Writing A Comparison Paper

Writing A Comparison Paper-85
Let us suppose that you are asked to compare your family and the families of your friends with the new image that the article describes (both parents working, or a single parent working and raising the children).If your personal experience contrasts with the author's description of how the majority of American families live, that is not sufficient evidence for denying (or, if your experience accords with her findings, validating) the accuracy of the author's description.

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In academic writing, comparison and contrast is particularly valuable because it enables you to see familiar things in new ways.

"Common sense" says that two things are the same, but a careful comparison and contrast demonstrates their important differences.

When a comparison and contrast assignment asks you to compare your personal experience with something else, it is important not to fall into the fallacy of using personal experience to evaluate the accuracy of the other.

For example, you might read an essay arguing that the traditional image of family life in which Dad goes off to work and Mom stays at home to take care of the house and the children no longer describes the lives of the majority of American families.

Two general structural patterns are available for papers that use comparison and contrast.

Some papers adopt one or the other, but many actually blend these two patterns together in various ways.

Being aware of the two basic patterns will help you make wise rhetorical choices as you draft your paper.

The structures are the point-by-point pattern and the block pattern: The point-by-point pattern: When you use this structure, you work back and forth between the sources you consider in your paper discussing one point of similarity or difference at a time.

" The answer to this question can lead to a thesis statement like "A comparison of the Republican and Democratic platforms for the 1960 presidential race reveals so many similarities that one must wonder whether Americans actually have options when they go to the polls." That's a thesis that a reader might find interesting--or at least worth arguing about.

Once you have figured out a thesis statement, or at least something that you can work with temporarily (remember, you can always revise or replace your thesis once your paper is underway), you can begin drafting.

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