You should know what a comparative essay is before you get to writing. A comparative essay is composed of many paragraphs explaining how two subjects are either similar or different. These essays mainly compare and contrast various aspects of the subjects in question. In this context, comparing is to identify the similarities between the subjects, while contrasting is describing their differences. They are not limited to specific topics; they can cover almost every theme on Earth if the subjects are somewhat interconnected.
What is a Comparative Essay?
Comparative means the one aimed to measure or judge issues based on their similarities and differences. Therefore, a comparative essay usually needs the author to compare two objects or questions with similarities and differences. The subjects might have some close relation or may be different.
How to Write a Comparison Essay: Structure and Outline
At this point, we have killed the elephant in the room, which is developing the content of our comparative essay and deciding the essay structure we will use. We are now left with writing the essay. The comparative essay outline is simple.
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The introduction paragraph mainly gives the reader a glimpse of the essay in terms of its content and the reader’s expectation. It should therefore be simple and clear. It should also have a thesis statement highlighting the essay’s purpose and what will be discussed in the comparative analysis essay, not forgetting a simple conclusion.
At this stage, you are just transferring what you had while identifying the things about the idea you will compare and organizing them in the preferred structure.
Consider these points just as a reminder:
- 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.
The conclusion is meant to give the reader an overview of the comparative essay. It comprises a review of what has been captured in the body paragraph, followed by a conclusion about the two points. The conclusion should be a product of the identified similarities and differences, not personal preferences.
NOTE: Ensure that you REVISE your work.
There are always some small errors that you may not notice while writing a comparative essay. Once you are done with everything and still have time left before submitting your work, make sure you go through it to remove some small errors that might cost you a good grade.
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Tips on How to Start a Comparative Essay
Before starting to write an essay, it is very important to understand what it is about. First of all, you should know what comparative means. You need to find the response to the problem. It is, therefore, advisable to first study the prompt at length, highlighting the keywords to identify the exact need. Most students use the phrase “compare and contrast” or simply “similarities and differences” to start the comparative essay.
Read also: Best ways to start an essay.
Step-by-Step Writing Guide to Write a Comparative Analysis
Step 1: Identify the basis of the comparison.
Given the question, you have to develop the basis of comparison. Usually, the question provides the basis of comparison, but there are cases where the author needs to develop the same.
- 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.
This step involves identifying what will feature in your essay. It involves identifying the similarities and differences of the items in comparison. You need to develop a list of ways the issues are the same and different. This list will enable you to develop and write the initial plan of the essay.
The list should be thoroughly evaluated so that only the essay’s main points of comparison are considered. The focus should be mainly on the related points, and those of less significance should be canceled.
Step 3: Come up with a thesis.
When you want to write a comparative essay, find a clear thesis statement that guides you. It doesn’t matter whether the question gives the basis for comparison or has been identified by the author.
To develop the thesis statement, you should first look at the list containing the various aspects of comparison and then decide whether the subjects tend to be more similar or quite different. Based on this judgment, a simple comparative essay thesis statement should be developed. This thesis statement should reflect how the points share similarities and differences. In complex cases, the essay statement should highlight both the similarities of the fields while not forgetting their differences.
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Step 4: Develop the comparative essay structure.
You can write essays in different ways. A comparative essay is, therefore, not an exception since it must be organized so that the reader can easily follow the comparisons made in the essay.
The following are the main methods by which a comparative essay can be structured.
Step 5: Write your compare essay.
After you have collected all the arguments, definitions, and materials for creating the paper, you are ready to write the college assignment. State the collected facts and details in your comparative essay. Write your point of view and dive into the details. Stick to the structure you have created.
After the paper is ready, read and edit it. Remove all non-essential details, errors, and inaccuracies.
Comparative Essay Format
Most comparison essays are written in the classical format: introduction, main body, and conclusions. In the introductory part, you can talk about the research question and what you are comparing. In the central part, you can give arguments and counterarguments, compare the main common details and show the differences. In conclusion, you can again recall the analyzed issue and the main findings.
In general, there are several approaches to comparative writing a research essay. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
In this method, the comparison aspect is fully handled in one paragraph. It means that a full paragraph explains one item of comparison about the first theme in detail. Write your arguments carefully. This will then be followed by another paragraph explicitly explaining the same aspect, but now it deals with the second question. The first and second paragraphs explain the same comparison aspect but deal with the first and second arguments, respectively. Then, the third and fourth paragraphs will deal with another aspect but for the first and second points, respectively. This sequence goes on until the end of the essay.
- Gives more details about the item in comparison, making it easy to handle two different points;
- Produces a well-analyzed and integrated paper.
When to use this method?
- Cases where detailed comparison is needed;
- When the points of comparison are not related.
Mixed paragraphs method;
Here, one paragraph explains how the theses compare based on one aspect. It means you write the first point and then finish tackling the second one.
- gives the issues equal weights in terms of comparison;
- the reader gets to identify the comparison factor easily.
When to use this method?
- When dealing with a long comparative essay;
- When dealing with complex topics that need close attention.
It is quite the easiest method to write, though challenging. The basic principle here is to divide the essay into two parts. The first part is devoted to one point, and the second is devoted to the other. It means that question one and all the items of comparison involved are explained in the first part then the second part handles only question two.
However, you should be keen to ensure that the order of the first part is strictly followed in the second part to allow for easy following and relation.
When to use this method?
- 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.
Note: As mentioned earlier, this is a hazardous method because one can view it as one-sided and poses a challenge to the reader in relating the theses.
Comparative Essay Topics
The list of topics that can fall under this docket is endless. However, there are some common topics, such as:
- 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)
It is always essential to go through a comparative essay sample. It helps guide you on the structure of the essay, building your capacity to write a better one.
Here is a simple sample of a comparative essay.
Different countries have adopted some political and economic ideologies. The major ones include capitalism and communism. Even though these two ideologies have staunch differences, they also have some similarities. Therefore, this paper examines the similarities and differences between the two.
The first similarity between capitalism and communism is that they both work in a democratic government. For capitalism, a democratic government allows people to own the means of production and use the same to create wealth. On the other hand, when it comes to socialism, a democratic government allows for the equal distribution of wealth and all the factors related to wealth production.
Secondly, both the two political ideologies are subjected to government intervention.
The first difference between these two political ideologies is the means of production. In a communist society, the means of production are solely under the society’s custody. On the other hand, the resources of the means of production are owned by individuals in capitalist society.
Secondly, in a communist society, the society decides on the amount of production and determines the price of the same commodities. On the other hand, in a capitalist society, an individual is in charge of the amount he/she wants to produce and the price to charge.
In conclusion, these two political ideologies have similarities, such as they both work well in a democratic government and are all issues of government intervention. They also differ regarding who owns the means of production, who decides on the production level, and the commodities prices. Therefore, a successful society should be a mixed society supporting communism and capitalism.