Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Two Approaches to Creation


As it is known, the essay is an important component of students’ independent work, the implementation of which aims for the development of skills in working with educational and special literature, the formation of skills of analysis, systematization, expansion, and deepening theoretical knowledge of the discipline, mastering the skills to make scientific generalizations and conclusions, express proposals for solving a particular problem.

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay and What Are the Features of Its Organization?

If you want to determine the main characteristics of a comparison and contrast essay, you should pay attention that this is a type of paper in which some objects are compared and contrasted through the application of the analysis method; the most significant features, differences, and advantages are revealed. When preparing to write this type of essay, you should identify those views, ideas, and objects that are either quite related or opposite. This allows for good analysis in work.

Writing a compare and contrast essay outline is an important step in creating a paper. It should be clear, consistent, and understandable to readers. There are two approaches for the organization: a compare and contrast essay outline. It seems appropriate to consider each of them in detail.

Point-by-Point Pattern

The Point-by-Point method alternately gives arguments about two objects that are compared or contrasted in an essay.

A Point-by-Point scheme usually looks like this:

  • Introduction
  • Item 1 – characteristics of 1 object
  • Item 1 – characteristics of the 2 object
  • Revealing the relationship between 1 and 2 objects
  • Item 2 – characteristics of 1 object
  • Item 2 – characteristics of the 2nd object
  • Revealing the relationship between 1 and 2 objects
  • Etc.
  • Conclusion


As practice shows, it is more convenient for readers to study a compare and contrast essay compiled in accordance with the Point-by-Point method since the differences and similarities are more obvious when placed next to each other. This method is more suitable for high-volume papers.

Block Pattern

When organizing a compare and contrast essay outline in accordance with the Block method, the author must first provide all the features of 1 object and then 2. After that, a comparative analysis is carried out with the identification of similar and dissimilar features.

The Block scheme looks like this:

  • Introduction
  • Point 1 about the first object
  • Point 2 about the first object
  •  Etc.
  • Point 1 about the second object (with the identification of relation to the first object)
  • Point 2 about the second object (with the identification of relation to the first object)
  • Etc.
  • Conclusion

This method of organizing an outline is more complex than Point-by-Point, but it is also used effectively by writers.

How to Structure a Compare and Contrast Essay?

The presentation of the material is carried out in accordance with a pre-thought structure. The structure’s presence allows to reveal only those issues that relate to the topic, provide clarity and consistency of the material, the ability to prevent repetition, and organize independent work effectively.

General Structure of the Essay

Regardless of which method of the organization an outline you choose, the paper should include four main structural components:

  1. Introduction, where the relevance of the topic is substantiated, the purpose, tasks, object, and subject of research are formulated, methods are determined, the structure of research is indicated;
  2. The main part consists of paragraphs (at least two), which reveal the problem under study;
  3. Conclusions, which contain brief generalizations and suggestions that should be clearly stated and have a complete form. They must follow from the essence of the work and tasks defined by the student in the introduction;
  4. References. The bibliography indicates all publications used in the preparation of the work. Publications to which there are no references in the text of the work are not indicated in the list.

Arrangement of Compare and Contrast Essay Paragraphs

The content of the paragraphs must correspond exactly to the topic of the work. The paragraphs should demonstrate the student’s ability to concisely, logically, and argumentatively present the material, compare and contrast objects, identify similarities and dissimilarities, and draw conclusions.

How to Compare Paragraphs?

The comparison should be made in such a way as to establish as closely as possible the similarities between the objects under study. The method of comparison will be effective if the following requirements are met: only such phenomena can be compared, between which there can be a certain objective commonality; the comparison should be made on the most important, essential (for a specific task) features.

With the help of comparison, information about the object can be obtained in two ways:

  1. Direct comparison (primary information);
  2. Processing of primary data (secondary or derived information).

How to Contrast Paragraphs?

The contrast allows determining the differences between the studied objects. Considerable attention should be paid to the substantiation of the obtained results and the presentation of strong arguments.

Interesting Topics for Quality Papers

The crucial moment in the process of essay execution is the choice of the research problem and its topic. The theme of the work must be relevant, in line with the current state and prospects of science. Its relevance lies in the study of both theoretical and practical issues. The title should be as short as possible, indicating the purpose of the study and its completion. It is not desirable to use complicated pseudoscientific terminology in the title. You should avoid titles that begin with the words “Research question…”, “Research some ways…”, “Some questions…”, “Study materials…”, etc., in which the essence of the problem is not sufficiently reflected.


Regarding the shortcomings in the choice of topics, it should be noted that sometimes students are interested in broad topics and do not want to consider narrow questions. However, works that address a wide range of issues are characterized by superficiality and declarativeness, without in-depth and detailed analysis, as observed in the coverage of narrow topics.

In the framework of this article, it seems appropriate to list some interesting compare and contrast essay topics below:

  • Health as a public task and a personal need;
  • Work as an integral part of existence, its positive and negative impact on health;
  • Disease prevention as a biological and social problem;
  • Bad habits: drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism, and their consequences;
  • General and special physical training, their goals and objectives;
  • The role of digestive, respiratory, and circulatory organs in human life;
  • Informatization and computerization;
  • Elements of the WWW service – Web-page, Web-site, Web-server;
  • Psychology and philosophy. Collision points;
  • Characteristics of modern main directions, theories, and concepts of general psychology;
  • Classification of methods of general psychology: methods of natural science and humanities psychology;
  • Personal and property rights and responsibilities of the spouses;
  • Guardianship and custody; adoption; patronage over children;
  • Biological diversity of spherical, rod-shaped, and pleomorphic bacteria;
  • Features of the cell wall structure of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria;
  • The internal structure of the Earth and characteristic of the methods of its study;
  • Features of earthquake propagation on continents;
  • Modern learning technologies: subject-oriented and personality-oriented;
  • Interactive teaching methods in high school;
  • Advantages of hypertext and electronic textbooks over traditional textbooks.

In conclusion, we should note that the text of an essay must be edited, stylistically sustained as a scientific study. The final design of the work is carried out in accordance with the requirements.