Comparing and Contrasting - Comparing/contrasting...

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10/22/2007 08:04 PM Comparing/contrasting Page 1 of 7 http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/comparison_contrast.html The Writing Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb Comparing/Contrasting What this handout is about. .. This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond "Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others." Introduction In your career as a student, you'll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas -- usually two of them -- are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them. Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments Some assignments use words -- like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences -- that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples: Compare and contrast Frye's and Bartky's accounts of oppression. Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars. Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry? Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both. But it's not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay -- you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you've learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these
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10/22/2007 08:04 PM Comparing/contrasting Page 2 of 7 http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/comparison_contrast.html examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment: Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems. How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2010 for the course BUAD 102 taught by Professor Bryankested during the Spring '10 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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Comparing and Contrasting - Comparing/contrasting...

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