics
- Comparative essay example
What is a Comparative Essay?
How to write a comparison essay: structure and outline.
- The topic sentence should introduce the reader to what the paragraph handles.
- A discussion of the aspect is done in the middle of a paragraph.
- The last part of the paragraph should carry a low-level conclusion about the aspect discussed in the paragraph.
- The paragraph should present enough information, as too much or too less may render it meaningless.
- Every paragraph should handle a single aspect, e.g., it is quite unreasonable to compare the size of one object to the color of another .
Tips on How to Start a Comparative Essay
Step-by-step writing guide to write a comparative analysis, step 1: identify the basis of the comparison..
- For example, a question may ask you to compare capitalism and communism and write the arguments. This question has a clear objective; hence you don’t have to go the extra mile.
- Another case may be to compare any two political ideologies. It is a general question, and you have to figure out the various political ideologies and then identify any two that you can compare. Such instances require the author to develop the basis of comparison by themselves and write it down.
Step 2: Develop the content of the essay.
Step 3: come up with a thesis., step 4: develop the comparative essay structure., step 5: write your compare essay..
Comparative Essay Format
- Gives more details about the item in comparison, making it easy to handle two different points;
- Produces a well-analyzed and integrated paper.
- Cases where detailed comparison is needed;
- When the points of comparison are not related.
Mixed paragraphs method;
- gives the issues equal weights in terms of comparison;
- the reader gets to identify the comparison factor easily.
- When dealing with a long comparative essay;
- When dealing with complex topics that need close attention.
- When dealing with short essays;
- When dealing with simple topics;
- Cases where there is no clear relation between items of comparison of point one and point two;
- When you want to build the ideas of question two from those highlighted for question one;
- When dealing with many issues.
Comparative Essay Topics
- Compare and contrast the GDP figures of the US and Australia.
- A comparative essay on World War I and World War II events.
- Comparison between political ideologies such as capitalism and communism.
- Positions on issues, e.g., Healthcare in the US and Australia.
- Comparison between various Sports teams.
- Different Systems of Government.
- Comparison between various influential people.
- A comparative essay on religion, e.g., Christianity and Hinduism,
- Comparison between various texts,
- Comparison in technology, such as comparing different cars,
Comparative Essay Example (Clarified)
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Comparative analysis is the process of comparing items to one another and distinguishing their similarities and differences.
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How to Write a Comparison Essay
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A comparison essay compares and contrasts two things. That is, it points out the similarities and differences (mostly focusing on the differences) of those two things. The two things usually belong to the same class (ex. two cities, two politicians, two sports, etc.). Relatively equal attention is given to the two subjects being compared. The essay may treat the two things objectively and impartially. Or it may be partial, favoring one thing over the other (ex. "American football is a sissy's game compared to rugby").
The important thing in any comparison essay is that the criteria for comparison should remain the same; that is, the same attributes should be compared . For example, if you are comparing an electric bulb lamp with a gas lamp, compare them both according to their physical characteristics, their history of development, and their operation.
Narrow Your Focus (in this essay, as in any essay). For example, if you compare two religions, focus on one particular aspect which you can discuss in depth and detail, e.g., sin in Buddhism vs. sin in Christianity, or salvation in two religions. Or if your topic is political, you might compare the Conservative attitude to old growth logging vs. the Green Party's attitude to old growth logging, or the Conservative attitude to the Persian Gulf War vs. the NDP attitude to the same war.
Each paragraph should deal with only one idea and deal with it thoroughly . Give adequate explanation and specific examples to support each idea. The first paragraph introduces the topic, captures the reader's attention, and provides a definite summary of the essay. It may be wise to end the first paragraph with a thesis statement that summarizes the main points of difference (or similarity). For example, "Submarines and warships differ not only in construction, but in their style of weapons and method of attack." This gives the reader a brief outline of your essay, allowing him to anticipate what's to come. Each middle paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of that paragraph (ex. "The musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan are as differing in texture as are broken glass and clear water"). An opening sentence like this that uses a metaphor or simile not only summarizes the paragraph but captures the reader's attention, making him want to read on. Avoid a topic sentence that is too dull and too broad (ex. "There are many differences in the musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan").
