Compare and Contrast Instructions
You are required to submit the FINAL copy of this assignment, but you may first submit an optional DRAFT. This will allow you to receive qualitative feedback that can inform your revision. You should always avoid focusing solely on the grader’s DRAFT feedback; use the feedback as a supplement to the course lessons and your own revision ideas. Always expect to revise beyond what the DRAFT grader specifically notes.
The table below provides an extensive list of topic options, and we recommend that you choose one that you are interested in beyond this course. For instance, if you are a Finance or Business major, you might be interested in the Stocks v. Bonds topic. If you are a Political Science major, you might choose Monarchy v. Presidency. Or perhaps you’re taking StraighterLine’s Intro to Philosophy course, in which case you might opt for the Hobbes v. Locke topic. Note that you must use at least one credible source to support your ideas.
Additional helpful resources:
You may choose any of these topics:
Choose one of the options above and write an essay comparing or contrasting the two topics in your selection using EITHER the point-by-point OR the subject-by-subject method to organize the details and specific examples. Consider focusing on three to five subtopics and generate ideas through prewriting. Develop a strong thesis statement for your essay that both includes your opinion (either your preference for one topic over the other OR which topic is best for each subtopic) as well as the specific supporting points you used to compare or contrast the two topics in your body paragraphs.
Sample Thesis Statements:
If you will argue that your two topics are mostly similar:
Topic A and Topic B share many similar characteristics, including (Supporting point 1), (Supporting point 2), and (Supporting point 3); while they differ in (Additional supporting point), the similarities greatly outweigh the differences.
If you will argue that your two topics are mostly different:
While Topic A and Topic B have (Additional supporting point) in common, they are mostly quite different; in fact, they differ in characteristics such as (Supporting point 1), (Supporting point 2), and (Supporting point 3).
If you will argue that your two topics have many important/interesting similarities and differences:
Analyzing Topic A and Topic B reveals many fascinating similarities as well as differences; for instance, they share (Supporting point 1) and (Supporting point 1), but are vastly different when it comes to (Supporting point 3) and (Supporting point 4).
To brainstorm, you might consider using a Venn diagram or a simple list to show what your topics have in common and how they differ. Then you can select the most prominent or interesting characteristics that you want to highlight in your paper.
Be sure to avoid beginning your comparisons or contrasts in the introduction. Your thesis is the only place in the introduction where you will include this information. Use the introduction to get your reader’s attention, and consider using a good strategy that leads into the topic. For instance, you might relate a short anecdote to illustrate your topic, an interesting quotation that relates to your topic, or perhaps a surprising statistic that reveals something about your topic.
Then, in the body paragraphs remember to support your preference(s) outlined in the thesis. For instance, if you said you prefer the city over the country, your comparisons or contrasts should show evident favoritism for the city. Remember to avoid focusing on similarities in one paragraph and differences in another. Instead, compare or contrast the same subtopics across the two topics. If you choose the point-by-point structure, the topic sentence for each paragraph should include the paragraph’s two topics as well as your opinion.
The conclusion should sum up the specific supporting points as well as your overall assessment of why these points are important. Consider what kinds of interesting or new conclusions you can draw from your comparison. In other words, your essay must reveal why your comparison is important. A well-developed paragraph often contains a minimum of five sentences. Note that any of the main sections below labeled with Roman Numerals (I, II, III, IV) could be more than just a single paragraph.
II. Supporting point 1
III. Supporting point 2
IV. Supporting point 3
V. Supporting point 4 or Additional point
II. Topic 1
III. Topic 2
Here’s an example of how you might organize using these methods for an essay about cats versus dogs as pets (remember, this topic is not one of the options for this essay).
II. Subtopic 1: Noise level
III. Subtopic 2: Exercise
IV. Subtopic 3: Cleanliness
II. Topic 1: Cats
III. Topic 2: Dogs
The guidelines for this assignment are as follows:
Remember to apply the concepts you’re learning in the course, including elements of grammar, punctuation, thesis development, and other skills.
Length: This assignment should be at least 500 words.
Sources: You need a bare minimum of one credible source for this assignment.
Header: Include a header in the upper left-hand corner of your writing assignment with the following information:
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