Several times during your academic career, you will be asked to write essays to conduct a detailed comparison between two things - two theories, two processes, two policies, two texts, two figures, etc. These can be two things that have very significant differences at the primary glance, but upon closer scrutiny possess several similarities. It is a seemingly difficult task to write an objective and unbiased comparative essay. But there are several practices that can make the process significantly easier. Most prominent among these are listed below:
Analyze the topic thoroughly and ensure that you have an in-depth understanding of both the things being compared. Doing so will aid immensely during the writing process as you will be able to think for yourself and draw your own conclusions, and properly explain minute and subtle differences.
You are expected to lay a proper foundation for your essay in your introduction. Touch upon the points of similarities between the two things that you are comparing, and then gradually move on to the aspects where they so obviously differ. It is crucial to make the readers aware of the points you are using to draw the comparison. You should take great care to keep your introduction objective and explain the significance of both things equally.
There are two widely used methods in comparative essays; namely text-by-text and point-by-point. Here are the benefits and pitfalls of each method:
Point-by-point method:If you compare two things A and B using the point-by-point method, each paragraph should compare a certain aspect of both A and B. You need to repeat this process until all the relevant points of comparison have been covered. This method ensures that readers are constantly reminded that they are reading a comparative analysis. It also guarantees an objective comparison without undue importance being given to either A or B. Due to constantly shuttling between both A and B, the tone of the essay runs the risk of becoming repetitive and jarring. This can be avoided by grouping a few aspects and discussing them together.
Text-by-text method:If you use text-by-text method for comparing A and B, all the aspects of A should be properly explained before moving onto the features of B. This method allows us to explore each characteristic of both A and B in greater detail. But readers often lose sight of the fact that they are reading a comparison, as several writers make the mistake of discussing entirely different points in each section. Also using this method might result in the essay becoming one-sided, without giving equal time to both.These challenges can be mitigated by maintaining a uniform level of detail while describing both A and B, and ensuring that similar features are discussed in both sections.
The conclusion should tie all the proverbial loose ends together. It should be a succinct summary of all the most prominent similarities and differences between both things. Take great care not to become repetitive by mentioning the exact same points discussed in the main body of the essay. An effective conclusion should combine all the different threads of the essay in a concise manner and leave the reader in no doubt of the general gist of the essay. Offering your own personal opinion on the objects of comparison is a very apt and popular method of concluding essays.
Spend adequate time after writing your essay to check it for errors and rectify them. Ensure that your essay is not one sided and that the features of both things are described with equal importance. Ask for a second opinion on your essay, as others will be able to spot errors that you have missed. These steps ensure that your final essay is error-free.
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