Comparative Essay Outline

Essay outline is a technique that can help you create a great essay. Outlines help you write essays with a clear flow of ideas in an organized way. How to Write a Comparative Analysis Throughout your academic career, you'll be asked to write papers in which you compare and contrast two things: two texts, two theories, two historical figures, two scientific processes, and so on. A comparative essay is a composition made of many paragraphs that try to explain how two subjects are either similar or different. These essays are mainly about comparing and contrasting various aspects of the subjects in question.

What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamletand Macbeth)
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.

Make sure you know the basis for comparison

The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.

  • Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
  • Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.

Develop a list of similarities and differences

Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.

For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations, being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.

The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.

Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences

Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:

  1. Differences outweigh similarities:

    While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.

  2. Similarities outweigh differences:

    Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.

Come up with a structure for your essay

  1. Alternating method: Point-by-point patternIn the alternating method, you find related points common to your central subjects A and B, and alternate between A and B on the basis of these points (ABABAB …). For instance, a comparative essay on the French and Russian revolutions might examine how both revolutions either encouraged or thwarted innovation in terms of new technology, military strategy, and the administrative system.
    AParagraph 1 in bodynew technology and the French Revolution
    BParagraph 2 in bodynew technology and the Russian Revolution
    AParagraph 3 in bodymilitary strategy and the French Revolution
    BParagraph 4 in bodymilitary strategy and the Russian Revolution
    AParagraph 5 in bodyadministrative system and the French Revolution
    BParagraph 6 in bodyadministrative system and the Russian Revolution

    Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.

    When do I use the alternating method? Professors often like the alternating system because it generally does a better job of highlighting similarities and differences by juxtaposing your points about A and B. It also tends to produce a more tightly integrated and analytical paper. Consider the alternating method if you are able to identify clearly related points between A and B. Otherwise, if you attempt to impose the alternating method, you will probably find it counterproductive.

  2. Block method: Subject-by-subject patternIn the block method (AB), you discuss all of A, then all of B. For example, a comparative essay using the block method on the French and Russian revolutions would address the French Revolution in the first half of the essay and the Russian Revolution in the second half. If you choose the block method, however, do not simply append two disconnected essays to an introductory thesis. The B block, or second half of your essay, should refer to the A block, or first half, and make clear points of comparison whenever comparisons are relevant. (“Unlike A, B . . .” or “Like A, B . . .”) This technique will allow for a higher level of critical engagement, continuity, and cohesion.
    AParagraphs 1–3 in bodyHow the French Revolution encouraged or thwarted innovation
    BParagraphs 4–6 in bodyHow the Russian Revolution encouraged or thwarted innovation

    When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:

    • You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
    • Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
    • You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.

Before starting to write the comparative essay, you should first understand it appropriately. It is basically a composition containing one or more paragraphs that contains the similarities or differences between any two or more things. Below is complete guideline containing information about How to write Comparative essay?

What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay is also known as compare and contrast essays. The aim of writing a comparative essay is to compare two different things that share certain properties. We compare them to find either differences or similarities. The two objects that you compare in a comparative essay may have some close relation or may they share different properties. You can compare two or more items with this. The students might be asked to compare:

  • Two different or similar events
  • Different or similar texts
  • Two different or similar figures
  • Different or similar theories
  • Two different positions on an issue

Example of Comparative essay

A student is asked to write an essay on who has more entrepreneurial skills among two that is MR. Smith or John. Before starting to compare John and Smith , you can first provide their introduction. For instance, Mr. Smith is manager of Abc company and Mr. john is manager of xyz organisation. Mr smith has following capabilities such as risk taking capabilities, knowledge about management, communication skill, leadership quality. On the other hand, John has high level of confidence , knowledge about business and market, leadership qualities, visionary power etc.

Among both of them Mr. john has more entrepreneurial skills he has two important skills that is visionary power , knowledge about market and business which is crucial for becoming successful entrepreneur.

In context of characterization, Smith and John has few similar characteristics that both has risk taking and effective communication skills. It can also be highlighted that John is immortal it means that he has never face defeat. The statement also means that John has always been successful in accomplishing his aim. Hence , it is proved that Mr john has more entrepreneurial skills as compared to Smith.

How to write a good comparative essay?

Here are 9 steps you need to follow for writing a formative essay these are:

Step 1: Define both sides

Comparative Essay Outline Example

At the beginning of your comparative essay you should clearly define both the items individually. You should first perform preliminary research for gathering the information about each item. it is best to include background information about each item in introduction part of essay.

