How do I write a comparative analysis?
A comparative analysis is an essay in which two things are compared and contrasted. You may have done a "compare and contrast" paper in your English class, and a comparative analysis is the same general idea, but as a graduate student you are expected to produce a higher level of analysis in your writing. You can follow these guidelines to get started.
- Conduct your research. Need help? Chat with a librarian or schedule a research appointment.
- Brainstorm a list of similarities and differences. The Double Bubble document linked below can be helpful for this step.
- Write your thesis. This will be based on what you have discovered regarding the weight of similarities and differences between the things you are comparing.
- Write the body of your paper. There are two main approaches to organizing a comparative analysis:
- Alternating (point-by-point) method: Find similar points between each subject and alternate writing about each of them.
- Block (subject-by-subject) method: Discuss all of the first subject and then all of the second.
- This page from the University of Toronto gives some great examples of when each of these is most effective.
- Don't forget to cite your sources!
Visvis, V., & Plotnik, J. (n.d.). The comparative essay. University of Toronto. https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/comparative-essay/
Walk, K. (1998). How to write a comparative analysis. Harvard University. https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-write-comparative-analysis