The aim when writing a compare and contrast essay is to examine a topic from a range of viewpoints. The intent is to show analytical writing and the ability to identify similarities and differences between two theories, articles, or research papers in a topic area. Producing a good compare and contrast essay means being able to think critically and analyse information from two or more sources. This type of essay is more than just descriptive as it needs to show analysis and explanation of the relationship between two or more constructs or papers.
Writing a Good Compare and Contrast Essay
A key point to remember when producing a compare and contrast essay is that the work should have a very clear structure, be well organised and coherent in the presented arguments. In addition, the intended audience should be able to clearly identify the most important points and arguments made for each side. To achieve this, here are a few tips for mastering your compare and contrast essay.
Start with analysis
Brainstorm. Pick out the characteristics of the two subjects, and a good way to do this is a Venn diagram of interlocking circles or a mind map. This creates a visual means of identifying where they overlap and where they differ and can help you in structuring your arguments and viewpoints.
Find your thesis statement
From your visual analysis, draw out the main argument that you intend to make, this is known as thesis statement and involves creation of clear headings or topic sentences which will be the foundation of your final work.
Create an introduction
The introduction is what will draw in your readers, so should be brief, concise, and very clear about the arguments you intend to make. In other words, you need to hook your reader’s attention. This can be with a clear statement or rhetorical question. Once you have stated what you intend to say you can give a brief indication of what you will cover in your essay, including your thesis statement.
Complete the body of the work
This section should be clearly separated into paragraphs, with each paragraph covering only one point. Generally, it is best to focus on the differences first and then the similarities so that you work is coherent and logical. You should however link arguments with phrases such “Moreover”, “Furthermore”, and “As a result” so that the overall work shows a high level of cohesion and train of thought. In addition, your arguments should be backed up by relevant, reliable, and credible sources which are referenced at the end of your work.
Write a compelling conclusion
Conclusions are vital in a compare and contrast essay, as with any work. This is because this section draws together all the points and arguments, before making stating final judgement, evaluation, or opinion. As with the introduction, the conclusions should be clear and definitive, but crucially should not contain any new information not already covered in the main body.
Finally, as with any essay or report, you should always proofread, revise, and ensure that your work flows logically and makes clear arguments are that backed up by credible sources. By following these tips, you will demonstrate the ability to effectively evaluate, compare and consider multiple sources of information and constructs and increase your overall critical thinking abilities.