Writing Compare and Contrast Papers



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Writing Compare & Contrast Papers

Writing Compare and Contrast Papers


Characteristics

Writing Compare and Contrast

Examples

Decision paper, Position Paper, Marketing/Sales writing, Debates

Purpose

Help the reader make a decision

Organization Method of Ideas

Whole-by-whole or Part-by-part

Audience/Reader

Decision maker

Point of View (1st, 2nd, 3rd)

2nd

Tone (based on word choice & format [visual appeal, fonts])

Formal

Pace (the speed that ideas are presented to the reader)

Med

Cognitive Skill

Critical analysis; even evaluation of criteria

Writing Skill

Objective writing

Builds on…

Organization skills

Formatted

Report, Presentation, email

Ethical scenarios

Fail to evaluate evenly across criteria; exaggerate evaluation; fail to be objective in evaluation

Getting Started


  • Purpose: What decision needs to be made

  • Who are the decision makers (audience)? Analyze their knowledge level with respect to the subjects, criteria, and decision that will be made.

  • What are the subjects? How many subjects?

  • What criteria need to be evaluated by the decision maker before the decision can be made? Select criteria based on the decision that needs to be made.

  • Do you have any secondary audiences? If so, what is their role in the decision making process?

  • Outline an Intro-Body-Conclusion structure.

Introduction


The introduction section must

Comparison/Contrast Body Sections


The support sections contain the comparison/contrast. Introduce each criterion and present the comparison. Compare/contrast papers are traditionally objective, so do not make the decision for the reader.

There are two organization methods (see Figure 1):



  • Whole-by-whole method – or Subject-by-subject – covering one subject at a time and cover the criteria in the same order, applying it consistently for each subject.

  • Part-by-part method – or Point-by-point – covering one criterion at a time and evaluate the criterion consistently for each subject, always covering the subjects in the same order.

Choose one method and stick with it. The method you choose must be obvious. Use headings to assist the reader.
Figure 1: Outlines for Whole-by-whole and Part-by-part C/C Papers

Once you understand writing compare and contrast using the sample outline, it’s possible to combine these models.


Conclusion


Your Conclusion section sums up the criteria that your audience needs to consider when making the decision. Do not reiterate the comparison in the conclusion. The conclusion could include a separate recommendation section.

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