A compare/contrast paper looks at ways that certain things or ideas are similar (compare) or different (contrast). It is designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of not only two items you are comparing but also to better understand themes in your other coursework and assignments.
This paper style is helpful in learning how to make connections between texts or ideas and encourages you to go beyond memorization of facts by encouraging critical thinking skills. This is a life skill that can help you any time you need to make a choice, whether it’s purchasing a new car, shopping for insurance, or even choosing a home.
Most assignments use very clear language when it comes to telling you expectations—compare, contrast, similarities, and differences. Some assignments will only ask for compare or contrast while others will want a combination of both.
However, sometimes the wording is not clear. For example:
While the question does not directly ask for compare/contrast, both examples are asking you to do just that. It is important to fully read your assignment to understand what is expected of your work.
Research assignments can be difficult to begin, especially if you are not sure how to get started. This guide is intended to help you with the prewriting process of compare/contrast papers.
For more research and writing help, check out the guides below.