How to Write a Comparative Analysis
Students pursuing a higher academic degree are often asked to compare and contrast two subjects: Either they can be two theories, two historical personalities, two pieces of literature, or two scientific phenomena and so on. These compare-and-contrast academic papers are usually referred to as comparative analysis. These essays are relatively simple to write if you follow a step-by-step approach.
How to write a comparative analysis?
If you’re wondering how to do a comparative analysis, this article contains all the answers to your questions. However, to truly understand the method of writing a well-researched comparative analysis piece, you need to first understand its definition.
what is a comparative analysis?
In a typical comparative analysis paper, in which a writer weight subject A and B equally, perhaps about two different things that have crucial similarities (two authors of different genres follow a similar style of writing) or two different things from different backgrounds, share common similarities (two politicians from different countries share unexpectedly similar views on climate change).
In simpler terms, a comprehensive comparative analysis paper provides contrasting points between two subjects. As the name suggests, it explains how two subjects are different in certain aspects and similar in others. This type of paper usually follows the typical structure of any academic piece, i.e. introduction, body paragraphs that explain the two subjects, before concluding it all together with final analysis.
what are the types of Comparative analysis in research papers?
There are several techniques for conducting comparative analysis. However, we have identified four types of comparative analysis:
- Variation-finding and
Individualizing comparison contrast
This type of essay analyzes a small number of cases or subjects to understand the peculiarities of each subject or case. It basically focuses on the features and characteristics of the cases/subjects that are being studied. This helps to expand our knowledge and provides valuable insights to explore subjects in-depth. This type of research paper is not entirely comparative but uses comparison in a small part of the research.
Universalizing comparison contrast
Universalizing comparison aims to prove that every aspect of a certain subject has significant similarities. It uses comparison to establish fundamental theories with crucial relevance and generality, which helps to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subjects that are being studied. For example, establishing theories of social revolutions, industrialism etc.
The variation-finding comparative analysis aims to develop a variation’s principle in the subject or intensity of a subject by analyzing systemic differences between phenomenons. This means comparing various aspects of a single theory to find logical differences among processes and develop a systemic variation in the character of the intensity of a subject. For example, a comparative analysis report on Jewish Diaspora or research on democracy and kingship’s social origins.
This research examines two different subjects at different locations within the same system to understand their traits and characteristics of their changing relationships with the system as a whole. For example, explaining the difference between behaviours of two children raised in the same household, having similar traits of urban community and their fluctuating relationship with nearby rural areas and village.
what is the purpose of a comparative analysis essay and comparative research paper
The purpose of a comparative analysis essay and comparative research paper is to identify the similarities and differences between two subjects or entities. It allows you to compare two topics simultaneously on one paper. This means that your thesis statement, body paragraphs and topic sentences should reflect both subjects.
It seeks to critically analyze every feature, characteristics and trait to better understand the subjects that are being studied. To conduct a comparative analysis successfully, you must explore the relationship between two subjects and present your analysis coherently using descriptive writing.
A good comparative analysis provides valuable information about current situations, political candidates, two viewpoints, products, travel destinations and many more.
Steps of writing a comparative analysis paper
Like any other academic analysis paper, a comparative analysis paper must follow a clear organizational structure that reflects your most important arguments throughout your body paragraphs. However, when given a daunting list of unrelated differences and similarities, you may find it difficult to organize your thoughts and construct a comprehensible paper.
To write a successful comparative analysis paper, you must transform your raw data – similarities and differences that you researched about your chosen subjects – into a meaningful and coherent argument. Here’s how you can do it:
Brainstorm and develop a comprehensive frame of reference.
A good compare-and-contrast essay demonstrates a deep analysis of two subjects. Hence, it requires proper planning and brainstorming before you start writing. And for that purpose, a Venn diagram comes in handy to visualize your thoughts into overlapping circles – each of which contains the characteristics of the different subjects.
The characteristics that fall into the overlapping section of the circle are the similarities, and the characteristics that don’t overlap are the differences. Thus, it’s an easy way to organize your thoughts which later guide you to develop your thesis statement.
The frame of reference is the umbrella under which you have placed or grouped two things you plan to compare and contrast in your paper. The frame of reference may consist of a concept, idea, theme, problem, question or a theory that you have extracted from an already published piece.
The frame of reference must be established from authentic sources rather than from your own imagination, assumption or opinion. For example, in a comparative essay about viewpoints of two politicians on sexual harassment, you’re required to add a reference or quote of an expert on the topic of sexual harassment rather than manipulating your own potentially absurd-sounding theories.
Develop a Thesis statement
Once you’re done with the brainstorming process comes the most important part of your comparative research paper: Developing a thesis statement! A brainstorming session must have helped you in understanding the relationship between your subjects. Now use the same Venn diagram to establish a powerful thesis statement and topic sentences. Your thesis statement acts as a roadmap of what lies ahead in your paper. It lays down the foundation of the subsequent content of your paper. So it has to be strong and powerful!
Create a comparative analysis essay outline
Once you have mapped out your raw data, your prewriting process proceeds to the outlining stage. A comparative analysis essay outline follows the standard academic format: introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion. Strictly follow a comparative analysis format and outline as you scribble down your arguments. Perfect outlining helps to make your essay tight and focused.
The introduction sets the tone for your comparative essays. Your introduction must include a “hook” – such as a rhetorical question, facts or a bold statement that helps to grab readers’ attention. After the hook, introduce the two subjects that you plan to compare and contrast in your paper. Your thesis statement should come either on the first line of your introduction or at the end of the introduction.
Start each of your body paragraphs with a topic sentence that describes one aspect of comparison between your chosen subjects. For instance, in a comparative analysis of two different countries, dedicate one paragraph on countries’ political structure. In this paragraph, you can vaguely describe each country’s political processes by devoting at least two sentences comparing the countries politics and two sentences to the variations in their political system.
Repeat the same process in the rest of the body paragraphs. Remember, comparative analysis paper usually explore their subjects through several perspectives and viewpoints. Therefore, consider writing at least three body paragraphs that cover the two subjects from various angles. Connect your paragraphs using transition words that anchor your thesis statement.
A strong comparative analysis essay requires an equally strong conclusion. By this stage, you should have proven your thesis about your subjects are different and similar in certain ways. Use your conclusion as an opportunity to share your final insights and to strengthen the key points of your overall paper. Avoid introducing any information in your concluding paragraph; rather, use it to summarize your entire comparative analysis format.
Comparative analysis paper example
Comparative analysis paper example includes:
- A comparison and contrast between the US and UK GDP figures.
- A comparative essay on the vents of World War I and World War II.
- Comparative analysis on capitalism and communion ideologies.
- A comparative analysis of the two religions such as Islam and Christianity.
- A comparative analysis of the features of Android and iOS.
- A comparative analysis on the two coursework writing services.
Conducting comparative analysis research on two subjects is simple unless you follow the aforementioned steps. Good comparative analysis essays are well-researched, consisting of strong thesis statements, well-constructed body paragraphs, and powerful conclusions.