How to Choose a Topic and Write a Compare and Contrast Essay  in college depends on the instructor’s guidelines: Begin by choosing a topic for your comparison/contrast essay.

How to Choose a Topic and Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

You are free to select your own topic, or you may use one of the sample topics listed below. However, you should choose a topic that you have knowledge of so that you have sufficient points of comparison or contrast to discuss in your essay. You will need to compare or contrast two or three primary points about the two subjects you choose to write about, resulting in an essay with either four or six body paragraphs, an introductory paragraph, and a conclusion.

How to develop your compare and contrast essay topics

Remember that the two subjects you choose should have a meaningful connection so that you can draw comparisons or contrasts between the two.

Your thesis should convey the main idea of the essay and clearly articulate what two topics you are comparing/contrasting. Because you are writing in the informative mode for this essay, you should use objective language. Remember that for this essay, you are not trying to persuade or convince the audience that one thing is better or worse than the other; you are instead informing the reader about the similarities or differences between the two subjects in an objective manner.

  1. Think About Your Writing. After you’ve drafted your essay, answer the following questions about your writing. Include answers to all of the questions below your essay.
  2. Did you use the point-by-point or block method to organize your body paragraphs? What made you decide to organize your essay in this way (3-4 sentences)? Sophia says: Consider the ways a comparison/contrast essay can be organized. Which organization did you choose and why?
  3. In what ways did writing a comparison/contrast essay differ from the Narrative essay you wrote in Touchstone 1? Give specific examples (3-4 sentences). Sophia says: Consider how the structure, point of view, and purpose of the two essays differ.
  4. Remember that the writing process is a recursive process, and your first draft of an essay is rarely your last. What part of the draft did you struggle with (3-4 sentences)? Sophia says: Think about how you could improve the draft if you continued the writing process with revision and editing.
  5. Comparison/Contrast Guidelines

Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until your draft meets all of the guidelines. Print this checklist!

Elements of a Comparison/Contrast Essay

❒ Are there significant points of comparison or contrast between the two subjects you have selected?
❒ Do you make clear comparisons or contrasts between the two subjects within the body paragraphs of the essay?
❒ Are the body paragraphs organized either by point or by subject?
❒ Have you used transitional words or phrases to indicate points being compared or contrasted?
❒ Does the essay have a clear and consistent focus of comparing and contrasting two subjects?

Thesis Statement
❒ Have you included a clear, focused, and detailed thesis statement?
❒ Does your thesis state the subjects to be compared or contrasted and include the two or three points of comparison or contrast?
❒ Is your thesis a single sentence located in the introductory paragraph?

❒ Is there an introductory paragraph that contains your thesis statement?
❒ Are there four or six total body paragraphs, each with a clear topic sentence?
❒ Is there a conclusion paragraph with a concluding statement?
❒ Have you used transitions to connect ideas between sentences and paragraphs?

Style and Tone
❒ Is the tone of the essay objective and informative?
❒ Have you carefully considered your word choices?
❒ Is the purpose of your essay clearly to inform the reader about the similarities or differences between the two subjects?

❒ Have you checked your essay for grammatical and mechanical errors?
❒ Have you used spell check or another method to check spelling?

Before you Submit
❒ Have you included your name, date, and course at the top left of the page?
❒ Have you completed the “Think About Your Writing” questions?
❒ Is your essay between 3-4 pages (approximately 700-1000 words)?

Compare and contrast essay ideas: Research paper

Sources to be cited: Write a documented research paper about a topic of your choosing. This should be a continuation and a culmination of the work that you have done throughout the term so far. In your paper, you should make a convincing argument that you support with appropriate evidence and claims. You will integrate at least eight relevant and reliable sources (at least five must be academic sources) by applying your summary, analysis, and synthesis skills.

Your Compare and contrast essay ideas paper should not only demonstrate an understanding of the context and sources, but also contribute meaningfully to the conversation about your topic.

As you have already mapped out a focus for your investigation in the research proposal, you will now have to explain your ideas in more detail. Although your own argument is a central component of the paper, you will also have to actively engage other critical sources that address your topic.

Larger compare and contrast essay ideas surrounding your topic should be clear. As a participant in this conversation, you should contribute a unique and convincing argument and demonstrate a thorough understanding of your topic. Your paper should cite at least six sources that are current (published since 2010) and diverse.

Since we have participated in several peer review sessions throughout the semester, your classmates should be able to o?

invaluable critical insights into the topic you chose to address and act as good arbiters of your paper’s quality. I also strongly recommend that you visit the Writing Center during the writing process. Of course, if you have questions about the project, please feel free to ask me.

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