Comparison and Contrast Survival Guide & Flowchart
Return to the Writing Survival Guide

Developed by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.   --- susan at beyondutopia dot com

Getting Started
What are the two items you are being asked to compare and contrast? 
List them:
Why are you being asked to investigate them?  Why these two items?  Explain.

Define Your Subjects
Provide a brief description of each item.  Be sure to cite your sources, if you are using them.

Same, Yet Different.
Some people think we're  exactly the same kind of fish, or that the only thing that differentiates us is our color.  After all, we're almost the same size and shape.  Further, Redfish are red and Greenfish are green so color is a good way to tell us apart.  But did you know that Redfish in the deepest part of the ocean and Greenfish in the shallow areas? Please compare and contrast us -- you'll see we're special!

First Point of Comparison
What is the most obvious area in which your items are the same or different?
Example:  Habitat.  Where do the Greenfish and the Redfish live?  In the ocean?  Which part?  Why?

Second Point of Comparison
Example:  Appearance.  What do the Greenfish and the Redfish look like?  Provide details, and give quotes of what people have said or written.

Third Point of Comparison
Example:  Behavior.  What the Redfish and Greenfish do?  How do they act?  Why and when?  Support your argument with concrete examples and cite sources when necessary.

What do others think?
What have others said about Redfish and Greenfish, and about their similarities and differ

What do you think? 
Do you agree?  Do you have other opinions?  Describe.

Concluding Summary
Insights, analysis, recommendations