Plan B: Use Plan B if you have only a few, larger similarities or differences. After your introduction, in the next paragraph discuss one similarity or difference in BOTH works or characters, and then move on in the next paragraph to the second similarity or difference in both, then the third, and so forth, until you're done. If you are doing both similarities and differences, juggle them on scrap paper so that in each part you put the less important first ("X and Y are both alike in their social positions . ."), followed by the more important ("but X is much more aware of the dangers of his position than is Y"). In this format, the comparing or contrasting goes on in EACH of the middle parts.
* The object by object method is useful for comparing technical data. In this form prices, facts, statistics, and specifications can be placed side by side for easy reference.
* The object-by-object method is suited to addressing multiple readers. Specialized information is isolated in one section covering both subjects, so that an accountant can quickly locate financial information and a marketing director can easily find sales data.
* The object-by-object method is useful for longer papers.
STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING COMPARISON
AVOID COMPARING APPLES AND ORANGES
In selecting topics and developing papers, make sure that your comparisons are valid. Make sure that your essay does more than draw on superficial similarities and differences.
USE CRITICAL THINKING TO REVIEW POINTS OF COMPARISON
Comparisons are only valid objectively selects points of comparison. You can easily create a biased comparison by only selecting those points of comparison that favor a particular subject. You can demonstrate that nuclear energy is superior than solar power if you do not consider atomic energy's major drawbacks -- radioactive waste and reactor accidents.
DEFINE CRITICAL TERMS
Readers can only understand your comparison if terms are carefully defined. Make sure that any sources you use to gather information use the same definitions. You cannot accurately compare two treatment programs for alcoholism if they use different definitions for the disease and use different standards for measuring recovery.
BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR PAPER, REVIEW THESE POINTS
1. Have you limited your topic?
2. Do you have a clearly defined goal -- to explain differences or make a recommendation?
3. Is the thesis clearly stated so that readers can highlight it for easy reference?
4. Have you selected the right method for organizing your paper?
5. Are transitions clear? Do you make use of paragraph breaks and other signals to prevent readers from becoming confused?
6. READ YOUR PAPER ALOUD. How does it sound? Do any sections need expansion? Are there irrelevant details to delete or awkward passages needing revision?