How to write a comparative essay

How to write a comparative essay

If you’re assigned to write a comprehensive comparative paper,you are only a few steps away from its successful submission. Howto write a comparative essay? Start with choosing 2 subjects thathave enough differences and similarities to be compared in a goodway. For example, consider two governmental systems or two sportsteams. When you choose appropriate subjects, find a few points ofcomparison and use the following elements to captivate andimpress the audience:

  • Well-structured paragraphs;
  • Deep research;
  • Strong facts.

Writing comparative papers is an important skill that studentsneed to use many times during their studies.

How to develop the best content

Read and analyze assignment prompts and questions carefully. Youmay have good ideas for a comparative essay in your head, but ifthey don’t match given prompts, you will fail to write a goodpaper in the end. Look at assignment requirements attentively andunderline all keywords or phrases. Keep their list at hand whilewriting your essay because most comparative assignments signaltheir basic purpose by using specific words. Check whether yourprompts contain any limits placed on a topic.

Understanding the right type of comparison

Next, you should understand the type of comparison paper thatteachers ask you to write. Some essays are standard compare andcontrast, while others ask you to start with a certain frameworkand develop an argument or an evaluation based on comparisons.For these comparative essays, just pointing out either differentor similar things won’t be enough.

Generally, assignment prompts ask different guiding questions ifyou’re asked to incorporate a comparison as a part of a biggerwriting task. If you aren’t clear on what you need to do, talk toteachers to clarify all questions and avoid ending up with anincorrect essay.

Listing differences and similarities

Although you’re asked to submit a comparative paper, theinclusion of contrasting materials should be implied when listingboth differences and similarities of the items you want tocompare. Making a list of things that they have in common andtheir differences is the best place to get started.

Evaluate this list because it’s likely that the assigned wordlimit won’t let you write about everything on it. Read your listand identify common patterns or themes among all items becausethis simple technique will help you choose the basis of a futurecomparison. Feel free to develop a particular system, includinghighlighting different similarities in different colors.

Establishing the basis of your comparison

The basis of your comparison should be established because itprovides the whole paper with the right context or how you willexamine chosen items. The basis has different forms, including:

  • A theoretical approach, like multiculturalism or feminism;
  • A historical theme, such as emancipation and colonialism;
  • Anything that does with details, characteristics, or themesabout different things;
  • A frame of referencing or a ground for a comparison;
  • A problem or question to find an answer or a solution.

Your comparison must have an overarching idea or a specificthesis to determine the main reason why you want to compare givenobjects. Sometimes, instructors assign a basis in prompts, socheck them carefully.

Researching the subjects of comparison

Although you need to have a deep understanding of the thingscompared, you shouldn’t provide readers with more details thatthis assignment can handle. Compare several aspects of everytopic instead of covering it comprehensively. Research is notalways appropriate for or required by a given assignment. If acomparative essay isn’t meant to include it, you can skip thisstep. Comparative papers about the following topics are morelikely to require students to research:

  • Social issues;
  • Historical events;
  • Science-related matters.

You need to cite any data correctly and based on a particulardiscipline.

Developing a thesis statement

How to write a comparative essay

Every comparative paper must be controlled by a concise and clearthesis. Even if teachers assign a basis for comparison, it’sstill necessary to express in a short sentence why you want tocompare specific items. Ensure that your comparison revealssomething about their nature or relationship. The main purpose ofa thesis statement is to express a major argument.

How to organize your essay content

Before you start writing a comparative essay, outline or plan themost effective organization strategy. A unique feature of thisassignment is that you can choose from different organizationmethods. Some students prefer to use a standard outline, whileothers choose different methods, such as bulleted points in theright order. For example, you can write down key points on stickynotes to rearrange them when needed.

Using a mixed-paragraphs method

This organization strategy requires you to address bothcomparison halves in every paragraph. The first one compares thefirst aspect of every subject, while the second one compares thesecond, etc. However, you need to address all subjects in thesame order. The greatest benefit of this method is that it keepsa comparison in readers’ minds while forcing you to pay equalattention to every side of your argument. This structuring methodis often chosen for complicated subjects or lengthy comparativeessays where both readers and writers may easily get lost.

Alternating subjects in all paragraphs

Discuss only one subject in one paragraph, which means that thefirst one will compare only a single aspect of the subject andthe same aspect of others. Your basic task is to address everysubject in the same order. The main benefit of this essaystructure is that it allows students to discuss all points inmore detail while making it less complicated to tacks radicallydifferent topics. It’s usually recommended for the comparativeessays that require more depth and details.

Covering only one subject at a time

Devote the first set of body paragraphs to addressing each aspectof the first subject. The second set should address each aspectof the second one, thus addressing every point in the same order.This structuring method seems quite tricky for some studentsbecause a comparison can easily become 1-sided and hard to followfor the audience. You can use it only for short comparativeessays with simple subjects that readers can easily remember.

How to write your essay

How to write a comparative essay

Your comparative essay can be written out of order. Although manyteachers advise their students to sit down and complete thisassignment from start to finish, this method is hard and likelyto make all ideas disjointed. That’s why you should try thefollowing writing approach instead.

Write body paragraphs first and work through any information thatyou have to see what story it can tell you. Only after that, youwill know a larger point of your essay. Next, write a concludingparagraph because the main point is still fresh in your mind. Theessay introduction is usually written last, and it’s all aboutrephrasing or reorganizing its conclusion, but you shouldn’t usethe same phrases and words. Finally, proofread and edit yourcomparative essay to fix all errors.

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