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Comparison/Contrast Paper
Hints Class Materials Resources


As your text explains, when you compare, you point out how things are alike. When you contrast, you explore their differences.

For this assignment, you need to

  • Find articles that take different positions on a topic.
  • Write at least 1,500 words comparing and contrasting the different points of view you find on this topic.
    • Introduction: Give an overview of the different points of view.
      • You might start with a question; for example, are terrorists really crazy?
      • If you're ready to take a stand, you can states the point you're trying to prove in a thesis statement.
      • If you're not yet sure where you stand, you can use a synthesis statement to give an overview of the opposing sides:
        People who believe in gun control argue that restrictions on weapons are necessary to keep us safe. However, some believe that gun control limits Americans' constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
    • Body: Summarize the arguments on different sides of the issue, using
      • point-by-point comparison or
      • block method
    • Conclusion: Provide a conclusion that gives readers a reason to care about the different points of view.
  • Provide parenthetical citation and a Reference list using APA format.

Hints for Writing

  • Look over your notes to find themes: ideas that are repeated or ideas that relate to each other.
  • Organize your information using either using either point-by-point comparison or the block method.
  • Use phrases like on the other hand or opponents argue to signal when you begin writing about another point of view.
  • Follow models based on class assignments or from published sources.

Class Materials

Compare/Contrast Model (.doc)
Compare/Contrast Rubric (.doc)

Internet Resources

Comparison/Contrast Papers (Bailey, Ch. 15)

Using Borrowed Material in Your Papers (Bailey, Ch. 23)

Comparison/Contrast Papers (LEO's basic step-by-step guide)

Comparison/Contrast (Thomson Learning; good advice on getting started and how to improve comparisons)

How to Write a Comparative Analysis (Harvard; goes beyond the basics)

Comparison/Contrast Papers (UNC; includes several examples, including a Venn diagram)


   Copyright in these materials belongs to C. Munzenmaier © 2005.
Teachers are free to reproduce or modify them for nonprofit educational use.