Step 2 : Determine the basis of your comparison

First, you should understand what is the aim and basis of your topic. It is a very important step to write comparative essay. At this step, you will also need to determine the main area on which you will concentrate on while writing comparative essay.

Step 3: Write the expected outcome

This is a step where you need to provide reason for making the comparison between two items. You also are require to clearly specify what you intend to prove by making comparison between two specific items.

Step 4: Write a perfect thesis statement

Include a thesis statement about your topic in the introduction paragraph. The thesis should be attention holder of the reader.

Step 5: Develop the content of the essay

Now its time to organize the content and rightful information for writing comparative essay

Step 6: Develop the structure of the essay

Now develop the structure of the essay. The structure contains the format in which your essay would be arranged.

Comparative Essay Outline Format

Step 7. Write introduction

You need to consider following things when writing an introductory part for comparative essay.

Be assertive and clear

Never write apologizing sentences for the reader that you are not a professional or you don’t have a clear understanding of the two topics. Never start your introduction with the phrase such as:

  • But I believe
  • I could be wrong
  • In my humble opinion etc.

Instead of starting your introduction with such phrases, begin it with full confidence. The introduction should be started in accordance with the thesis statement and essay outline of your topic. Never directly announce your intentions in a formal or straightforward manner. Avoid using statements such as:

  • “The purpose of this essay is to”
  • “In this paper, I will”

The aim of your essay should be easily depicted able by the first two paragraphs of the introduction paragraph.

Create a hook for your first sentence

The hook is also known as the attention grabber. It is helpful for the writer to write a hook sentence to grab the attention of the reader in case your topic is not so interesting. A hook should be created by using any of these beginning points:

  1. A thought-provoking question: Start the introduction with a question that makes the reader to get engaged or think about your topic.
  2. A brilliant anecdote: A story in brief that holds the moral or symbolic weight is referred to as an anecdote. Go for an anecdote that gives your essay a poetic or powerful beginning. Your research for the essay can also help to find a brilliant anecdote.
  3. A challenging quotation: You can use a quotation that is appropriate according to your essay topic.
  4. A fascinating or astonishing instance: You can take an interesting example as a hook that could grab the attention of the reader and make them engaging.

Revise introduction

There is one more method to write an introduction, where you can use a temporary introduction. The temporary introduction contains a thesis statement. Then after completing the writing of your entire essay, you can go back and revise or rewrite your essay. In case you are not sure about the introduction that what you are going to discuss in the paragraphs or what will be the main argument of your essay then you can prefer writing the introduction at last.

While writing the introduction, organize your main ideas, think about the important points and purify your thoughts. Revising or rewriting your essay introduction will give the surety that your introduction matches up with the body paragraphs of your essay.

Comparative Essay Outline

Comparison Essay Outline Example

Step 8: Main body

Before starting to write the main body paragraph for comparative essay you need to first determine that whether similarities is greater than differences or vice versa.

There are basically two techniques which you can utilize for writing the main body section in your comparative essay . One of the technique is to have discussion on similarities which both the item have in common. You can write the differences between two items in next paragraph. of main body part. In the main body paragraph of comparative essay you can provide your view about both the items. You can follow block or alternating method for structuring your main body paragraphs of comparative essay. In relation to alternating method, single point which relate to subject matter A and B and then alternates between these two points. Block method include the discussion on A matter first then b. If in case different points are not related to each other then you can utilize the alternating method.

Step 9 : Draft conclusion

In the conclusion section of comparative essay you need to provide detail overview of this part , it is very much essential for to make sure that conclusion consist of important information in the main body. You should complete your essay by writing your own analysis.

Guidelines for writing a comparative essay

At the time of writing comparative essay you need to keep in mind few crucial points such as :

Make sure you have knowledge of the basis of comparison

How To Write A Comparative Essay Outline

Before starting to write comparative essay, you should review questions. As it is the tactics which will help you in addressing the things you are require to compare. You should also review the college guidelines before starting to write comparative essay. It is the strategy which will help you in determining the format which you need to follow for making the comparison between two things.

For instance, you are making comparison between qualitative and quantitative research then your basis of comparison can be methodology, collection of data , sample size etc.

Prepare list, highlight differences and similarities between things

It is a step, where you need to critically think about the similarities and difference between things. You can make separate list for similarities and differences. By preparing a list of similarities and differences you will get a clue which would further assist you in formulation of plan.

Develop thesis statement

At this step you need to design thesis statement on the basis of differences and similarities. It is very much essential for you to make sure that the thesis statement which you have design clearly demonstrate both differences and similarities between the items. It shows represent importance of each item.

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