How to Create a Good Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

A compare and contrast essay is an independent research work of a student, where the writer reveals the essence of the problem under study, gives different points of view, as well as provides his own views. The material should be logical; the presentation of the material is of a problem-search nature.

The purpose of writing such a paper is to characterize any objects of study, to conduct a comparative analysis of the study, main features, or benefits. The author needs to make a consistent analysis of the qualities/properties of comparative objects. When starting to perform this type of assignment, it is necessary to determine the objects, ideas, views, which can be both related and quite controversial. The topic can be in one category (“My choice: Mercedes or Ford?”) or in different categories – objects and phenomena that only seem identical can be compared (“My emotional state when I read a book compared to when I watch a movie”).

Features and Content of a Compare and Contrast Essay

Genre-forming features of this type of paper include the following:

  • The personal nature of motivation, perception, and coverage of the subject of the image, which allows you to see something new in the already familiar;
  • A special way of representing the subject of speech with the help of associative-emotional structural basis;
  • The possibility of entering the general cultural context of the background knowledge of the addressee;
  • Ease of speech flow – free-associative composition;
  • Increased modality of the text as a reflection of the subjectivity of certain authorial characteristics.

Before choosing the theme, the writer needs to find out his interest, determine what problem he would like to investigate or study more deeply. The teacher must familiarize students with the requirements for the form of writing a paper, determine its approximate volume, the number of primary sources that will be analyzed. Assistance in choosing literature is also within the competence of the teacher.

Stages of work:

  • Formulation of the topic. The theme should be not only relevant in its meaning but also original, interesting in the content;
  • Selection and study of the main sources on the topic (as a rule, at least 8-10);
  • Compilation of bibliography;
  • Processing and systematization of information;
  • Development of a plan;
  • Writing a paper;
  • Public presentation of the research results.

The content should reflect:

  • Knowledge of the current state of the problem;
  • Justification of the chosen theme;
  • The use of known results and facts;
  • Completeness of the quoted literature references to the publications of scientists dealing with this problem;
  • The urgency of the problem posed;
  • Material confirming scientific or practical value at the present time.

Drawing Up a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Creating a paper should begin by developing a plan and identifying the key issues to be investigated. This approach greatly facilitates the determination of the structure of future work, which should be balanced and have internal unity.

A correct and logically motivated, and structured content is a guarantee of successful disclosure of the topic. The process of refining the structure is complex and can last throughout the entire study.

An outline usually contains the following main parts:

  • Introduction;
  • Main text;
  • Conclusion;
  • Bibliography;
  • Applications (if available).


This section usually justifies the relevance of the selected theme, the main purpose, indicates the object/subject/consideration, provides a description of the sources, and a brief overview of the literature available on the theme. Relevance implies an assessment of the timeliness and social significance of the selected topic, a review of the literature reflects the author’s acquaintance with the available sources, the ability to systematize them, critically examine them, highlight the essential, determine the main thing, and provide own point of view.

Main Text

The content of the paragraphs in this part should exactly correspond to the theme of the work and fully disclose it. This section should show the ability of the researcher to concisely, logically and reasonably present material, generalize, analyze, and draw logical conclusions.

As practice shows, in order to write a good body part, the writer should properly organize its paragraphs. For these purposes, two methods are usually applied: Point-by-Point Arrangement and Block Arrangement. 

Point-by-Point Arrangement

The arrangement of paragraphs according to the Point-by-Point method has the following structure:

Paragraph 1: Description of the first peculiarity

a) A (the significance of the first peculiarity in A)

b) B (the significance of the first peculiarity in B)

Paragraph 2: Description of the second peculiarity

a) A (the significance of the second peculiarity in A)

b) B (the significance of the second peculiarity in B)

Paragraph 3: Description of the third peculiarity

a) A (the significance of the third peculiarity in A)

b) B (the significance of the third peculiarity in B)

Such arrangement continues depending on the number of paragraphs.

Block Arrangement

If you want to arrange text in a block-wise manner, then use the following structure:

Paragraph 1: Object A

  1. First feature.
  2. Second feature.
  3. Third feature.

Paragraph 2: Object B

  1. First feature
  2. Second feature
  3. Third feature

In fact, both methods are quite convenient and widely used by authors of academic papers. Therefore, choose any of these methods, and you will definitely manage to correctly and clearly arrange the main part of the text.