VARY THE STRUCTURE
The structure of the comparison essay may vary. You may use simultaneous comparison structure in which the two things are compared together, feature by feature, point by point. For example, "The electric light bulb lasts 80 hours, while the gas lamp lasts only 20 hours . . . ." Or as in this example (comparing two American presidents):
Consider how perfectly Harding met the requirements for president. Wilson was a visionary who liked to identify himself with "forward-looking men"; Harding was as old-fashioned as those wooden Indians which used to stand in front of cigar stores, "a flower of the period before safety razors." Harding believed that statemanship had come to its apogee in the days of McKinley and Foraker. Wilson was cold. Harding was an affable small-town man, at ease with "folks"; he was an ideal companion to play poker with all Saturday night. Wilson had always been difficult of access; Harding was accessible to the last degree. etc.
Don't use simultaneous structure all the way through the essay, however. It becomes monotonous. Use it sparingly. For most of the essay, use parallel order structure .
In parallel order structure you compare the two things separately but take up the same points in the same order. For example, you may spend half a paragraph on "thing A" and the other half of the paragraph on the corresponding characteristics of "thing B." Or, if you have enough material, devote one paragraph to the physical characteristics of an electric bulb lamp, and the next paragraph to the physical characteristics of the gas lamp.
Or say everything there is to say about the electric bulb lamp (its physical characteristics, history of development and operation), followed by everything there is to say about the gas lamp.
For the sake of variety you may switch to simultaneous comparison at one point in the essay, and then switch back to parallel order structure for the rest of the essay. In fact, there are many ways to structure a comparison essay; use whichever organization works best for your particular paper. Here are a few sample organizational methods. "A" stands for "thing A" (ex. electric lamp) and "B" stands for "thing B" (ex. gas lamp). Each number (1,2,3, etc.) stands for a different aspect of that thing (ex. physical characteristics, operation, history of development).
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- Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
This section will help you determine the purpose and structure of comparison/contrast in writing.
The Purpose of Compare/Contrast in Writing
Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.
Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.
The Structure of a Compare/Contrast Essay
The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting:
Thesis Statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.
Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.
You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:
- According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
- According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point
The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.
Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.
Phrases of Comparison and Contrast
Writing an Compare/Contrast Essay
First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.
The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.
After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis.
Compare/Contrast Essay Example
Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC
By Scott McLean in Writing for Success
Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.
Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.
Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.
Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.
Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.
- A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
- The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
- The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
- There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.
- Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
- Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
- Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.
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- Successful Writing. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC. Authored by : Scott McLean. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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- Overview of Instructor Resources
An Overview of the Writing Process
- Introduction to the Writing Process
- Introduction to Writing
- Your Role as a Learner
- What is an Essay?
- Reading to Write
- Defining the Writing Process
- Videos: Prewriting Techniques
- Thesis Statements
- Organizing an Essay
- Creating Paragraphs
- Editing and Proofreading
- Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
- Peer Review Checklist
- Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
- Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
- APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines
- Definitional Argument Essay
- How to Write a Definition Essay
- Critical Thinking
- Video: Thesis Explained
- Effective Thesis Statements
- Student Sample: Definition Essay
- Introduction to Narrative Essay
- Student Sample: Narrative Essay
- "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
- "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
- Video: The Danger of a Single Story
- How to Write an Annotation
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing for Success: Narration
- Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
- "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
- "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
- Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
- Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay
- Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
- "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
- "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
- "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
- Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay
- Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
- "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
- "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
- Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
- Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay
- Introduction to Argument Essay
- Rogerian Argument
- "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
- "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
- How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
- Writing for Success: Argument
- Student Sample: Argument Essay
- Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
- Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
- Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
- Mini-lesson: Fragments I
- Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
- Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
- Mini-lesson: Parallelism
- Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
- Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
- Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
- De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
- Style Exercise: Voice
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Comparative Analysis Essay Writing Guide
This kind of academic assignment is quite widespread in colleges or universities. It aims to show students how to review different types of materials, divide them into separate parts, and analyze each element in turn. Every comparative analysis essay requires in-depth research on the subject, the author's ability for critical thinking, and support for the position indicated in the material analyzed. Preparing the academic paperwork, you should make it fascinating and intelligent for your readers. Any comparative analysis paper may be a complicated task, but if you follow all the steps mentioned in our guidelines, the writing process will become much easier!
