ENGLISH 101.  ACADEMIC WRITING
DR. G's COMPARE/CONTRAST ESSAY PLANNER


Note: some students like to use a form to organize their COW. To write the prelimnary compare/contrast essay for your research project, you may wish to use the following planner as an outline or guide. The form is suggested but optional.

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Assignment: Preliminary Compare/contrast Essay


I. Introductory material
(can be a paragraph or even more, depending on how complex the source information is).

a. What lead-in material could you use? (You may want to answer this question after the rest of the essay has been written.)

b. What are the two sources? Use good signal phrases and proper parentheticals in summarizing them.

c. What is your purpose in writing this essay? Give your thesis statement or topic sentence clearly.

II. Comparisons (can be one paragraph or several, depending on how comparable the two sources are).

a. Make a general statement evaluating how similar the two sources are. (This claim will be backed up by what you say in II.b.)

b. What are the chief similarities or agreement between the two sources? Be specific. Comparisons might include

comparable subject matter;

comparable approach or method of investigation;

comparable conclusions; or

other similarities such as comparable expertise or backgrounds of the authors, comparable dates of publication, comparable quality of publications in which the sources appeared.

c. If one source mentions the other, what favorable comments are made?

III. Contrasts (can be one paragraph or several, depending on how dissimilar the two sources are)

a. Make a general statement evaluating how dissimilar the two sources are. (This claim will be backed up by what you say in III.b.)

b. What are the chief dissimilarities or disagreement between the two sources? Be specific. Distinctions might include:

minor differences in subject matter (The assignment calls for you to write about two sources on the same subject, but minor differences are almost inevitable.);

different approach or method of investigation;

different conclusions; or

other distinctions such as different expertise or backgrounds of the authors, different dates of publication, different quality of publications in which the sources appeared.

c. If one source mentions the other, what unfavorable comments are made?

IV. Conclusion

a. What has your essay covered? And how have you accomplished your purpose in writing (from I.c)?

b. Restate your thesis statement (from I.c) in slightly more specific and elaborated terms: what's been shown?.

c. What questions appear to be unresolved by these sources?

d. Are these unresolved questions suitable for further investigation in your research project?

 

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