The final part assumes a consistent, logically coherent presentation of generalized conclusions on the topic under consideration.


The bibliographic list of used literature is one of the parts of the work that reflects the independent creative activity of the author, allowing to judge the degree of fundamental nature of a paper. The authors usually use the following methods for constructing bibliographic lists: alphabetically by surnames, by theme, by type of publication, by the nature of the content, lists of mixed construction.


The appendix contains auxiliary or additional materials that clutter up the text of the main part (tables, maps, graphs, unpublished documents, correspondence, etc.). Each application should start on a new page with the word “Application” in the upper right corner and have a thematic heading.

Tips for Creating a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline and Structuring a Paper

If learning how to create a good compare and contrast essay outline is really important for you, take into account the following tips:

  • In the introduction, the essence of the problem under study is formulated, the choice of the topic is substantiated, its significance and relevance of the chosen theme are determined, the purpose and objectives of the paper are indicated, and an analysis of the literature used is provided;
  • Each section of the main part, demonstratively revealing a separate problem or one of its sides, is a logical continuation of the previous one. All definitions of concepts, theoretical reasoning, author’s research or study of the problem are given;
  • It is important to ensure the availability of such formulations as: “in the words of a scientist …”, “in the opinion of such author …”, “from the point of view of such scientist …”, “according to the theory of such scholar …”, “the concept is based on … “, “the essence of the position expressed by the author is based on such principles … “, etc. The use of such phrases indicates that the author is familiar with various types of sources, freely operates with the necessary concepts, understands the differences of certain points of view on the issue under consideration;
  • The paper must contain references to the literature used;
  • In conclusion, the results are summed up, or a generalized conclusion on the topic is given, recommendations are offered;
  • The sequence of writing the bibliography in accordance with the standards must be observed;
  • Applications are usually drawn in black. They are not included in the total scope of work.

Tricks for The Successful Creation of a Plan

In order to create a plan, as well as select the material necessary, in our time, there is no need to visit the library. It is quite possible to use the Internet. In addition to books and textbooks on the World Wide Web, you can always find a number of ready-made papers of similar themes at various levels (from reports of 1-2 pages to graduate works of up to 100 pages), which can be used as a sample or basis for a future essay.

However, you should beware of the temptation to hand over someone’s finished work instead of writing your own. Most of the teachers are perfectly familiar with various written publications, constantly looking through the new papers on the Web, and may well determine the source from which this document was downloaded. This threatens with complications, up to the failure of a task. In addition, the educational essay forms those theoretical skills that will be necessary when writing works of a higher order (bachelor’s, diploma, etc.). It is best to apply a kind of creative approach: take several works of the same subject, compare, choose the most successful moments, supplemented with material from textbooks and periodicals, and take them as a basis for creating your own unique paper.

In any situation, you should approach completing an assignment ‘wisely.’ In some cases, it will be enough to hand over a finished work found on the Internet; in others – it is advisable to seek help from a specialist, and in others – it is worth working independently. The application of the Internet for self-preparation of an essay is justified since it helps in a fairly short time (at any time of the day, as well as on holidays and weekends, unlike the library) to obtain the necessary material at a minimal cost.

Summing up all of the above, it is important to indicate that it is expedient to carry out the planning of a certain activity, including writing an essay, having received a certain amount of information on the chosen subject, and having investigated ways of its disclosure. The student will easily be able to make a plan of the paper after realizing the main important aspects that will fully logically and consistently allow him to reveal the topic.

This process does not have formalized schemes and algorithms; it has subjective features and directly depends on the degree of theoretical training of the student, his skills, abilities, and competencies to work with specialized information, scientific literature, use of conceptual and categorical apparatus, and more.

However, there is an opposite approach to the development of an outline. The essence of this approach is that, first of all, the writer presents the text of the work and then continues to search for approaches and methods to its logical and consistent structure, after which the text of the individual task is reflected in the plan.

So, in this review, we tried to provide you with complete instruction on writing an outline, talked about the features of the work, gave valuable advice, and provided tricks. We hope you have received valuable information on our website. But if there are any doubts or questions, or you just need professional help, contact us and get the best assistant ready to provide you with the best writing services.

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