III. Comparison/Contrast



Feel Free to print out this entire Unit III, if necessary.

9/28 – 10/31
One of the most formidable challenges in academia is processing huge volumes of information to “make sense” of it. Critical to such processing is the skill of comparing and contrasting. Therefore, the Comparison/Contrast essay is one of the most commonly required college essays, particularly on final examinations.  However, skill in composing comparison/contrast essays is a required skill-set in occupations as varied as advertising, investigative reporting, computer software engineering, nursing, and teaching. Of course, being able to successfully compare and contrast, is an asset for sorting through “real and fake news” that has been circulating in today’s political climate.

This unit provides the opportunity to gain practice in building and applying this critical skill. Each of the assigned articles compares and contrasts two phenomena. They make these comparisons based on key points of similarity and difference.

In the first part of the unit, use the “Comparison/Contrast Worksheet” to analyze each assigned articles. Refer to the completed comparison/contrast worksheet while participating in class discussions.

In the second part of the unit, use the “Comparison/Contrast essay Planning Worksheet” to plan the Comparison/Contrast Essay. Refer to it as you brainstorm with classmates in preparation for the outlining phase of composing the Comparison/Contrast essay. The link below provides more information about Comparison/Contrast essays.

Comparison/Contrast Essays

The due dates for  the following articles and videos are listed in the Unit Schedule, at the end of this unit.




Articles and Videos


Each assigned article (or video) makes a comparison and/or contrast. Use the worksheet below to “Parse” these comparisons and contrasts.  In column #1, list at least three points of comparison. Then, at the head of columns #2 and #3, write the names of the two phenomena being compared. Use the completed worksheet when contributing to whole class or small group discussions. To access the worksheet, click on the link below.


Planning Worksheet for Comparison/Contrast Essay

INSTRUCTIONS: This Comparison/Contrast Worksheet can be useful during the brainstorming phase of writing the assigned comparison/contrast essay itself. Enter the names of the phenomena being compared in columns two and three. Then list the points of comparison in column #1. Refer to this worksheet when brainstorming and collaborating with classmates, with writing consultants, with  the instructor and while preparing the outlining phase of developing the essay. To access the worksheet, click on the link below.


Comparison/Contrast Essay Assignment Description

INSTRUCTIONS: Compare and contrast two phenomenon. The phenomena should relate to your assigned theme for the term.  Select at least three points of comparison or contrast. Write a three to five page essay that compares and contrasts these phenomena, based on these points of comparison.

Be sure include:

  • at least three points of comparison and/or contrast;
  • in-text MLA citations;
  • a Works Cited page;
  • at least three references to outside sources, including two references to professional journal articles.

Possible Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Lead
    2. Thesis Statement
    3. Itinerary (Brief list of three points of comparison or contrast)
  2. BODY
    1. Discussion of Point of Comparison (or Contrast) #1.
    2. Discussion of Point of Comparison (or Contrast) #2.
    3. Discussion of Point of Comparison (or Contrast) #3.
    1. A Summary of the Main Points Covered in the Essay.

Unit Three Schedule

10/3 Comparison/Contrast Essays

Small Group Collaborations

Catton, Bruce, “Grant and Lee, A Study in Contrasts”

Staples, Brent, “Donald Trump and Reconstruction Era Politics”

Comparison/Contrast Worksheet

10/10 Small Group Collaborations Comparison/Contrast Essay Planning Worksheet
10/15 Library Visit Completed Comparison/Contrast Worksheet
10/17 Small Group Collaborations Hazika, Robert, “Refugees Want Empowerment, Not Handouts

Queenan, Joe, “New York Observed: Eight Reasons New York is Better”

10/22 Summary of Unit Essay Two Due 10/27