What Is a Comparative Analysis Paper?
In order to know what you can expect from the task, fully understanding the comparative analysis concept is vital. A comparative analysis is one of the most popular types of assignments that are often given in colleges or universities. In such paperwork for college or university, you should compare and oppose two different things. Those can be two texts, historical figures, scientific processes, theories, etc. These papers are very popular as college assignments because they are pretty universal: no matter what subject you study or what field you are working in - there are always things that can be compared. A "classic" version of a comparative analysis essay is when you select two similar things with a few critical differences. Or, it can be vice versa: two entirely different things have some similarities which may not even be noticed. Comparative analysis essays help students gain useful expertise, develop analytical thinking, improve their writing skills, the ability to highlight essential information, and, in the end, compare things and support your opinion with relevant facts and actual examples.
Every student should have some skills to write a quality comparative analysis paper. It's challenging and requires a lot of additional elaboration of the materials, but the result you get in the end is worth it. With the help of the comparative analysis approach, you can see how different some similar things might be and vice versa. It takes much time and a lot of effort to prepare an excellent academic assignment, but following the guide below will assist you in achieving the best results!
How To Do a Comparative Analysis
As we mentioned earlier, the comparative analysis paper is a bit tricky when discussing its primary concept. If you have to convince your audience, you should find real similarities and differences based on a specific comparison type. Here comes the challenge - you should analyze both principles you compare. In order to highlight those main commonalities and differences, your task is to learn the subject. Therefore, our advice for everyone who faces creating a comparative analysis paper is to study, explore and read a lot. The best thing is to expand the expertise in the chosen topic. It will serve you to prepare the assignment without any difficulties because everything you need to do after the analysis follows the basic structure guideline and sums up everything you've found on your topic. Those who do everything haphazardly, without any preparation whatsoever, might face problems during the actual writing. Let's take a closer look at some structural aspects of such essays.
The Structure Outlines
Apart from general standard parts like an introduction, primary part, results, discussion and conclusions, which you should include in your paperwork, some other structural characteristics are specific for a comparative analysis assignment.
You can choose among the two ways to build the textual structure:
- Point-by-point method. Choosing this type, you need to compare two subjects (let's name them A and B) using the ABABAB structure. Thus, after selecting the criteria for comparing these two concepts, you first discuss this criterion regarding subject A and then use the same approach for subject B. For example, if comparing the World War I and World War II, the essay's body structure might look like this:
- A Paragraph 1 - military strategies used in World War I
- B Paragraph 2 - military strategies used in World War II
- A Paragraph 3 - weapons and new technologies in World War I
- B Paragraph 4 - weapons and new technologies in World War II
- A Paragraph 5 - scale and duration of World War I
- B Paragraph 6 - scale and duration of World War II
- Block method: Subject-by-subject pattern. Here, you should discuss all aspects of subject A and then move to subject B. This method has the following structure of the body part:
- A Paragraphs 1-3 - The discussion of particular aspects of World War I
- B Paragraphs 4-6 - Discussing the same categories but reviewing the World War II events
In addition to those methods, we recommend building a comparative analysis assignment outline as we did with the essay's body. Outlining the whole paperwork will assist you in organizing your views and opinions and planning out the paper's structure beforehand. Write down all paragraph headings, the key questions you have decided to review and provide all necessary details you want to mention in the academic task.
Good Examples for Comparative Analysis Paper Topics
Everything begins with a subject, so it's one of the most critical aspects of a comparative analysis assignment. Do not be hasty when considering different topics and choose the best one that will be fascinating for your audience. Let's look at some examples:
- Fascism and Nazism: Different or the Same?
- World War I and World War II: The Difference in Events
- Coffee and Tea: The Effects of Both
- Working in the Office or Being a Freelancer?
- Education or Professional Career: What Is Easier and What Is More Difficult?
- Online Dating vs. Real-Life Relations
- Anorexia Nervosa and Obesity: What Is More Dangerous?
- Life and Death: Philosophical Views
Choose a good topic, follow the guideline and try to enjoy the writing process as much as you wish! Great results won't keep you waiting if you like what you're doing. We hope that our guidelines will come in handy to build top-notch paper!
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